With the upcoming Emo Hannover’s theme of “connecting systems for intelligent production”, the event organiser German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW) is putting a spotlight on important trends steering not just global machine tool industry, but also its related sectors. Dr-Ing Schaefer, executive director of VDW, shares his insights.

Berlin, Germany: The German machine tool industry is in good shape, according to the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW) who reported that order bookings rose by 16 percent in Q2 2016 compared to Q2 2015.

With the mid-year reports of positive conditions and optimistic prospects by machine tool manufacturers of the European Union (EU), the European Association of the Machine Tool Industries (CECIMO) expects a three percent growth for 2015.

The Mexican machine tools exhibition EXPOMAQ which will take place from 12-15 April 2016 in León, Mexico, has announced the biggest ever participation by German machine tool manufacturers.

German machine tool orders for the second quarter of 2015 were up 10 percent from the same period in 2014, with domestic orders up three percent and foreign orders up 14 percent. This increase effectively balanced out the half-year balance sheet for 2015 as orders for the first quarter had been stagnated and were down from the same period of the previous year.

New orders for machine tools fell 8 percent year-over-year during the first quarter of 2015 for Germany’s manufacturers, with demand from domestic customers showing particular weakness, while export orders also declined less markedly. The results were reported by VDW, the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association.

Frankfurt am Main, Germany: In the second quarter of 2014, order bookings in the German machine tool industry rose by one percent compared to the second quarter of 2013. Domestic order bookings were 16 percent up on the preceding year, whereas export orders fell by seven percent. For the first half of 2014, order bookings were six percent up on the preceding year’s figure overall. Domestic order bookings rose by 18 percent, while demand from abroad was down by one percent. 

“German machine tools were still in demand during the year’s first half,” says Dr Wilfried Schäfer, executive director of the sectoral organisation VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association) in Frankfurt am Main. Demand from domestic customers in particular, he adds, has picked up perceptibly, whereas demand from abroad has slid into minus territory. “The general uncertainty due to numerous trouble-spots is causing foreign customers to hold back on new investment projects,” says Dr Schäfer. This is being reflected particularly in the year’s second quarter, by falls in machine tool orders from countries outside the Eurozone. In the Eurozone itself, by contrast, there is a returning uptrend, with a plus of 13 percent.

Sales finished the year’s first half with a black zero. “For the production output, we are nonetheless staying with the growth forecast of three percent in the ongoing year,” he says. However, he adds, this is an ambitious target, and conditional upon another recovery in demand from abroad.

In the first half of 2014, sales shifted towards the German market, mirroring the development in order bookings. Exports, by contrast, are showing signs of deceleration. One of the causes involved is the fall in deliveries to China, South Korea and India. “Business with Asia is proving more sluggish than we’d hoped,” says Dr Schäfer. Nonetheless, international industrial production output and capital investment are expected to gain in momentum during 2014. The USA remains the growth driver for demand recovery among German manufacturers, while Europe is suffering from stagnation overall.

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