The German Machine Tool Builders’ Association (VDW) reported a 3% year-over-year increase in new orders for machine tools and related technologies during the fourth quarter of 2015, rounding out a rebound year for that industry. Orders from the domestic (German) market and from abroad increased equally during Q4, the group noted, and for 2015 as a whole new orders rose 1% year-over-year.
The increase in 2015 total orders was propelled by a 16% increase in orders from within the EU.
The news completed the series of reports from major machine tool sectors in the European market, following an estimated 4% increase across the region as reported by the European Machine Tool Industry Association (CECIMO) in December; and a 12% rise in total production for 2015 reported by UCIMU, the Italian machine tool builders’ trade association.
Late in January, the Spanish machine tool builders association AFM reported its members 2015 new orders increased more than 10%, year over year.
The German machine tool industry is one of the largest segments of that country’s maufacturing industry, with a about 71,600 employees. In 2014, German manufacturers produced machine tools and related products and technologies estimated to be worth €14.4 billion, according to VDW.
The positive results for 2015 had building through most of the year on the basis of rebounding domestic and regional demand. Demand for exports to Asia, North America, and elsewhere that had sustained many European machine tool builders in the past several years faded considerably in during 2015, but the regional economy recovered sufficiently to bring the machine tool builders into positive territory.
“For the German machine tool industry, 2015 ended with a moderate rise in order bookings,” stated Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, VDW executive director. The positive result was given additional value by a strong fourth quarter, in particular during November, during which VDW recorded the highest increase in new orders during the entire year.
“For all four quarters of 2015, our member companies have reported a consistently high level of demand,” according to Dr. Schäfer.