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International News From the Field: Europe

Recent events have shaken European markets: inflation, rate hikes, strikes, motions of censure, and near-collapsing banking systems. This might not be a good time for European business – or is it? For more industry intel and other tidbits, read on.
Mar 29, 2023

Recently, CECIMO, Europe’s machine tool builders association, published data for 2022 showing growth compared with previous years and predicting cautious optimism for 2023.

VDW, the German Machine Tool Builders' Association, expects machine tool production to grow 9% in 2023, reaching $15.5 billion. The expectation is based on Europe largely overcoming the effects of the pandemic. The order levels are only just short of 2018’s record, while production levels are back to the heights they previously recorded.

AFM Cluster, Spain’s organization that represents the country’s advanced and digital manufacturing interests, reported that the advanced manufacturing and machine tool sector reached a turnover of $1.7 billion in 2022, which is up 9.7% compared to 2021. Although cautious, Europeans are moderately optimistic and trust that current portfolios and positioning in strategic sectors, such as energy, aerospace, capital goods, or automotive, will do well through the year.

UCIMU-Sistemi per Produrre, Italy’s machine tool and manufacturing technology association, reported a 2.5% increase compared to the last quarter of 2021. The Italians consider this performance satisfactory for the quarter, whereas the industry would consider it exceptional.

The association for Switzerland's mechanical and electrical engineering industries, SWISSMEN, reported improvements in sales in the past year. Compared with 2021, sales were up by 9.4%, exports were up 5.6%, and new orders received were up 2.4%. For 2023, business expectations are cautiously optimistic.

A few recently announced projects and investment news items are listed below.

  • As part of its EV strategy in the electrification and digitalization fields, VW announced an investment of $482 million to transform its main plant, Wolfsburg, by early 2025 to produce the new ID.3 platform.

  • The VW giga factory in Sagunto, Spain, is expected to reach a production capacity of 150 million battery cells annually. Martorell, Sagunto, and Pamblona plants should receive up to $10 billion in combined investment.

  • Diamond Foundry will invest $850 million in a new plant in Spain to produce single-crystal diamond chips used for jewelry and in semiconductor industries such as cloud and AI computing, 5G/6G communications, and electric cars.

  • Stellantis’ Cassino assembly plant in Italy, which produces vehicles for premium and luxury brands Alfa Romeo and Maserati, will add vehicles based on the flexible, BEV-centric STLA Large platform to their production lineup. The models will be announced at a later date. Stellantis is investing over $32 billion through 2025 in electrification and software to deliver BEVs that meet customer demands, including class-leading fast-charge capabilities.

  • Alstom is opening a new production plant in Valmadrera, Italy. Investments worth $2 billion will be made to install new numerical control machinery, a quality laboratory testing machine, and automatic storage systems.

  • Continental has invested approximately $194 million to expand its headquarters and for new equipment for its engineering centers in Romania, where the number of employees has increased to 19,000 from 17,500 in 2021.

  • Creaform, a business unit of AMETEK Inc. and a worldwide leader in portable 3D measurement solutions and engineering services, announced the opening of a new repair center next to its France office in Fontaine, near Grenoble. This endeavor sends a strong message of support and autonomy for the community in the EMEA region, as the company can now leverage solid calibration and acceptance results locally.

For more information, please contact Conchi Aranguren at caranguren@AMTonline.org.

Conchi Aranguren
AMT's Representative for Europe
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