This would be a slight increase compared to last year. The industry’s leading trade fair glasstec/solarpeq is expected to stimulate the demand in 2013 significantly. These are Mr. Joachim Schmid’s, managing director of VDMA and spokesman of the glass technology forum, expectations which he expressed at the opening press conference in Düsseldorf.
Rise with flat and special glass – descent with glass used in the automobile industry and photovoltaic
For suppliers working in the flat glass industry sales are going well. Glass, with all its innovative functions as used for windows and in facades, is demanded strongly as a building material worldwide. According to a survey carried out by VDMA, manufacturers of plants that are delivered within the hollow glass and solar thermic industry cannot complain either. However, the automobile industry currently sees less investment which has clear effects on the demand of glass machinery. On the other hand, sales in photovoltaic Mr. Schmid describes as “not worth mentioning” at the moment. However, according to him, despite price dumping and surplus capacity, chances are good for manufacturers of solar glass in the midterm. Already today, about three to four per cent of all glass produced worldwide is used in the solar industry. With an average growth rate of 20 to 25 per cent annually, this segment will keep on growing significantly and German manufactures will eventually be profiting as well.
Foreign orders support slight upturn
The industry generates about two thirds of its turnover abroad. As in years before, the EU-27 Countries are the number one sales market. However, East Asia is becoming continuously more interesting. According to the survey carried out by VDMA, already next year, East Asia will be on the same level as Europe marking the most important markets of the industry.
Demand in Russia is also growing, Latin America is on an increase and companies see good possibilities also arising midterm in the Far and Middle East, as well as in India, which will have an enormous demand in glass over the next couple of decades.
Cheap offers raising difficulties
Competitive constraints are on the increase worldwide. More and more customers ask for “turn-key-projects” these days which can only be fulfilled when companies cooperate closely with their partners. Trying to meet this demand bears risks – the same is true when wanting to cater for the request of having also a financing plan in place when negotiating deals. Also cheap offers, especially from Chinese companies, make things difficult for European manufacturers. Most companies try to avoid competing on price but much rather to gain credit with the quality and service they offer and/or by convincing their customers with the high technology as well as aspects regarding energy efficiency and environmental friendliness their machinery also caters for.
A trade fair like glasstec is an extremely important platform for the industry to put their innovative developments on display. Companies hope the fair will stimulate demands significantly for the slight upswing to continue well into 2013.
Joachim Schmid, Managing Director of the VDMA Construction Equipment and Building Material Machinery Association / Speaker of Forum Glass Technology
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