2019: Seven percent drop in production


Press Conference on 15.01.2020 informed about the economic situation of the precision tools industry. Sub-sectors are affected to varying degrees and do not expect any increase in production in 2020.

"Last year, production by German precision tool manufacturers fell by an average of 7 percent," Stefan Zecha, Chairman of the Precision Tooling Association of the VDMA, announced at today's press conference in Frankfurt, adding: "According to initial calculations, we are assuming a production value of around €10.4 billion.

Trade conflicts and the resulting economic slowdown did not leave the precision tool industry unaffected in 2019. With a drop in sales of around 4 percent, the manufacturers of cutting tools were the least affected by this development, followed by die and mould making with minus 8 percent and clamping devices with a 9 percent loss. That the declines were not even greater is because precision tools are particularly demanded in difficult economic times, since they provide productivity gains without major investments.

The German and Chinese markets particularly developed significantly worse than expected. Business in the USA also remained below the previous year's level in total, even though cutting tools and clamping tools sold more of their products there. In 2019, the two main customer sectors, automotive and mechanical engineering, ordered fewer tools than a year earlier.

First signals from the auto industry that production could increase again in the course of the year and stabilize the demand for tools, are highly welcome. However, this will most likely not be enough to prevent a further decline in production in 2020.

Zecha: "Instead of endangering the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises with bureaucratic monsters such as the German Data Protection Act (DSGVO) and the EU Posted Workers Directive by burdening them with an unreasonable amount of non-value-added, bureaucratic activities, politicians should rather concentrate on ensuring that the foundations for a broad knowledge of technology for future generations are laid at school with compulsory MINT subjects and the subject of technology. After all, our country, which is by the way poor in raw materials, has only one real unique selling proposition that pays off in terms of its global competitiveness. And that is its highly qualified skilled workers."

This year, the VDMA Toolmaking Association, together with its partner GKV/TecPart, is planning a campaign for the use of fair standard contracts as part of the Fairness Initiative. At METAV from March 10 to 13 in Düsseldorf, the ideal sponsor VDMA Precision Tools will not only be present with a joint stand, but will also organise a clamping technology forum on March 11, 2020 under the title "Clamping technology - solutions for megatrends". The trade association will use the AMB from 15 to 19 September in Stuttgart for a technology forum on its own stand.


The VDMA Precision Tools Association is the information and communication centre for German precision tool manufacturers and their representatives. Precision tools are operated on machine tools and are used in all areas of metalworking and in parts of plastics processing.