11.05.2023 - 11:00

2022 brings a turnaround in the German grinding technology industry

After two lean years, 2022 is now bringing a turnaround for manufacturers of grinding, honing, lapping and polishing machines. That's according to the latest data from the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders' Association) for 2022, which shows a big 18 percent increase in production in Germany in particular compared to the previous year, a rise to €964 million.

Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Managing Director of the VDW: "The new figures are good news for the industry. After a sharp drop in production of 30 percent in 2020 and 3 percent in 2021, we can now look ahead. Things are looking up again for grinding technology."

There is also strong growth in domestic sales, which are doubling, and in domestic consumption, which is up 37 percent. However, this is mainly explained by the exceptionally low import and export ratios of the German industry: at 74 and 53 percent, respectively, these are at their lowest levels in the past five years. In 2022, order intake as a whole also developed very positively, rising by 36 percent compared with 2021. Only the fourth quarter saw a slight decline in growth at a below-average 23 percent. The growth in orders in 2022 outside the euro zone was particularly strong at 52 percent. By contrast, only weak growth of 8 percent came from the euro zone.

Nevertheless, Europe remains almost unchanged as the most important sales market for German companies, accounting for around 51 percent of exports - followed by Asia with around 31 percent and America with 17 percent. The top 5 customer markets include China, the USA, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. China continues to lead by a wide margin, but in 2022 exports to China fell by 18 percent compared with the previous year. Trade with the USA, on the other hand, recorded growth of 38 percent. Positive developments can also be noted for Switzerland, India, Mexico, Spain and Japan. In total, goods worth 717 million euros were exported.

On the other hand, imports amounted to 279 million euros. This corresponds to growth of 5 percent compared with the previous year. The lion's share, around 71 percent, came from other European countries, followed by Asia with 23 percent. The top 5 suppliers include Switzerland, the Czech Republic, China, Taiwan and Thailand: they can all show growth in 2022 compared with the previous year - China, however, is virtually stagnating with only 1 percent growth in goods worth around 25 million euros. Imports from Japan and Italy have fallen sharply, by 64 and 50 percent respectively.

Schäfer summarizes the developments as follows: "The data available for 2022 can be positive, because we are recording respectable growth rates in the grinding technology sector. This is all the more important in view of the major challenges such as the energy turnaround or the shortage of skilled workers, which the economy is only just beginning to face. However, global trade relations also show that the situation on the world market is still volatile. Figures from last year are not yet available for all countries. Thus, it remains to be seen who will be among the winners and who will be among the losers."

Autor: Tobias Beckmann, Consultant, VDW

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