They were major beacons of hope for international manufacturers of production technology: the USA with its reindustrialisation programme, and Mexico, which had evolved into one of the world's most important automaking locations. But since the beginning of this year at the latest, industry representatives all round the globe have been wondering where it is heading, the US-American economy, and what is to become of its southern neighbour Mexico. The VDW (German Machine Tool Builders' Association) will be investigating these questions as part of its Metalworking Growth seminar on 21 September 2017 at the EMO Hannover. After all, last year the USA was the second-biggest market for machine tools worldwide, with Mexico ranking 7th.
"For addressing our highly topical seminar theme, we're partnering with Gardner Business Media, a company possessing excellent knowledge of both these markets," reports Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Executive Director of the EMO's organiser, the VDW. Soundly based expert information, he continues, is indispensable for every corporate leader from the manufacturing sector doing business with these two countries. It's all the more valuable when the experts concerned are able to base their assessments and appraisals on how the situation is actually viewed from within these two markets.
Travis Egan, the publisher of the Modern Machine Shop trade periodical, takes an optimistic stance. He perceives a highly upbeat mood among the manufacturers in both these countries, and promises good business opportunities for every vendor able to utilise this optimistic atmosphere in his favour. The figures issued for the German machine tool industry's first quarter, for example, prove him right: German exports to the USA have increased by 16 per cent, with exports to Mexico even up by more than one third. "Needless to say, this trend has its roots in last year's order bookings," explains Dr. Schäfer. Many large-scale orders in project business with these two countries' automotive industry had ensured high growth rates. But in Mexico at least, ordering activity slumped considerably during the year's first quarter, whereas order intake from the USA continues buoyant.
What will be addressed in the EMO's seminar is the ongoing global economic and technological trends in the machine tool industry, with a particular focus on the USA and Mexico. Steve Kline Jr., Director of Market Intelligence at Gardner Business Media (GBM), will provide information on the investment plans of US-American companies, right through to certain technologies which have been identified as primary targets for purchasers. For almost ten years now, Steve Kline has been drawing up market studies in the capital-goods industry, and heads the Capital Spending Survey and the Gardner Business Index, to name just two benchmark indicators he's in charge of.
Pete Zelinski, the Senior Editor of the Modern Machine Shop trade periodical, is devoting a lot of attention to technical developments, and goes into downright raptures: "Ever since I started working, this is the most exciting time I've experienced for the USA's industrial sector. Much of the boost is coming primarily from the relatively small companies that are seeing major opportunities in the application of new technologies like additive manufacturing."
In Mexico, by contrast, what's needed is some long-term strategies. That's the verdict of Claude Mas, the publisher of the Modern Machine Shop Mexico trade periodical. He sees major sales potential here, because a Mexican middle class with ample purchasing power is in the process of emerging. "Given an annual economic growth of between four and five per cent, Mexico's baby boomers will over the next 20 years be in the market for high-quality consumer goods, which could also be produced in the country itself," is his firm conviction. So far, only 20 per cent of Mexican production output is being sold at home. So a higher level of domestic demand, he continues, offers major opportunities for selling production technology.
"In the times we're living through at the moment, highly eventful and turbulent as they are, where politicians on the other side of the Atlantic are questioning the retention of free trade, it's all the more important to analyse the real conditions obtaining on the spot time and again," says Dr. Schäfer of the VDW. "For this, there is no forum better suited than the EMO Hannover because it's there that many top-flight international production experts meet up for exchanging news and views and for discussing trends and challenges."
At a glance
What: Metalworking Growth Seminar – overview of the trends in metalworking in the USA and Mexico
When: Thursday, 21 September 2017, 9.00 to 11.00 a.m.
Where: Hanover Exhibition Grounds, Convention Center
10.00 a.m. Welcome Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, VDW
10.05 a.m. Trends in the international machine tool market, with a particular focus on the USA and Mexico Steve Kline Jr., Gardner Business Media
10.40 a.m. Technical trends in the US machine tool industry Pete Zelinsky, Modern Machine Shop
11.10 a.m. The machine tool industry in Mexico: opportunities and challenges Claude Mas, Modern Machine Shop Mexico
11.40 a.m. Discussion
12.00 a.m. Ending with a snack