On January 25, 2022, ECTA President Markus Horn gave a detailed overview outlining the economic situation of European cutting tool manufacturers and stated his confidence in the perspectives for 2022.
1. Economic situation
The economic situation of the tooling industry in ECTA member countries recovered in 2021, but at different speeds. Supply chain problems and further waves of the pandemic slowed down the recovery and dampened further optimism.
Overall, the European tooling industry increased cross-border deliveries of cutting tools by around 20 percent. The most significant growth was in trade with each other. It grew slightly above average by 21 percent. This means that 60 percent of all European tools found their customers within the EU-27 countries. Deliveries to the Brexit region increased by only 10 percent.
For ECTA member countries, on the other hand, the top market outside the EU, the USA, grew by a massive 25 percent and was a growth driver in contrast to business in China, which only increased by 9 percent. However, there was also more need to catch up here, as in 2020 shipments to the USA had suffered significantly more than exports to the Middle Kingdom.
A few additional words about our markets in the ECTA countries: The situation in Italy is somewhat like that in Germany. Here, too, car production stagnated. However, due to attractive special write-offs for capital goods investment in Italy was brisk, and the tool business with industrial equipment such as machine tools performed very well.
Spain was able to record a strong recovery, particularly in the first half of 2021, however, the increasing semiconductor shortage and recently exploding electricity costs also slowed down production here in the second half of the year and thus the tooling requirements of customers. Here, too, the automotive industry in particular disappointed.
Switzerland is currently developing the strongest within the ECTA group. Almost all customer industries show an increased demand for tools.
In France, the important business with the aerospace industry is slowly picking up again. Production in the French automotive industry was at least stable at the previous year's level.
On the British island, home-made logistics problems dampened the recovery of the manufacturing industry. Here, important car production was also substantially lower than a year earlier.
All in all, we remain optimistic for 2022 in Europe, even if the further recovery will not proceed as quickly as hoped in the foreseeable future - but things are moving forward.
With a view to the future politically decided climate neutrality, the European tool industry demands more governmental commitment. By providing incentives, governments must ensure that the investments made by companies and citizens in climate protection are worthwhile - for example, with super deduction, a massive and rapid expansion of infrastructure, and significantly faster planning and approval procedures. I, too, believe strongly that the regulatory framework should be open to all technologies. We must not think only in terms of electrons, but also in terms of molecules, and in all this we must not forget: A secure and affordable supply of energy is essential for the industry.
3. Trade fairs and events
The challenges regarding market access due to a lack of presence events and still existing travel and quarantine regulations in many countries affect all European manufacturers equally. Thus, I was extremely pleased that EMO Milan in October 2021 gave our companies the opportunity to exhibit on an international scale. Especially in such challenging times as we are currently experiencing, it is particularly valuable for companies in Europe to have such a common platform for the exchange of information. EMO was a first opportunity for the industry to present innovations, meet customers and network. It sent out many positive signals and proved that, despite the pandemic, there are opportunities to hold important industry events with the right timing and under intelligent hygiene concepts.
From a European perspective, AMB from September 13 to 17 in Stuttgart is the highlight of this year's trade shows. In addition, important trade shows are taking place in America with IMTS from September 12 to 17 in Chicago and in Asia with JIMTOF from November 08 to 13 in Tokyo. We are quite excited to be able to get in direct contact with our customers again.
I would also like to invite you to the ECTA Conference 2022 from June 30 to July 2. This year, the conference will be held in Rüschlikon on the beautiful Lake Zurich in Switzerland and will be organized by Swissmem in cooperation with ECTA.
Despite uncertainties caused by the pandemic and supply bottlenecks, in particular the lack of planning certainty, we see fundamentally positive signals for 2022.
"In times as challenging as they are at present, it is particularly valuable for companies in Europe to have a joint platform for the exchange of information," said ECTA President Markus Horn, Managing Director of Paul Horn GmbH, after his re-election on November 25, 2021, adding, "Fortunately, the economic situation in the ECTA member countries has recovered to some extent over the year until now, albeit with varying degrees of momentum. Despite supply chain issues and the pandemic, toolmakers are mostly optimistic about the future."
EMO in Milan in October 2021 was a first opportunity for the industry to present innovations, to meet customers and to network in Europe after the two years of the epidemic. Horn: "EMO sent out a lot of positive signals. It showed that, despite the pandemic, there are possibilities to realise important industry events with the right timing within the framework of intelligent hygiene concepts."
European Cutting Tools Association (ECTA) is the European association of manufacturers of cutting tools and clamping devices. Every three years, ECTA organises world conferences at changing locations. From June 30 to July 2, 2022, the European Cutting Tool Conference will be held in Rüschlikon ( at Lake Zurich), Switzerland, at the invitation of SwissMem.
On 25 January 2022, Markus Horn will present the detailed economic development in Europe at the annual press conference of the VDMA Precision Tools Association.
ECTA will hold the European Cutting Tool Conference from June 30 to July 2, 2022, in Rüschlikon (located at Lake Zurich), Switzerland, at invitation of SwissMem.
At the invitation of ECTA's Swiss member association SwissMem, the European association will hold its conference, which has been postponed several times due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, from June 30 to July 2, 2022, in Rüschlikon, CH. Unfortunately it is not possible to hold the next ECTA conference in Bordeaux as planned.
If you want to take a first look at the conference hotel please follow this link: https://hotel-belvoir.ch/en/. More details will follow shortly.
We look forward to meeting you in beautiful Switzerland in Summer 2022!
While demand is picking up, the availability of raw materials declines and costs rise.
" The demand for cutting tools has picked up noticeably in various sectors - especially in the automotive industry," said Markus Horn, president of the European Cutting Tools Association (ECTA) on Friday at the ECTA Rendezvous 2021 - Spotlight European Cutting Tools Industry, adding, "In return, we are increasingly facing problems with declining availability and rising costs for raw materials."
Speaking about the situation and outlook for the industry in Europe at the one-hour online event, which drew more than 100 attendees from around the world, Horn expressed confidence that cutting tool manufacturers are now over the worst. Josua Burkart, hpo forecasting ag, provided information on the industry's success in forecasting economic cycles and predicted a slowdown in demand in the second half of the year. However, he said it was not yet possible to predict the impact of the gigantic stimulus and infrastructure packages in some countries. Kai Krüger, FEV Consulting, gave an overview of the market development in the relevant European markets for cutting tools combined with an outlook on the future until 2040 based on the VDMA study "Drivetrain in Transition": He expects strong shifts within the production process landscape for automotive drive systems in the direction of new technologies in the long term and anticipates the loss of 160,000 jobs in the entire automotive sector in Europe.
The ECTA Rendezvous - Spotlight European Cutting Tools Industry builds the bridge to the next ECTA European Cutting Tools Conference, scheduled for June 2022.
On June 18, 2021, over 100 participants from various european and international countries joined the first ECTA online meeting!
The ECTA Rendezvous - Spotlight European Cutting Tools Industry presented in a compact one-hour event an overview of the market development in the relevant European markets for cutting tools combined with an outlook on the future of our industry. Special attention was paid to the results of the VDMA study Vehicle Electrification and Transformation of the Industry and the expected medium- and long-term impact on the automotive sector.
In case you missed this great opportunity we would be pleased to welcome you again at our next event:
See you in Bordeaux from June 23 to 25, 2022 at the next ECTA European Cutting Tools Conference!
The current travel restrictions due to the pandemic are noticeably reducing the ability of companies to operate globally. Not only are business trips outside Europe affected, but also intra-European travel plans.
Precision tools such as cutting tools and clamping devices are products that need expert explanation. It often requires on-site technical support. Due to quarantine, this has not been possible for several months, or only with severe restrictions and consequences for the people travelling. On one hand orders are lost and on the other new orders outside a domestic market cannot be concluded or only to a very limited extent.
Markus Horn, President of the European Cutting Tools Association (ECTA): "As soon as circumstances allow, practicable solutions must be found for business trips. This is imperative in order not to lose out to international competition."
The annual networking meeting of the industry, the European Cutting Tools Conference (ECTC) cannot take place in Bordeaux this year as planned. Instead, the "ECTA Rendezvous - Spotlight European Cutting Tools Industry" will take place on June 18th, 2021 as a compact virtual ECTA event.
Due to the current status of the CORONA pandemic and the uncertainties about the further course of the pandemic, it is not expected at the present time that a successful and safe ECTA European Cutting Tools Conference (ECTC) can be held in June 2021 this year.
Together with the national organizer SYMOP, ECTA has therefore decided to postpone this year's conference to next year 2022.
We are pleased to announce the date for ECTC 2022 already today: from June 23 to 25, 2022, the European cutting tools industry will meet in Bordeaux for the networking event of the year.
For June 18, 2021, we are planning a compact virtual ECTA event as a replacement for our physical meeting and to shorten the time until a face-to-face reunion in Bordeaux in 2022: we cordially invite you to the
ECTA Rendezvous - Spotlight European Cutting Tools Industry!
In this compact one-hour free event, we look forward to giving you an overview of the market development in the relevant European markets for cutting tools combined with an outlook on the future of our industry.
More details will follow shortly.
ECTA President Markus Horn expects pandemic to be contained in most important markets this year.
Statement of ECTA President Markus Horn at VDMA Precision Tools’ annual press conference, January 26, 2021
Ladies and Gentlemen:
First of all, I would like to thank the Board of VDMA Precision Tools for giving me the opportunity today, for the second time in a row as ECTA President, to share with you the European aspects of the cutting tool and clamping devices industry at the annual press conference. The title of my presentation is "Focus on Europe - How is the economic situation in important neighbouring countries?"
1. Markets and countries
For cutting tool manufacturers throughout Europe, the range of customers and the overall economic situation are not fundamentally different from those of German suppliers. The Corona pandemic hit everyone in 2020. Overall, the EU-27 countries saw their deliveries drop by 20 percent.
The export graph of the EU-27 countries from January to October 2020 shows a negative development similar to the German one. European companies were also able to record relatively stable sales exclusively in China.
First of all, let's take a look at our most important market - the European domestic market. After all, 60 percent of cutting tool exports from the 27 EU member states do not leave Europe. Another 13 percent of total deliveries go to the other European countries. This means that our home continent is the sales market for almost three quarters of our European tools.
In contrast, tool exports from the EU to the UK fell much more sharply after Brexit. The decline was 28 percent, while the deliveries from the UK fell even more sharply, by 29 percent. As we expected and feared, Brexit is visibly turning out to be a lose-lose situation. I am glad that our British tooling colleagues are at least still part of ECTA. But unfortunately, this does not replace the common internal market. Despite the exemption from customs duties the hastily found trade agreement imposes new bureaucratic burdens. For example, since January 1, British products can only be exported with a pile of customs documents.
Our colleagues in Italy, who were the first to be hit dramatically by the pandemic, also reported very sharp declines in orders - of around a quarter in the first nine months of 2020 - due to the imposed company closures. But at the end of the year, production in the automotive industry in Italy picked up again strongly, giving cause for hope.
Unfortunately, also our colleagues from France recorded a very negative development. Here, the effects of the pandemic were even more drastic, with declines of 35 percent in the French market for cutting tools and as much as 50 percent for clamping devices.
In Spain, the downturn was also rather severe. The Spanish market is heavily dependent on the automotive industry whose production was also restricted. Here, the recovery has now begun, albeit still somewhat subdued. But the production forecasts for 2021 are positive and the government's planned investment programmes are likely to boost this further.
Switzerland reported a gradual recovery after the sharp lockdown in April. The watch industry, which is important here, and also the automotive sector picked up again. However, the pandemic situation worsened considerably in October. Fortunately, the number of cases is currently declining.
The largest non-European market is the USA. Traditionally about one in ten European cutting tools goes to the American market. Here, deliveries fell by 25 percent. By contrast, EU-deliveries to the Chinese market only fell by five percent up to October. China, as the second most important sales market outside our Union, was thus a stabilising factor for our European exports, as already mentioned at the beginning.
2. Outlook and date
I am reasonably confident that in the course of this year we will succeed in containing the pandemic around the globe to such an extent that the majority of our markets will stabilise again and return to growth. For this to happen, international travel must once again be possible.
Personally, I would be very happy if the decline of the pandemic allows the industry to meet in Bordeaux in June, as we would like to take the opportunity to exchange information about the past year and the forecast for 2021 amongst ECTA members.
ECTA President Markus Horn explains why entrepreneurs now have to make strategical decisions for the success of their companies in the future. Additionally, he gives some information about the economic situation of the precision tools manufacturers in Europe.
The saying that fits the current situation, " Eyes shut and go for it!" has a significant weakness: Even in business management, one should never fly blind in fear, but have a strategy and keep one's eyes open in order to be able to react to changes promptly.
But let's first talk about the economic situation of the cutting tool manufacturers in Europe; this is characterized by two overlapping crises and the further darkening of the overall trade policy situation. The change in the automotive industry not only has a direct impact on our business, but also indirectly. Other customer sectors such as mechanical engineering are also affected by this sales crisis and require fewer tools. As a result, the situation for all manufacturers in Europe is further aggravated. In addition, the corona pandemic hit the industry in March 2020. The effects on the countries vary in severity. Compared to the same period in the previous year, machine production in Italy fell by 24% from January to April, followed by the UK (- 23%), France and Austria (- 22% each).
In the metalworking sector, companies are used to dealing with economic cycles. However, an economic crisis of this magnitude could not be foreseen. The economic stimulus program launched by the German federal government has a strong focus on environmental protection and small companies. As a result, some quite sensible measures, such as securing training places, do not apply to medium-sized and larger companies. However, almost 30% of trainees are trained in companies with more than 250 employees. Other measures, such as the temporary reduction of VAT, cause additional costs and do not generate benefits in the B2B business. A next step should be the extension of the expiring short-time work regulation. Our export-oriented European economy is also impatiently awaiting the possibility of visiting customers abroad again soon. The lack of travel opportunities to key markets is inhibiting the resumption of global supply chains.
"Companies are doing everything they can to develop further." Through the VDMA and ECTA, there is a lively exchange with many colleagues at home and abroad. The central corona page on the VDMA's Internet portal, which has bundled all political decisions, country and travel information or operational topics and made them available in a bundled form, was very helpful. Early on, successful measures were taken to protect employee health. Production and services could be maintained in many places. Working time accounts were reduced and short-time working increased more and more. In May, short-time work temporarily even reached the 100 % mark according to the VDMA survey in the precision tool industry. For most companies, the greatest short-term challenge is to secure their liquidity and the financing of new projects.
Many companies have learned from the last economic crisis. Therefore, it is not only the medium-sized owner-managed companies that are doing their utmost to advance - also in order to develop new perspectives for the next generation. They are preparing for the recovery by training their employees, optimizing processes and continuing investment projects. Even if digital offerings "pop up like mushrooms", they cannot sufficiently compensate the physical contacts with trade visitors at trade fairs. I therefore support initiatives such as the AMB Forum in Stuttgart in September, which is designed as a face-to-face event.
At the moment (July 2020), the decline in new infections in most European countries gives hope, as do the ifo business expectations for the next six months in the area of tool, metal and plastic goods manufacturing. Nonetheless, the crisis is challenging the companies quite significantly and has not yet come to an end; the strategy must therefore be repeatedly adapted to the unexpected turns of the situation. This is why my advice to the tool industry is "Keep your eyes open and go for it!”.
Source: VDI-Z (https://www.ingenieur.de/fachmedien/vdi-z/)
Frankfurt, 28 June 2019 - "Let's work together to shape our future", said Markus Horn, new President of the European Cutting Tools Association (ECTA) on Thursday. Horn is Managing Director of Paul Horn GmbH in Tübingen and was elected ECTA President on the occasion of the World Cutting Tools Conference 2019 at Tegernsee. In his inaugural speech, he thanked all ECTA members for the trust they had placed in him and his predecessor Marc Schuler from the Swiss company Dixi Polytool SA for his commitment.
Horn: "ECTA offers our industry many opportunities to shape the future as well as to promote our industry in Europe and around the world. And that's exactly what I'm going to do during my tenure."
“Based on the reduced demand in key markets, we expect that the production of European manufacturers of cutting tools and clamping technology has fallen by a single-digit percentage in 2019”, said Markus Horn, ECTA President, on Wednesday, 15 January, in Frankfurt.
For cutting tool manufacturers in Europe, the overall customer spectrum and the economic environment are not fundamentally different from those of German suppliers (Press Conference VDMA Precision Tools: pwz.vdma.org). Accordingly, exports from the EU-28 countries also show a slightly negative development. European companies were also able to record growth in the American market, while business in China declined significantly.
Horn: “Two thirds of the cross-border deliveries of cutting tools and clamping technology are exchanged between the member states of the European Union. Overall, we recorded a slight decline in this region.” Only 5 percent of these deliveries went to the United Kingdom. Thus, the Brexit, which is now probably imminent in real terms, has only a limited influence on the industry. But the situation is different for companies with own production facilities on the British Isles. This also affects the corresponding exchange of semi-finished products in the European production network. “Here, we expect appropriate solutions to be found in the process of shaping future relations between the UK and the EU in order to maintain production at the UK sites”, added Horn.
In the first nine months of 2019 the largest non-European market USA showed a positive trend and was up 5 percent. In the US, light vehicles production remained fairly stable and investments in new tools ensured growth here.
On the other hand, sales to the third biggest market China declined significantly and were down 16 percent. In 2019, the automotive industry developed very weakly there. For the year as a whole, Chinese passenger car production is also likely to have fallen by double-digit percentages. In addition to consumer spending, which has been dampened in particular by the trade conflict, declining subsidies are also reducing sales there. And this in turn diminished the demand for tools.
In other important regions, such as India, car production was also down significantly, which meant that global production of cars was also in the red in 2019. Since the second most important customer sector, mechanical engineering, also failed to generate any growth stimuli worldwide, demand for tools fell last year.
Overall, European cutting tool manufacturers are therefore likely to have recorded a single-digit percentage decline in 2019. The ECTA members will deal with last year's detailed analysis at the conference in Bordeaux, France, at the end of June. Horn: “I look forward to welcoming many of my colleagues there to discuss the situation and prospects of the industry with them.”
"The fact that 200 top decision-makers from the world's most important manufacturers followed our invitation to Germany to spend three days exchanging views on the economic, political and technical challenges was really fantastic and a great pleasure for us," says Markus Heseding, Managing Director of the VDMA Präzisionswerkzeuge, summing up the WCTC - World Cutting Tools Conference 2019. A total of around 240 participants travelled to the World Conference, which was hosted by the German ECTA member VDMA Precision Tools at Tegernsee.
Tools create values! was the motto of this year's World Conference. Prof. Gabriel Felbermayr, Director of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, gave a keynote speech on international trade which was particularly well received in the run-up to the G20 summit in Osaka. After detailed insights into the economic situation of the most important metalworking markets by the representatives of the national associations, Prof. Thomas Koch from KCT in Karlsruhe informed about the future opportunities of the combustion engine in addition to electric mobility. According to Koch, all emission questions concerning the combustion engine have been solved: By using climate-neutral fuels, the combustion engine could also play an important role in future mobility strategies.
Highlight of the event was the presentations of two guest speakers. First, Jan Sibbersen described in the "Story about luck" his inspiring way to becoming the swimming record holder of the Ironman in Hawaii in 2018. And then the stage was set for the well-known physicist and comedian Vince Ebert, whose messages were also very well received by the international guests.
The program also included a visit to MTU Aero Engines in Munich, a global manufacturer and maintainer of aero engines. There, the latest production facilities for the automated machining of blisks on machine tools were on display.
On the occasion of WCTC 2019, Markus Horn, Managing Director of Paul Horn GmbH, was elected ECTA President. He succeeds Marc Schuler, Dixi Polyool SA from Switzerland, who has held the presidency since 2014. Besides Germany, Japan, Switzerland and the USA also used the WCTC 2019 to hold national meetings.
The next WCTC will take place in Japan in 2022. Taking place every three years alternating between the USA, Asia and Europe, the WCTC - World Cutting Tool Conference provides the global forum and networking event for manufacturers of cutting tools and clamping technology. Strategic challenges are discussed and global networking and cooperation in the industry is strengthened. The WCTC is the most important event of the European Association of Metal Cutting Tools and Toolholding ECTA. In the two years between the World Conferences, events on a European level are organised by ECTA.
About 100 participants from all over the world met for a packed lecture program and networking at Lake Maggiore.
From 3 to 5 May 2018, the manufacturers of cutting and clamping tools were guests of the Italian Association UCIMU in Stresa on Lake Maggiore. Some guests even came from China and the US to take advantage of the networking opportunity offered by the European Metal Cutting Tool Association ECTA. And this despite the fact that it was not a world conference this year. The topic "Future perspectives" was a golden thread throughout the entire event.
In his welcoming speech, ECTA President Marc Schuler gave a positive assessment of the current situation of the industry. Explaining the economic situation of the European metal cutting tool industry in detail, Peter Meier of USP Consulting completed the European perspective. The economists Marco Fortis from the Edison Foundation and Marco Taisch, Politecnico di Milano, then gave an overview of the global economic situation and future technological aspects. They both agreed that company organization must be constantly adapted to market requirements. In the afternoon, following two presentations by sponsors, it was Gianluigi Zanovello's turn to speak. The former commander of the Italian aerobatic team "Frecce Tricolori" showed how outstanding results can be achieved through the interaction of exceptional individual performance and precisely coordinated teamwork. After this, Thomas Lüdiger of FEV Consulting informed the participants about the findings of the VDMA study "Antrieb im Wandel ". The expected effects of the electrification of the powertrain on the metal processing industries subsequently gave rise to a great deal of controversy.
Lothar Horn, Chairman of VDMA Precision Tools, closed the lecture block with an outlook on the challenges of the near future. The German association will host ECTA World Conference (WCTC), which will take place from 26 to 29 June 2019 at Tegernsee in Upper Bavaria.
The 2017 European Cutting Tool Association Conference attracted 60 delegates and partners from 7 countries.
Organized by the AFM Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, AFM the conference programme foocused on the strategic strategic challenges facing this industry sector.
Keynote presentations on the global economy, management challenges and key customer views rounded off the event.
The 2016 World Cutting Tool Conference on the Big Island of Hawaii attracted over 180 delegates and partners from 9 countries worldwide.
Organized by the US Cutting Tool Institute, USCTI, the conference programme focused on the strategic challenges facing this industry sector.
Keynote presentations on the global economy, management challenges and key customer views rounded off the event.