In 2017, sales of German foundry equipment manufacturers recovered considerably, by 6 percent compared with the previous year. This was especially due to a rise in sales to countries outside the Eurozone, which grew by 25 percent on average compared with 2016.
The five largest supplier countries for foundry machinery – Japan, China, Italy, Germany and South Korea – recorded a decline of 1.5 percent in exports last year. Based on an estimate by the foundry machinery specialist association, worldwide trade in the sector stagnated in 2017*.
Slight Fall in German Exports in 2017
In 2017, there was a slight fall of 2.3 percent in German exports of foundry machinery. However, this was the result of a special effect on exports to Sweden, which was coming to an end. Without this special effect, exports to the 28-member EU would have risen by almost 3 percent. Growth was recorded especially in exports to Austria (up by 42 percent) and Italy (up by 138 percent) as well as to certain Eastern European countries (Romania 37, Slovakia 21, Hungary 42 percent).
The export figure for the sector determined on the basis of customs statistics for Germany, was €158 million**. In addition, deliveries to Mexico rose markedly (by 71 percent), while trade with China declined by 19 percent compared with the previous year. Growth was also recorded in exports to Iran and South Africa but starting from a much lower base.
Sales Growth up to 12 Percent Expected in 2018
Assuming that the present geopolitical risks do not lead to unforeseen events, the foundry machinery sector can expect further positive developments in the current year. The ifo business confidence index for foundries in Germany also supports this positive impression. The business confidence trend curve for the respondent group “foundries” became more positive in the course of 2017 and at the beginning of the new year, in line with growing capacity utilization.
The majority of participants in the current economic situation survey of the specialist association expect growth in sales in the current year. On average, growth could exceed 10 percent. Further growth in orders received is also expected in the course of the year, but in the low single-digit range.
“Despite all the optimism, manufacturers of foundry machinery will face increasingly diverse new challenges – especially the expected changes in the mobility mix. In addition, apart from digitalization, the increasingly wide range of materials and the integration of additive technologies will make considerable demands on the innovation dynamics and expertise of specialists in the sector,” said Dr. Timo Würz, Managing Director of the association VDMA Metallurgy.
*Worldwide export data for 2017 are not yet available in full (values from countries such as India, Russia and Turkey are missing).
**The nomenclature of official statistics means that it is not possible to give an overall figure for foundry machinery exports. The areas of “sand preparation systems for foundries” and “production of moulds” cannot be precisely defined in the export statistics and are not included in the data stated.
This article fist appeared on spotlightmetal.com.