Machinery & Equipment

Machinery & Equipment

Market Leadership Powered by German Engineering

Close Up of an Industry Laser| © iStockphoto

Source: Close Up of an Industry Laser| © iStockphoto

Industry Overview

The machinery and equipment industry in Germany is the second largest industry in the country in terms of turnover and employs more people than any other industrial sector. The sector is dominated by small and medium sized companies that provide customized single products and small series to meet the strong demand of both domestic and international manufacturing industries. Whether Industry 4.0, resource-friendly environmental protection, energy efficiency or electro mobility solutions: the focus is to establish Germany as a lead provider and market for cyber physical systems and advanced manufacturing solutions.

In 2014, Germany maintained its title as "export world champion" reaching a global trade share of 16.3 percent.The industry employs more than one million highly qualified engineers and skilled workers to ensure the sector's leadership in exports.

Our Industry in Numbers

  • Total industry turnover of EUR 212 billion in 2014; a growth rate of more than 70% in the past ten years.
  • With an estimated production value of EUR 199 billion in 2014, machinery production surpassed the record level (EUR 196 billion) achieved in 2008.
  • World export leader with 16.3% share of global machinery & equipment trade.
  • German machinery imports amouted to EUR 59.3 billion in 2014, an increase of 63% in comparison with 2013.
  • Globally, German manufacturers are leaders: in 24 out of 31 internationally comparable machinery sub-sectors they are among the top 3, and in 16 they come in first.
  • Germany is world leader with about 26% of the world's mechanical engineering patent registrations.
  • R&D expenditures are about EUR 5.7 billion - one of the most innovative industries in Germany.
  • The machinery & plant manufacturing industry is the largest industrial employer in Germany, with more than 6,000 companies, employing roughly 1 million highly skilled employees. An addition of 18,000 jobs in 2014.

Market Potential

In the past ten years, mechanical engineering has been one of the fastest growing industry sectors in Germany. The high domestic demand from industries like the automotive, electronics, chemicals, food as well as the renewable energies sector make the German mechanical engineering market very attractive to foreign companies seeking to sell their high-tech products and components abroad. Production-based industries are the backbone of Germany’s economy, making up 30% of gross value added. This position is further strengthened by the staggering growth and dominance of our industrial automation sector.

Market Access

Product certification in the German and European M&E industry is of high importance. Manufacturers and importers must make sure that their products comply with the German Equipment and Product Safety Law (ProdSG) for machinery at all times.

All machinery and equipment manufactured or imported into the EU must fulfill the safety and health requirements stated in the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. These regulations apply only to products which will be placed on the EU/German market for the first time.

Supporting Institutions

The VDMA represents around 3,100 small and medium sized member companies in the machinery and equipment industry. Its members cover the entire process chain - everything from components and plant manufacturers, system suppliers and system integrators through to service providers.

The VDMA operates its website in German, English and Chinese and offers many publications and a membership list as well as a product database and survey results. It also provides both network support and advisory reports written by a staff of analysts and experts. The VDMA comprises many networks of special interest groups among the engineering industry. One of them is the German Machine Tool Builders Association (VDW) which offers similar services to its members as the VDMA and additionally operates a contact form for sales agents who are looking for new products.