• German Machine Tool Builders' Association
  • vdw@vdw.de
  • +49 69 756081-0

The Machine Tool Industry

With around 72,000 employees and a production volume of just over 16 billion euros in 2017, the German machine tool industry ranks among the five largest specialist groupings in the mechanical engineering sector. Although it thus constitutes only a comparatively small branch of industry, it plays an important role for macro-economic development worldwide. It supplies production technology for metalworking applications in all sectors, and makes a crucial contribution towards innovation and productivity enhancement in the industrial sector. The success of the machine tool industry is thus an important indicator for the dynamism and performative capabilities of the German economy, an indispensable motor for cyclical development and a significant driver of progress and technical innovation.

On an international comparison, too, both for production output and for exports, the German machine tool industry has for decades now been up with the front-runners. With a global market share of 16.6 per cent, in 2017 Germany was in second place behind China and in front of Japan. Around 70 per cent of the production output, worth approximately 10.1 billion euros, was sold abroad.

The sector owes its performative capabilities not least to the decisiveness and flexibility of mid-tier entrepreneurs. Just over a tenth of the manufacturers have more than 1,000 employees, and around 54 per cent of the companies involved have a payroll of less than 250.