US economic boom accelerates demand for machine tools

by David Fleschen

Is the US an El Dorado for the machine tool industry? According to the US Machine Tool Association, new orders in the US increased by 27 percent to 3.4 billion euros in the first three quarters. In September alone, orders shot up by 50 percent. After China, the USA is the second largest machine tool market in the world with a share of 11 percent and a volume of approx. 8 billion euros. For 2018, consumption is expected to increase by more than 13 percent on a dollar basis. In 2019 it will be another 5 percent. Around 60 percent of US machine tool requirements are imported. Germany is the second most important supplier with just under a fifth. Reason enough for the VDW (Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken/ Association of Germen Machine Tool Producers) to hold symposia of German manufacturers for the US market for the first time at the beginning of December.

Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, CEO of the VDW, says: "All of our basic data is pointing upwards, not least because the US government has set investment-friendly conditions with its corporate tax reduction and attractive depreciation conditions Members are doing good business in their second largest sales market, so the VDW has decided to organize two symposia in Detroit and Charlotte to exclusively present our capabilities to US customers, "Schäfer continues. 21 well-known German suppliers are present: Alzmetall, Chiron-Werke, Emag Group, Emco Magdeburg, Gleason Corporation, Heinrich Georg, Heller, Hermle, Index Werke, Kapp Niles, Niles-Simmons-Hegenscheidt, Open Mind, Peiseler, Profilator, Profiroll Technologies, Samag, Schütte, SW Schwäbische Werkzeugmaschinen, Siemens, Weisser, Zimmer & Kreim. They present their offers on the topics of 5-axis technology and complete machining, precision and performance, digitization and automation as well as gear cutting technology.

VDW symposia at the heart of the US automotive industry

For its symposia, the VDW has chosen two attractive regions with numerous machine tool users. Markus Schlipphak, Vice President of Engineering, Heller Machine Tools, confirmed in Troy: "The regions around Detroit and Charlotte are very interesting because of the numerous local customer industries. In particular, the automotive and supply industries are strongly represented there and offer excellent business opportunities. "

German machine tool manufacturers active in the USA

The US is by no means unknown territory for German manufacturers, remaining constantly the second largest export market. Last year, machines were exported for more than 1.2 billion euros, mainly machining centers, parts and accessories, lasers, grinding and lathes. In the first three quarters of the current year, exports were 6 percent above the previous year. However, the market is not served only from Germany. Almost 50 suppliers are also active locally in more than 170 branches with sales, service and / or production. "The USA is the third largest production location for our companies after Switzerland and China. In addition to the above-mentioned exports, machines worth EUR 325 million were added in 2017, which were produced in the country itself for the US market. "Jürgen Gögelein, Area Sales Manager at Chiron Werke in Tuttlingen, explains: "With offices in Detroit and Charlotte in the US, we're getting closer to our customers in every way, and that has proven to be very valuable to us in terms of sales, service, turnkey engineering, and education."

German manufacturers also have good sales opportunities in the USA because they can supply a wide range of high-tech products because there are hardly any significant US suppliers operating in this segment. "There is no offer from US providers in the high-end sector," confirms Maximilian Waizenegger, Sales Manager, Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle, Gosheim.

Quality from Germany is very popular with US users

The US wants to modernize its industry and make it fit for the world market. The advancing automation offers new possibilities, e.g. in the networking and monitoring of industrial plants and machines as well as the optimization of production processes up to the efficiency increase in the entire supply chain. Alternative materials such as titanium or carbon fibers require new processing technologies. German providers have much to offer here. Quality from Germany is an important selling point for US customers. "We have had very good relationships with German machine tool manufacturers and their representatives since the end of the nineties, ie for more than 20 years. Once these relationships and understanding of needs have been established, it creates a kind of partnership and that is the reason to rely on German machines, "says symposium participant Lincoln Hughes.
Source: VDW, photo: fotoalia

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