Machine Tools India opts for high-tech made in Germany

Editor: Barbara Schulz

The German machine tool industry continues to arouse keen interest in India, as the economy is expected to pick up speed in the years ahead, with industrial production output and capital investment both rising.

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German machine tool and machining equipment suppliers demonstrated their expertise at the fourth VDW symposium in India.
German machine tool and machining equipment suppliers demonstrated their expertise at the fourth VDW symposium in India.
(Source: Indian Chamber of Foreign Trade)

For the fourth time in succession, the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association) has joined forces with the German-Indian Chamber of Industry and Commerce to organise one-day symposia in Chennai and Pune, India in March.


17 front-ranking companies like DMG Mori, Emag, Gehring, Gleason-Pfauter, Heckert, Heller, Hermle, Kapp, Leistritz, MAG, Mauser, Open Mind, Peiseler, Profiroll, Samag, Schwäbische Werkzeugmaschinen and Waldrich Coburg showcased their products, solutions and services for modern-day industrial production operations. Around 240 customers from the automotive industry and its component suppliers, the general mechanical engineering sector, and the aviation industry accepted the invitation in Chennai; 220 customers came to Pune.

“This is already the fourth occasion that the VDW has been represented in two cities at a time with its symposia in India. This has proved to be a good idea, because of the country’s size and its regional distribution of industrial activity,” explains Klaus-Peter Kuhnmünch, responsible for the technology symposia, VDW.

India’s machine tool market offers huge potential

According to the VDW, India came eighth in the world rankings for machine tools in 2015. VDW’s British forecasting partner, Oxford Economics, expects the Indian economy to pick up speed in the years ahead, with industrial production output and capital investment both rising. The machine tool market is predicted to expand by 9 to 10% in both 2016 und 2017. The growth of the Indian market is directly linked to improvements in the local infrastructures. “The slogan ‘Make in India’ is aimed at central investments on the spot, and creates ideal conditions for direct investments from abroad. We want to benefit directly from this welcome trend,” emphasises Gerhard Flores, Head of Technological Development and Patents at Gehring Technologies, Ostfildern, who was attending the VDW’s symposium.

German manufacturers see a turnaround

It was in 2007 and 2008 that the German machine tool sector achieved its biggest successes in India, according to VDW figures. Exports reached a figure of just under €300m. In the two subsequent years, the worldwide financial and economic crisis caused them to shrink by a quarter. In 2014, for example, the volume of exports was a mere €150m. In 2015, however, signs of a turnaround emerged, which the sector is keen to benefit from. To quote Dr. Manfred Berger, executive vice president Global Sales at MAG IAS in Eislingen: “It’s primarily the automotive industry and its component suppliers that are our principal focus in India. We are anticipating significant growth in these customer sectors in the future. International component suppliers, in particular, are exhibiting growth potential of exceptional dynamism.”

Japan’s traditional role as leader under attack

The most important foreign vendor nation is, of course, Japan, which in 2014 supplied 28% of India’s imports. The German manufacturers, by contrast, as the second-largest supplier category, upped their share from 13 to 14.5%. The order situation in India, too, recorded growth of 41% in 2015 compared to the preceding year. Nonetheless, Japan’s leading position in India has strengthened over the past decade. The German machine tool manufacturers active in India are aiming to successively increase their market shares in relation to Japan. The sophisticated pricing structure plays a crucial role here as an important influencing factor. Maximilian Waizenegger, regional sales manager at the machinery manufacturer Maschinenfabrik Berthold Hermle in Gosheim, explains: “India has for many years now been a very price-sensitive market. German machine tools are regarded as too expensive. We are increasingly observing, however, that more expensive machines are also being purchased, and that awareness levels for the importance of high quality on the spot are rising very significantly.”


Jens Wunderlich, authorised signatory at Profiroll Technologies in Bad Düben, confirms this statement, and also outlines two strategic approaches for how, in his view, it’s possible to handle the Indian market better in future: “Firstly, German manufacturers have to be prepared to provide technological support on the spot, extending above and beyond the needs of other markets. Secondly, as a company in India, you have to be prepared to modify your products to suit he market’s needs on the spot, which also means slimming down the machines to their essentials in line with the customer’s actual requirements, and providing local service support.”