VDW presents annual report: high-tech solutions open up new opportunities
The recently published annual report of the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW) describes the industry’s export of high technology as a “model for success” for the future. The machine tool industry continues to anticipate improving business results in the current year.
- The LMT SpeedCore hob in use: this innovation significantly reduces the machining time for a component.
The VDW raises an interesting question in this latest annual report: What will it mean for the German machine tool industry if its own high-tech business model will have to be asserted even more strongly in future in new markets like the BRIC countries? Overall, the question receives an optimistic answer from the VDW. Its forecasts indicate, for example, that increasing demands are being made on production facilities in many emerging countries, because higher value and therefore exportable products will have to be produced in the future. A VDW study also confirms that today just under half of the production output of the German machine tool industry already consists of specialized solutions and specially commissioned projects – an indicator of outstanding technological solutions. The international competition can only claim a share of 30% in this area.
5% growth expected
Overall, the VDW has an extremely positive outlook for the current year: major infrastructure projects in India and China, investments in the extraction of Russian raw materials and Brazil’s strong automotive industry promise new orders for the German engineering industry. Additionally, there continues to be a large order backlog of significantly more than nine months, which is carrying production. In all, VDW and Oxford Economics reckon with growth of 5% for the German machine tool industry.
Trend towards shorter machining times
What was interesting from the LMT perspective is the VDW’s concluding appraisal of current technological trends. Among other things, it highlighted high-performance machining: component machining times will be further reduced by higher cutting and feed speeds. “This development is based on new machine designs and high-performance components and cutting materials,” explains the VDW annual report. This is a tailormade challenge for the LMT tool specialists, who are constantly boosting performance in important areas of application. Take the example of gearwheel production: the new SpeedCore hob achieves significantly higher cutting speeds. User can increase productivity in the manufacturing of gearwheels by more than 30% in comparison to hobs made of powder metallurgy high-speed steel (PM-HSS).