Estimates by the specialist association for foundry equipment within the VDMA (German Engineering Federation) indicate that German foundry machinery production, which had fallen by five percent in 2013, rose by more than 10 percent, to a volume of more than €1.1 billion, in 2014. Sales in this sector in 2014 were only slightly above the level for 2013 and therefore lagged behind expectations. This was mainly due to falling sales on the domestic market. Compared with the previous year, there was a slight fall of three percent in orders received by the end of 2014.
In 2014, global exports by German foundry machinery manufacturers reached €152 million, representing a rise of 4.5 percent over the previous year. Germany therefore remains one of the five most important suppliers. In 2013, world trade in the sector reached €2.3 billion, with Japan, China, Italy, Germany and the USA accounting for a share of 65 percent. On the basis of the export data of the five largest supplier countries (Japan, China, Italy, Germany and the USA), which supplied machinery and equipment with a total value of about four percent more in 2014 than the previous year, it is estimated that growth in world trade was in the low single-digit range.
As in 2013, German foundry machinery exports grew (up 4.5 percent). Above-average growth was recorded especially in China with a rise of almost 50 percent. China accounted for more than a fifth of total German foundry machinery exports in 2014. Exports to the EU 28 countries were also slightly above the previous year’s figure and German exports to Turkey rose more dramatically, with an increase of 87 percent over 2013. Exports to Russia had already fallen by a quarter in 2013 and declined by a further eight percent in 2014.
As further positive developments are expected in the automobile industry in Europe in the medium term and especially in China, German suppliers to customers in this sector can look forward to further contracts in 2015. In Europe, further growth in the share of aluminium castings is expected. In China, structural support measures on the one hand and the need to achieve productivity improvements on the other hand will lead to additional investments. The Turkish foundry market could also offer further growth potential.
Against this backdrop and taking into consideration the difficult situation in trading with Russia, German foundry machinery manufacturers expect moderate growth in 2015, which could reach about four percent according to a survey carried out by the specialist association.
Technological developments in the sectors concerned will be the key factor in the future success and competitiveness of metallurgical machinery producers in Germany. As regards foundry machinery, the following trends must be emphasised:
• Energy and resource efficiency
• Increasingly close tolerances combined with increasing complexity of castings. Simulation-based analysis and process optimisation will become increasingly important
• Enabler technologies for lightweight design, increased use of non-ferrous metals and structural components
• Continuous process networking
For further details on the VDMA Foundry Machinery specialist association visit www.vdma.org