Turnover posted by German manufacturers of glass machinery and plants is expected to reach some €800 million (~ $1.08 billion) in 2011, a slight rise over the previous year, according to a member survey recently carried out by the VDMA sectoral representation Forum Glass Technology at its members’ assembly. The sector is reportedly expecting slight growth in 2012 as well.
According to the poll, positive business signals are primarily coming out of the special glass and solar thermal energy sectors. Companies rate photovoltaics as uncertain and hard to predict, while, for many manufacturers, this is a key business area. Overall, most respondents rated their business outlook as good to satisfactory.
Europe is still the most important sales market; in particular, business with Turkey is flourishing. However, demand in Russia is now also rising after a long crisis period. Asia’s growth markets remain strong, particularly India and China. Companies are also seeing good prospects in Latin America in the medium term.
The pressure of competition is reportedly presenting a challenge for the sector worldwide. According to the survey, customers are increasingly demanding “turnkey projects” that can often only be realized with cooperation partners; this entails risk. The same applies when realizing all-in-one solutions where plant manufacturers also have to supply financing arrangements-a demand being increasingly made by customers. Furthermore, Asian machinery manufacturers are now also offering high-tech solutions, thereby constituting serious competition.
Another challenge identified by the survey is that, despite individual efforts made in the field of recruitment, the sector lacks well-trained staff and engineers. Companies fear this situation will worsen in the years to come when long-serving staff will leave companies to retire.
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