ACHEMA 2012/Plant Engineering Growth Abroad Expected – Germany's Plant Engineers Fit for the Future?

Three months before the ACHEMA Germany's plant engineer's look optimistically into the future. Energy and resource efficiency and the competition from Asian countries are regarded as driving factors for future innovation..

Although the process palnt engineers look optimistically into the future, 2012 could see a slower growth, Helmut Knaute of Uhde explained. (Picture: PROCESS)
Although the process palnt engineers look optimistically into the future, 2012 could see a slower growth, Helmut Knaute of Uhde explained. (Picture: PROCESS)

Although it is still three month until the ACHEMA 2012 opens its gates, but the industry already warms up. Today the German Plant and Machine Engineer's Association VDMA called for a press conference in Frankfurt that was met with some interest, as the recent situation is partly sunny, partly cloudy...

Competition to Close Technology Gap?

In an industry that caters such different customers as the process industry does, the outlook on the future is off course diverse and depends on the individual situation. While the German plant engineers and manufacturers of process technology could boost their sales and exports (as orders rose by € 2.5 billion compared to 2010), but the competition is already in on their heels.

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Although Asia has become the second biggest export market for the companies, still a majority of plants and technology is sold in Europe. This market is, nevertheless, strongly affected by the sovereign debt crisis, bringing huge insecurities. Now Asian manufacturers compete with European for orders on their own field and are quickly closing the technology gap, as Helmuth Knaute, member of the board of Thyssen Krupp Uhde explained: “Standard plants from Asia are by no means inferior to European products any longer.”

Adventurous Mindset Wanted

This development also highlights another trend, the participants agreed: Our globalized economy relies increasingly on local engineering know how: Most firms expect the majority of their future growth abroad. It can therefore be vital to form local distributions and subsidiaries in interesting markets, speakers explained.

To compete with local rivals, one has to examine their strength: Especially Asian companies profit from a cheap financing and an adventurous mindset, explained a lecturer - a mindset that gets more and more important for European companies, that often concentrated on the less risk affected project phases.

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