The high-flying German machine tool construction industry continued to soar into 2008, according to the VDW (the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association), which released relevant statistics. In the first quarter of the year, orders were 19% higher than in the corresponding period last year. Domestic orders moved upward by 16%, while the increase in orders from abroad amounted to 22%.
“Orders continued to rise steadily in the first three months of the year, with the figure for March a whole 23% higher,” explains Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, executive director of the VDW. “And there is no basis-effect distortion in that figure; so, these are to be interpreted as especially positive statistics.”
The positive situation with respect to orders has triggered a further increase in capacity utilization and resulted in a greater backlog of orders. Capacity utilization in April was 94.7% within the branch, which was higher than the average for the record year 2007. The same was true for the order backlog, which amounted to 8.6 months in February of this year, as compared with 7.5 months at the same point last year.
The machine tool industry is one of the five largest specialist mechanical engineering branches in Germany. It supplies manufacturing technology for metalworking in all sectors of industry, and contributes significantly to advances in industrial productivity. Its key position in industrial production makes the branch’s development an important indicator of the economic dynamics within industry generally.
Last year, the German machine tool construction sector produced machines and services having a total value of €12.6 billion.