EMO Hannover 2017 opened this morning with a statement from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "An open society and prosperous economy rest on a foundation of communication and trust," Steinmeier said. "Trade fairs like EMO embody this in a concrete and tangible way. Fortunately, this tradition continues to flourish, even in an age of digital catalogs, video conferences and just-in-time production.”
Under the motto of "Connecting systems for intelligent production," more than 2,200 exhibitors from 44 different nations (compared with 2,131 in 2013) are showcasing their machines, solutions and services for industrial production at the event.
Luigi Galdabini, president of the European Association of the Machine Tool Industries (CECIMO), emphasized the key role played by the machine tool industry: “During its weeklong run, EMO Hannover will function as the world’s biggest factory and thus as a first-class showcase for innovation,” Galdabini said.
According to forecasts by British-based Oxford Economics – the forecasting partner of the German Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (VDW), which produces EMO – industrial production and investment on the part of the machine tool industry’s main client industries is expected to grow this year by 3.4 to 5.6 percent. The two organizations also expect Asia to take the lead in investment growth at a rate of 6.5 percent, followed by Europe and the Americas. Machine tool consumption is expected to grow at a rate of 3.2 percent. Europe is in first place here, with growth of 4.0 percent. The southern European nations of Italy and Spain, but also France – all three large machine tool markets within Europe – continue to be stable drivers of European growth. Asia is expected to increase its machine tool consumption by 3.5 percent in 2017. On the one hand, China has emerged from its dry spell and is expected to grow at a rate of 3.9 percent. On the other, analysts are expecting the ASEAN markets to bounce back. In the Americas, the machine tool market is expected to stabilize: Following a downturn in 2016, forecasters are expecting 0.5 percent growth there in 2017.
According to EMO, in Germany the first half of 2017 yielded positive figures for the machine tool industry. Production was up 3 percent while employment increased by 2.3 percent for a total of 70,360 employees. Utilization of capacity reached almost 95 percent in July, while order backlogs were running at 7.1 months.
During the first half of 2017, German machine tool exports were climbing twice as fast as actual production volumes. The main source of demand came from Asia, where German exporters registered an increase of 16 percent. As the biggest Asian market, China chalked up a strong growth rate of 18 percent, pulling other Asian countries in its wake. Growth in exports to Japan reached a level of 60 percent.
Exports to the Americas are likewise experiencing two-digit growth, at 11 percent. Sales in the United States are up 15 percent, notwithstanding current government policy trends.
Europe’s order volume was down one percent year on year, while France registered an increase of 21 percent, making it the third largest market after China and the United States.