CECIMO announces a positive economic outlook for 2017
Brussels, 22 November 2017 – The CECIMO General Assembly, which took place in Brussels on 22
November, announced that CECIMO machine tool production is expected to register a 2% annual growth
in 2017 and reach 24.4 billion euro, rebounding from the last year’s drop slightly below 24 billion. While
the world production volume dropped by ‐2.4%, CECIMO based companies kept the sales downturn at ‐
1.7% in 2016, coping better with the geopolitical distress and maintaining our global market share at a
strong 35.6%. On the policy side, CECIMO will step up its engagement with the EU decision makers and
other industry stakeholders to address the challenges of artificial intelligence (AI), and to develop together
the right framework conditions for an increased deployment of AI and machine learning by machine tool
builders in the coming years.
Economic situation and outlook
The industrial economy is strengthening, boosted by the trade upsurge. The global GDP projections reveal
robust growth rates of 2.9% and 3% in 2017 and 2018. Based on the preliminary data, our machine tool
builders are expecting to reach a production volume of 24.4 billion euro in 2017, equivalent to a 1.9% annual
increase compared to 2016. Last year’s production numbers were capped by more moderate output of many
important machine tool producing countries. In the context of a global drop of production from 67.9 to 67.2
billion euro, CECIMO countries showed resilience. As a result, CECIMO machine tool producers have kept
their global market share slightly above 35% for the last 3 years. Moreover, our members expect to increase
their production levels in 2018. Germany stands firmly in its MT producer leadership position, securing 46.4%
of the CECIMO MT production, followed by Italy and Switzerland, with 21% and 11%, respectively.
Last year, CECIMO based companies exported 18.3 billion euro worth machine tools, mainly to China (14.9%)
and US (10.5%), although, the trade within CECIMO countries remains the most important – 41.5% of our
exports are directed to CECIMO countries. In 2017, the export figures are expected to reach 19 billion euro,
regardless the uncertainties around the US protectionist trade policies. Likewise, the 2018 indications for MT
exports are positive.
The Continent’s machine tool consumption is expected to raise at 16.9 billion euro in 2017, slightly above
last year’s levels (16.3 billion being attributed to CECIMO countries). It would mark an important increase of
5.6% compared to 2016, in line with the upward world consumption trend. Chinese consumption, on the
other hand, is likely to moderately increase from 25 billion euro in 2016 to 25.3 billion in 2017, as the Chinese
growth acceleration is fading out. the consumption forecasts for 2018 equally suggest an increase of MT
demand, notably a 4.1% raise for Europe and 3.6% for Asia and the world. Investments in modern machine
tools are fuelled by investment tax incentives in certain countries and the trend towards digital
manufacturing, which requires a state‐of‐the‐art machine population.
According to Dr Frank Brinken, Chairman of the Economic Committee, “the EU policy‐makers, in their turn,
should deliver on the ambitious EU Trade Agenda and secure a competitive stance for the European machine
tools in the global economy”.
The potential of artificial intelligence to lead to a new wave of digital disruption is undeniable. “Given that
the enhancement of production efficiency on a continuous basis has been an everlasting commitment for
both our industry and our customers, artificial intelligence and machine learning offer a tremendous
opportunity for automation, increased engineering efficiency and reduced costs” said Mr Luigi Galdabini,
CECIMO President. In line with CECIMO President, Mr Reinhard Bütikofer stated that “advanced
manufacturing, digitisation and resource efficiency are three major, transformative challenges for European
manufacturing industry. We must deal with them on the basis of a comprehensive integrated European
strategy. That’s the context in which AI plays a crucial role”. Ms Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, who participated in the parallel events to the CECIMO
GA, has a clear view on the issue: “By putting a favourable and stable business environment in place, Europe
can compete globally on both the development and uptake of AI solutions”. At the same time, she warned
how “we need to avoid unnecessary anxiety based on far‐fetched AI take‐over scenarios that could distort
public perception of AI”. Representing the Machine Tools Industry’s interest, Tomas Hedenborg, CEO of
FASTEMS, stated that “European machine tool builders have been constantly integrating digital technologies
and artificial intelligence into advanced manufacturing from the factory floor to networked factories.
Nevertheless, we need to address some pressing issues related to technical, ethical, legal, regulatory and
investment barriers.” CECIMO identified the following issues:
- Artificial intelligence framework
CECIMO advocates an enhanced cooperation across the public and private sectors at European level for the
development, deployment and use of artificial intelligence. The adoption of EU policy on artificial intelligence
could be a step in the right direction and could provide more certainty, especially on liability issues. CECIMO
also underlines the need for increased investments to stimulate the adoption of artificial intelligence by
industry and to develop the European capacity in this sector.
- European Data Economy
CECIMO favours data driven solutions for process optimisation. We welcome the European Commission’s 2nd
Data Package, which aims to remove barriers to data sharing and data mobility, and proposes self‐regulatory
codes of conduct for data portability. Indeed, CECIMO strongly supports that access to data generated by
machines should be defined by bilateral contracts between suppliers and users and by industry‐led
initiatives, which can ensure the necessary flexibility, openness and trust.
- Industrial security and trust
Artificial intelligence and machine learning could be a critical catalyst for major manufacturing challenges
linked to security concerns, providing adequate cyber security response in real time. CECIMO believes that a
voluntary European certification and labelling scheme, as it will be developed by ENISA, could create the
right framework conditions for increased security in the IoT era.
CECIMO is the European Association representing the common interests of the Machine Tool Industries
globally and at EU level. We bring together 15 National Associations of machine tool builders, which
represent approximately 1300 industrial enterprises in Europe (EU + EFTA + Turkey), over 80% of which are
SMEs. CECIMO covers 98% of total Machine Tool production in Europe and about 36% worldwide. It accounts
for almost 150,000 employees and a turnover of more than €24 billion in 2016. Approximately 75% of
CECIMO production is shipped abroad, whereas around half of it is exported outside Europe. CECIMO
assumes a key role in determining the strategic direction of the European machine tool industry and
promotes the development of the sector in the fields of economy, technology and science.
Per info: www.cecimo.eu