German Glass Machinery Manufacturers See Opportunities in Asia
German manufacturers of glass machinery are looking optimistically to the future.
German manufacturers of glass machinery are looking optimistically to the future, according to the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). Global markets are mainly stable, and gains are expected in Asia, the Gulf States and from glasstec. The industry is estimating sales of roughly € 1 billion ($1.1 billion) for the current year.
“If we are to remain competitive, we must above all keep costs under control,” said Bernd-Holger Zippe, Ph.D., shareholder and member of the supervisory board of ZIPPE Industrieanlagen GmbH. Zippe is chairman of the Glass Technology Forum. More than 90% of German-based manufacturers of glass machinery are members of the organization, which belongs to the VDMA. According to Zippe, competition in the markets has become tougher. New providers have entered the market and devaluation-related currency advantages are making business even more difficult. Despite all of this, Zippe believes that German manufacturers have succeeded in defending their leading position in global markets.
While demand for new investments remains within narrow limits, Zippe sees an increasing need for replacement and improvement investments. He is expecting more competition from the UK. The devaluation of the pound will enable manufacturers to offer their products at more favorable prices on the world markets, which will affect German companies.
“The successful companies will be those that are innovative,” said Harald Jodeit, Ph.D., managing director and owner of JSJ Jodeit GmbH. However, this is not possible without intense research and development. Awareness for product quality, energy efficiency, and flexibility has increased throughout the world. The trend is away from mass production toward quality, especially in China. In this respect, maximum output with low energy consumption and low environmental burdens is playing an increasingly important role.
Jodeit sees further growth opportunities in greater technological cooperation with glass manufacturers and thus with customers. In some manufacturing companies, technological know-how is “increasingly being lost.” Concentration is frequently on economic production planning and optimization. What manufacturers of glass machinery must therefore offer are innovative, tailor-made, complete technical solutions and technological support in close collaboration with glass producers. “This is an opportunity for our industry,” said Jodeit. He is expecting increasing demand from Iran, Egypt and the Gulf States. There, companies are frequently confronted with potential customers with little experience or from outside the industry, with a major interest in holistic technical solutions and services such as training, technological support and production accompaniment.
Jodeit is also expecting the glasstec trade fair to produce brisk demand for innovative machine and plant concepts for the manufacture of special glass, glass ceramics, and functional glass. The trend here is toward “very special, intelligent glass with optimized attributes.” Jodeit is certain that correspondingly thin glass will find its way into many other areas in addition to the known applications in the electronics industry such as transport and car manufacturing, as well as architecture. According to Jodeit, “Lightweight glass in vehicles and lightweight structures with domes from thin, unbreakable glass is not a utopian idea.”
For more information, visit http://glas.vdma.org.