Market Trends Achema Pulse: VDMA to Participate at Process Technology Forum

Editor: Ahlam Rais

VDMA’s Food Processing and Packaging Machinery trade association will be participating at Achema Pulse’s Process Technology Forum. The show is expected to present numerous topics such as hydrogen, chemical recycling, digitalization as well as automation. VDMA will also hold sessions on OPC UA and Circular Economy at the Forum.

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EU-27 remains the most important region for German pump manufacturers.
EU-27 remains the most important region for German pump manufacturers.
(Source: Pixabay)

Frankfurt/Germany – Digital today, live next year – the Achema Pulse digital platform will bring process industry players together virtually from June 15–16 2021, after having postponed the Achema exhibition to April 4–8, 2022 in consequence of the pandemic. Germany’s VDMA (The Mechanical Engineering Industry Association) is among the 870 exhibitors with its Process Technology Forum, and is represented by its trade associations Pumps + Systems, Compressors, Compressed Air and Vacuum Technology, Process Plant and Equipment as well as the Valves Association.

On the occasion of the Process Technology Forum, VDMA’s Food Processing and Packaging Machinery trade association will be present with its Pharmaceutical and Cosmetics Machinery Division. The comprehensive event program will provide an insight into a variety of topics such as hydrogen, chemical recycling, digitalization as well as automation and will offer an opportunity for direct information exchange with the exhibitors and speakers. Panel discussions and interviews will be held on three live stages on both event days. The VDMA will also contribute by lectures on OPC UA and Circular Economy.

Decline in Process Engineering Exports

From an economic point of view, the mechanical engineering sector has experienced a difficult year. The significant economic downturn in the key customer region of Europe affected almost all mechanical engineering industries. In the first year of the Corona pandemic, the production of process plant and equipment decreased slightly by 0.7 percent to 9.9 billion dollars (8.2 billion euros). The export ratio in the mechanical and plant engineering industry amounted to 74.7 percent in 2020.

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Although the exports to EU-27 countries dropped by 9.2 %, this geographical area remains the most important customer region for German process technology manufacturers.

Exports in process engineering equipment declined much more than the production itself by minus 6.9 percent, mainly resulting from a decreasing customer demand in the international markets and travel restrictions. In 2020, the export volume amounted to 7.3 billion dollars (6.1 billion euros) (2019: 7.9 billion dollars {6.6 billion euros}).

Although the exports to EU-27 countries dropped by 9.2 percent, this geographical area remains the most important customer region for German process technology manufacturers, accounting for 36 percent of total exports, ahead of Asia with 27 percent, the rest of Europe with 15 percent and the Americas with 13 percent. Africa and the Near/Middle East each account for 4 percent of German exports.

In the ranking of the most important export markets, China maintains its top position with 989 million dollars (817 million euros) (plus 1.7 percent), ahead of the USA (615 million dollars {508 million euros}), which however recorded a significant downturn of German exports by 19.3 percent, France (435 million dollars {360 million euros}; minus 7.1 percent) and Russia (298 million dollars {246 million euros}; minus 1.5 percent). In a slightly different ranking, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands Poland, Switzerland and Austria are the six countries out of the top ten markets which also appeared among the top 10 in 2019.

EU Remains Most Important Purchasing Region for Pumps from German Manufacturers

The production volume of German pump manufacturers amounted to 6 billion dollars (5 billion euros) in 2020 which corresponds to a 3.5 percent reduction compared to the previous year. The exports of pump manufacturers at 6.6 billion dollars (5.5 billion euros) in 2020 shows a decrease of 8.1 percent compared to 2019 (7.2 billion dollars {6 billion euros}). The EU-27 remains the most important customer region for German pump manufacturers, accounting for 43 percent of total exports, ahead of Asia with 21 percent, the rest of Europe with 15 percent and the Americas with 13 percent.

The Near/Middle East accounts for 4 percent and Africa for 2 percent of German exports. The most important export markets for pump manufacturers are China with 747 million dollars (617 million euros), the USA with 622 million dollars (514 million euros), the Czech Republic with 437 million dollars (361 million euros), closely followed by France with 400 million dollars (330 million euros). Subsequently, these markets are followed by the Netherlands, Russia, Italy, Poland, Austria and Switzerland.

Around 9 % Less Production in 2020

The production volume of manufacturers of compressors, compressed air and vacuum technology (KDV) amounted to 5.3 billion dollars (4.4 billion euros) and has thus decreased by 9.2 percent. KDV manufacturers exported products at 5.5 billion dollars (4.6 billion euros) in 2020, corresponding to a decrease of 10.3 percent compared to 2019 (6.1 billion dollars {5.1 billion euros}). The EU-27 remains the most important customer region for German KDV manufacturers, accounting for 38 percent of total exports, ahead of Asia with 27 percent, the Americas with 16 percent and other Europe with 13 percent. The Middle East and Africa each account for 3 percent of German exports. The most important KDV export markets are China with 830 million dollars (686 million euros), the USA with 647 million dollars (534 million euros) and – at a further distance – Austria with 266 million dollars (220 million euros). France, Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Hungary and Switzerland are still behind these countries from a viewpoint of German exports.

Industrial Valves with a Satisfactory Sales Result in 2020

Despite the Corona crisis, German manufacturers of industrial valves were able to close the books for 2020 with a satisfactory sales result in comparison to the previous year's level. However, production dropped by 2.2 percent to 4.2 billion dollars (3.5 billion euros) at the same time, while the export business also clearly turned downwards. German industrial valve manufacturers exported goods at a value of approx. 4.9 billion dollars (4.1 billion euros) last year, corresponding to a decrease of 10.4 percent compared to 2019. The EU-27 is the most important customer region with a share of 41.5 percent, followed by Asia with 24.5 percent of the deliveries. The rest of Europe accounts for 14.6 percent of exports and the Americas 12.6 percent. Less important for the foreign business of the fittings industry so far are the Middle/Middle East with a share of 4.2 percent and Africa with 1.7 percent.

The business with the most important trading partner China recovered again somewhat in 2020 after a sharp downturn at the start of the year and ended up with a slight minus of 2.1 percent in comparison to the very good level of the previous year. Valves at a total sales volume of 675 million dollars (557.3 million euros) were supplied to the People's Republic.

Deliveries to the USA as the second most important customer country dropped by 16.6 percent to 439 million dollars (363 million euros). France also purchased significantly less valves compared to 2019 (minus 11.9 percent). Nevertheless, the country kept its third place among the most important sales markets with an order volume of 261 million dollars (216 million euros.) Among the most important customer countries, only Switzerland and Russia stood out positively. Exports to Russia increased by 4.4 percent to 174 million dollars (144 million euros) and a plus of 0.6 percent more fittings (177 million dollars {146 million euros}) were supplied to Switzerland.

"After an economically challenging year 2020, we expect a positive development for the mechanical engineering sector and are optimistic about the future. In order for the mechanical engineering sector to remain powerful and innovative, we need impulses and digital technologies. At Achema Pulse, some of these forward-looking topics will be discussed," says Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery association as well as of the VDMA Process Plant and Equipment association and Speaker of the Process Technology Forum.

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