Industry perspective The machine tool wave

Author / Editor: Ahlam Rais / Lina Klass

The machine tool sector will be growing further, with new trends and technological advancements emerging. Be excited to read on about this expanding market and its role in two of the pioneer countries of the sector China and Germany.

The global machine tools market is predicted to exceed 120 billion dollars by 2020, growing at a CAGR of more than 6 per cent.
The global machine tools market is predicted to exceed 120 billion dollars by 2020, growing at a CAGR of more than 6 per cent.
(Source: Deposit Photos)

The global machine tools market is predicted to exceed 120 billion dollars by 2020, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of more than six per cent, Technavio reports. The mammoth sector can be broadly divided into three segments – metal cutting, metal forming and special machine tools.

Metal cutting tools comprise boring and drilling machines, gear cutting machines, grinding, honing, lathe machines, milling machines, machining centres, etc., whereas, metal forming tools include punching and shearing machines, bending and forming machines, metal working presses and more. Lastly, special machine tools involve waterjet cutting machines, huge power laser cutting machines, electrical discharge machines, and so on.


Trends of the machine tool sector

The machine tool industry caters to numerous end-user segments such as automobiles, aerospace, defence, electronics, electrical and so on. Recently, a report by Technavio also stated the top three emerging trends affecting the machine tool industry.

  • Combining additive manufacturing with machine tools

In today’s age, additive manufacturing is increasingly being used to create not only prototypes but also full scale products. The contemporary technology is also used for design and concept validation, it’s cost-effective and also reduces material wastage by 30-70 per cent. With so much to offer, machine tool manufacturers are also incorporating this unique technology into their work. For instance, DMG Mori, one of the leading companies in machine tools has introduced a hybrid machine that includes additive manufacturing in a high-tech 5 axis milling machine. In addition to this, another mega organisation Yamazaki Mazak has also integrated metal 3D printing technology into its computer numerical control (CNC) machines.

  • Technological advancements

Manufacturers have also updated their hardware and software in line with the latest technologies in the market. This has resulted in better and efficient productivity in a short period of time. Now, a machine can perform multiple tasks at a single go. Numerous software can also be used on a single platform. Today, advanced computer-aided manufacturing technology (CAM) is being used for multi-axis, multi-spindle, and multi-turret machines. Even in automation of manufacturing and engineering processes, software is being increasingly utilised.

  • Surge in automation

The industry is looking to adopt automation in most of its processes as defects are reduced in the final output and quality products are manufactured in a short period of time. Small and mid-scale industries are also opting for CNC machines rather than conventional machines. The automobile industry is one such example where manufacturers are implementing automation processes on their shop floor. This has helped them to churn out vehicles at a faster pace.

Machine tool sector around the world

An insight into two of the leading countries in the machine tool sector is given below:

Germany:VDW, the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association recently announced that in the third quarter of 2017, order bookings for the German machine tool industry rose by 13 per cent compared to the previous year’s equivalent period. Domestic orders were up by 31 per cent, exports by five per cent. In the first three quarters of 2017, total order bookings increased by three per cent. Domestic orders were down by two per cent. Order bookings from abroad rose by five per cent, with metal-cutting and forming technologies performing equally well.


China: According to the industry prosperity index, in the first half of 2017 the prosperity index of the Chinese machine tool sector is 62.5 per cent in the first half of 2017 that is above the boom line. And there is an increase of 8.6 per cent compared with the situation by the end of 2016, thus indicating a continuous expanding trend.

According to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the industry-wide sales revenue in the first half of 2017 is 77 billion dollars, with a year-on-year increase of 12.2 per cent; and the total profit is 4.8 billion dollars, with a year-on-year increase of 23.6 per cent.

VDW has made positive projections of global investment rising 1.5 per cent and machine tool consumption growing 2.1 per cent. It added that Europe is expected to lead with a 4.1 per cent increase in machine tool consumption, while Asia and America post lower rates of 1.7 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively, but at least rebounding to positive growth.

Industry players can witness the latest happenings and technologies of the machine tool sector at industry related events and METAV 2018 is one such show that acts as the ideal networking platform for potential future business opportunities.

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