U.S. manufacturers can benefit from global machine tool market growth

EMO officials tout American importance at September trade event in Germany


The emerging global middle class is demanding modern products, especially high-tech products, the organizers of this fall’s EMO machine tool conference in Germany said this week. That has fueled a sharp increase in demand for the machine tools to create those products in every part of the world, and a belief that the U.S. machine tool manufacturers have a crucial role to play in that growth.

“The whole world over, the industrial sector is facing major challenges," said Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Executive Director of the EMO’s organizer VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

EMO experts note the international machine tool market has more than tripled in the past 20 years up to 2012, to around $85 billion. Since the turn of the millennium, machine tool consumption on a dollar basis has grown by an annual average of almost 7%. The principal driver here was Asia, where in 2012 two-thirds of total worldwide machine tool production output was consumed.

EMO officials said machine tool consumption will increase in 2013 by 8% to about $92 billion. “In China, the premier growth driver for the global economy, the double figure growth rates in GDP are weakening to high single figure increases,” EMO organizers said in a press release. “But there’s an ongoing shift in the weightings involved: as per capita income rises, demand for consumer goods supersedes demand for capital goods as the primary driver. Now it is the growing middle class who are demanding more and more goods and services, electronic high-tech products, more and eco-friendly vehicles, and much, much more. This applies not only to China, but to many emergent markets worldwide.”

That growth is expected to extend to the United States as well. “The significantly improved asset situation of many Americans, and the high demand for replacements, are boosting vehicle sales,” said EMO officials. “Population growth, an aging society, and Western-style diseases are also leading to annual growth rates of between 4% and 6% in the U.S. medical technology segment, the world’s biggest market in this category.”

They see growth in electrical engineering, precision mechanics, optics and mechanical engineering. “The U.S. imports around 67% of its machine tool requirements, which means it is vital for customers from the country’s industrial segment to visit EMO 2013 in Hannover to learn more about ongoing trends and innovations in the metalworking sector from all over the world,” event officials said.

The 2013 EMO event is Sept. 16-21 in Hannover, Germany, and event officials said the presence of U.S. companies is crucial for everyone involved. “As a major exporting nation, the U.S. needs its manufacturers to show the flag at the world’s premier trade fair for this sector,” show officials said. “In Hannover, they will also be meeting their customers from Europe in large numbers. With a share of 42% and over 50% growth since 2009 to most recently$ 546 million, Europe is an important growth market for U.S. manufacturers.”

“At EMO, manufacturers and visitors from the U.S. will meet the entire world of metalworking,” the VDW’s Wilfried Schäfer added. “So for anyone in the U.S. who has anything to do with machine tools, visiting and exhibiting at EMO is a definite must.”

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