Markets An insight into the global machine tool market

Editor: Ahlam Rais

2018 is expected to be positive for the machine tool sector. Some of the leading countries in this sector such as Germany, China, Japan and Italy have made significant developments in the field.

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The global machine tools market is predicted to exceed USD120 billion by 2020.
The global machine tools market is predicted to exceed USD120 billion by 2020.
(Source: Deposit Photos)

The global machine tools market is predicted to exceed USD120 billion by 2020, according to a report by Technavio. The sector is upbeat with many countries across the globe witnessing substantial as well as high growth. In terms of production output, China tops the chart followed by Germany and Japan while in the export scenario, Germany holds the first rank ahead of Japan and Italy.

To understand the current market scenario, one has to go through the latest happenings of some of the leading players in the machine tool industry:


The German Machine Tool Builders Association VDW has recently announced that last year the sector achieved a growth of 4% and thus reached a volume of around €15.7 billion. This year, VDW is expecting production output to increase by another 5%.

In terms of exports, about 71% of Germany's machine tools were sold outside the country and reached €10.1 billion, an increase of 8%. About one fifth of the rise in exports was to America while Brazil and Mexico reported significantly over-proportional increases. In 2017, Germany’s export to Asia was significant (almost one fifth), owing to the high demand from China. In the domestic market, orders declined during the same period by 3%.


China has emerged as having the world’s largest machine tools industry. It is currently in the phase of shifting from producing low-end machine tools to manufacturing mid to high-end products to meet global demand. Industries such as aviation, marine, aircraft engines and marine gas turbine engines are major markets that demand high-end machine tools.

In terms of machine tool consumption, the country witnessed USD29.8 billion in 2017, which is an increase of 7.5% over the previous year, according to a recent report by the China Machine Tool Builders Association.


Currently, the Japanese machine tool market is boasting of numerous orders from within and outside the country. In March 2018, the total value of machine tool orders was recorded at a high of USD1.67 billion, an increase of 17.8% as compared to the previous month, according to the Japan Machine Tool Builders’ Association.

In addition to this, domestic orders rose by 29.8% over February, while foreign orders rose by 10.6% over the same month. Taking it further, Asia's orders rose by 16.1% over February, while Europe witnessed a decline in orders by 6.0%. However, this was still an increase of 33.6% over the same month in the previous year. North America’s orders rose by 16.2% over February.

In Japan, the government has also undertaken the “connected industry” initiative, which aims at promoting new age concepts such as Industry 4.0 and the IoT (Internet of Things).


In 2017, the Italian machine tool industry along with the robotics and automation industries registered double-digit increases for all main economic indicators, the Italian machine tool manufacturers’ association Ucimu-Sistemi Per Produrre noted. Production increased to €6,110 million, reporting a 10.1% increase as compared with the previous year.

In the first ten months of 2017, about 55% of “Made in Italy” production was exported to countries such as China, Germany, United States, France, Poland, Spain, Mexico, Turkey, Russia and the United Kingdom for a total amount of €3,440 million. The country is also looking to focus on other upcoming regions including India, Iran and the ASEAN countries.

Italy imported €1,720 million of machine tools, corresponding to 39.2% of the total consumption of the country in 2017. Germany sold machine tools worth €304 million, while Belgium and Japan sold €106 million and €92 million respectively.

With an increase in demand for machine tools, industry players are optimistic and forecast 2018 to be positive for the machine tool industry.

This article first appeared on

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