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Relatively Stable Outlook for Austrian Machine Tools

maschinenbaupix © ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA

© ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA

October 6, 2011

Slowing growth expected through year end; niche quality orientation helps offset production decline awaited in 2012.

According to the Association of the Austrian Machinery and Metalware Industries (FMMI) , 2011 is expected to be a positive year for machine tool manufacturers, especially compared to a weak 2010. Company investments for 2011 are up 54% and machine builders still have a healthy order backlog to carry them through to the end of the year. On the other hand, the industry mood has deteriorated as macro-economic experts agree that EU financial challenges still lack a solution. A downturn is expected for 2012. 

Austria´s machine and metals sectors have several factors to mitigate a downturn. The key to success is that Austrian technology is niche oriented.  Austrian firms often find themselves big fish in a small pond, with the pond being a very narrow expertise serving a global market with scarce competition.  Secondly, Austria is export-driven both directly (own exports) and indirectly (for example, German customers further export Austrian goods).   Lastly, the European machine tool industry--and by extension specialty metal goods--is gaining overall  market share in the world´s machine tool production.

The Austrian machine tool industry has very strong foundations. According to Mr. Frank Brinken of CECIMO, the Association of European Machine Tool Producers , of which FMMI is a member: “Innovation paves the way for further growth in the European machine tool industry, it is our lifeblood. We need to ensure in Europe the efficient framework for research and innovation with the special focus on small and medium enterprises. This is the only way to ensure Europe´s success amid growing competition.”

In conclusion, it is interesting to note that a lack of demand is not always the driving concern for Austrian machine tool manufacturers.  The lack of skilled labor scores nearly as high. Deficient financing and capacity bottlenecks also factor in. Therefore, it´s easy to understand the Austrian focus on efficiency in saving both natural as well as personnel resources.

The complete report can be downloaded here .   

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