Like the entire global economy, the mechanical engineering industry in Germany is also hit by the coronavirus. After supply chains were torn apart by restrictions on the movement of goods and people, both global customers and German technology providers are now having a hard time. Cash flow is the top priority, and production at the lowest cost follows right behind; however, the health of the workforce is also an important issue these days. The mechanical and plant engineering sector is Germany’s largest employer with 1,3 million employees, and it is the backbone of the German economy.

Countries with the most important manufacturers of mining equipment – flows of trade
VDMA Mining Chart Export Worldwide
(Source: National Statistical Offices)

VDMA and its around 3,300 member companies in Germany and Europe is the largest network organization for mechanical engineering in Europe. The association represents the common economic, technological and scientific interests of this diverse industry. VDMA provides its members quickly and directly with information about the changes caused by the actions to master corona crisis. For this we carry out regular surveys on the economic situation and prospects in the industry. We organize the exchange of information with each other, for example on interrupted supply and transport chains, or we give advice regarding the question whether the coronavirus outbreak can be considered a case of “force majeur”. In this crisis the partnership between VDMA and its around 3,300 member companies pays off.

As far as possible unaffected by COVID-19, technical topics are further processed. Day after day – the mechanical and plant engineering sector is developing solutions to meet today’s major challenges. The industry’s companies make the mechanical and plant engineering sector in Germany a driver for innovation and thus a guarantor for growth and prosperity. This makes Germany globally ranking #3 of the manufacturers of mining equipment.

Within VDMA Mining, we support the development of alternative drive technologies for mobile machines in the mining industry. In September 2020, we are organizing an event on this issue. On this occasion, we will also present examples of digitization projects, automation solutions of our members and report on activities in the field of functional safety (SIL).

Especially now, when travelling abroad has become almost impossible, the opportunities and advantages of IT and digitalization are becoming apparent. Current projects can be further developed through web meetings and data exchange. Commissioning, service or maintenance work and even repairs can – to a certain extent – be carried out web-based and digitally.

IMG 1794 002Mechanical engineering is one of the most research-intensive industrial sectors in Germany and accounts for approximately 10 per cent of the expenditure on research and development by the economy as a whole. This structure provides power to the mechanical engineering sector and gives companies the tools to set new standards in the context of global competition. Consequently, VDMA Mining runs the secretariats in European and international standardization of mining equipment and technology.

Among other things, uniform standards for data exchange are an important prerequisite for this. Under the roof of the OPC Foundation VDMA Mining supports working groups for the development of OPC UA Companion Specifications for various mining machinery. This is the basis for a broad application of the operations mentioned above.

Beyond that, there is a regular exchange between VDMA members from a wide range of different professional associations, such as Software and Digitization, Electrical Automation, Industrial Security or the Legal Department. This ensures that every relevant aspect, opportunities and risks are considered.

All this means that the VDMA and the members of VDMA Mining stand for innovative technology and processes. Our customers can rely on this innovation network worldwide, including in Asia-Pacific. Together, we will not only master the current challenge of the corona crisis, but also the challenges that our customers will present us with in the future.

Klaus Stöckmann

Deputy Managing Director

VDMA Mining