German machine tool orders rise in first half-year

Despite the current difficult conditions, machine tool orders in Germany continued to develop well in the second quarter, according to the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW). Order intake rose by 24% compared to the same period last year, Kallanish hears from the federation.

“Volumes are almost at record levels since 2018,” says Wilfried Schäfer, executive director of VDW. In the first half of 2022, orders increased by 34% overall. Domestic orders contributed to this with a 35% increase and foreign orders with a 33% jump.

Foreign business is primarily driven by demand outside the EU. In particular, the industry’s two lead markets, China and the USA, remained strong, Schäfer highlights. Surprisingly, “the severe lockdown in Shanghai and other Chinese cities did not leave any deeper traces in the second quarter.”

In terms of categories, cutting machining is currently pulling up the overall result. Demand in H1 was twice as strong as that for forming technology, for example. “This is an indication that major projects in the automotive industry are currently on hold, especially in Germany,” Schäfer explains. Forming technology accounts for around 30% of total machine tool sales. Press technology, in particular, is used in major projects.

Sales continue to be a cause for concern, the federation notes. In H1 they were up 7% year-on-year but, in real terms, this means stagnation. “Supply chain problems are far from over,” says Schäfer. Still, capacity utilisation rose slightly, from 85.9% in April to 87.4% in July.

Christian Koehl Germany