This constitutes a slight rise over the previous year. For 2012, too, the sector is once again expecting slight growth, as reflected in the results of a member survey recently carried out by the VDMA sectoral representation Forum Glass Technology. According to the poll, positive business signals are primarily coming out of the special glass and solar thermal energy sectors. Companies rate photovoltaics as uncertain and hard to predict while for many manufacturers this is a key business area. Overall, most respondents rated their business outlook as good to satisfactory. Europe is still the most important sales market.
Business with Turkey is flourishing, in particular. However, demand in Russia is now also rising after a long crisis period. Asia’s growth markets remain strong, particularly India and China. Companies are also seeing good prospects in Latin America in the medium term. The pressure of competition is presenting a challenge for the sector worldwide. According to a survey, customers are increasingly demanding “turn key projects” which can often only be realised with cooperation partners.
This entails risks. The same applies when realising all-in-one solutions where plant manufacturers also have to supply financing arrangements – a demand made by more and more customers. Furthermore, Asian machinery manufacturers are now also offering high-tech solutions, thereby constituting serious competition here, too. Another challenge: despite individual efforts made in the field of recruitment, the sector lacks well-trained staff and engineers. Companies fear this situation will worsen in the years to come when long-serving staff will leave companies to retire (11/2011).