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NEWS

THE MACHINE TOOL SECTOR COPES WELL WITH INDUSTRIAL AND TRADE UNCERTAINTY

12 December, 2019

CECIMO and its national associations close 2019 amidst industrial and trade uncertainties. Production and consumption seem stagnant while trade with foreign markets is threatened by political challenges. But the European machine tool industry has strong foundations and the technological know-how to be successful moving forward. The environmental and political factors affecting the automotive sector also create increased motivation for manufacturers to improve productivity and sustainability which will offer significant opportunities for innovation in our sector.  

2019 estimates show that MT production in Europe stands at 27.1 billion Euros, a 3% drop compared to 2018. Although this decrease breaks the upward trend started in 2017, it is nonetheless an adjustment after a record-breaking year that saw a production volume of 28 billion Euros. Moreover, if we consider CECIMO’s share over global production output for 2019, we see that it stands at 35%, just 1% below 2018’s share. It is also 3% higher than CECIMO’s global turnover share of 2017 (32%). Global MT output is forecast to decrease as well in 2019. CECIMO estimates that global production currently sits at 77.5 billion Euros.

In terms of trade, European MT manufactures continue to perform well abroad. The registered export volume for 2018 was 21.6 billion Euros, an 8.3% increase from 2017’s levels. European MT builders remain very competitive abroad and that strong position will continue. CECIMO’s top five export destinations are: China (26% of exports outside of CECIMO countries), the United Sates (18.4%), Poland (8.2%), Russia (4.6%) and Mexico (3.9%).

CECIMO internal figures suggest that MT consumption will decrease 2.9% in 2019 (from 16.5 billion Euros in 2018 to 16 billion this year). It would be the first drop in consumption after six years of consistent growth. Oxford Economics forecasts shows that MT consumption among European companies will further decrease in 2020, but should pick up with the pace soon after, with relatively strong growth rates expected in 2021 (3.9%), 2022 (3.1%) and 2023 (2.6%).

Data shows that European MT builders are still at the forefront in production, exports and consumption.

The future of the Machinery Directive

The Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC) is one of the main pieces of legislation affecting the machine tool sector. The European Commission started in 2016 a process to understand whether it needed a revision. One of the main issues being considered is the need to update the Directive to take into account emerging digital technologies. CECIMO questions, though, whether there is a need to introduce changes in the Directive, as they argue that the requirements already provide a robust framework to place safe products, including new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), on the market. Industry believes that rather than changes in legislation there is a need to revise standards in line with technological developments and the state-of-the-art.

Cybersecurity is also an issue at stake, which involves a wide range of actors including not only manufacturers but also suppliers, software providers and users. CECIMO supports a horizontal approach to deal with cybersecurity aspects, to avoid any inconsistencies through actors.

Lastly, another issue under discussion is the possibility to provide instructions on digital format. CECIMO points out, that manufacturers should be free to choose the best means to provide the required documentation, as long as the requirements of the Directive are fulfilled, and the required information is provided. 

    12/12/2019News

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