Positive Demand at Home and Abroad
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Despite a falling share of world trade, German suppliers continue to dominate the world market in surface technology. Since the crisis of 2009, the surface technology industry in Germany has made a good recovery. In 2010, production reached a volume of around EUR 1.3 billion (+4 %).
The world trade (after exports) in surface technology amounted to EUR 2.8 billion (+27 %) in 2010. Because of poor growth in German exports, direct deliveries from Germany to other countries fell to 20 % of the total volume of world trade. In contrast, Chinese exports grew significantly. For the first time, China has moved up to second place in the list of countries that export surface technology, with a 17 % share of the world market. However, German suppliers’ expertise in building plants and machinery means that their worldwide importance is much greater, because local suppliers play an essential role in machinery construction projects. German companies are still the leaders when it comes to technology and they are continuing to exploit opportunities on the international market. German suppliers and those from elsewhere in Europe are also finding that new opportunities are opening up because of their extensive expertise in environmentally friendly surface technologies. This expertise is largely a result of the environmental regulations in Europe, which have become increasingly stringent over recent years. As a result, process technologies involving integrated measures, such as the use of low-solvent or solvent-free coatings, application systems with high levels of efficiency, recovery of overspray and other circulation-based processes, together with follow-up systems for recovering energy from solvents released during processes and for recycling solvents from process air, for example, have become widely used on the European market.