Six percent of all companies with ten or more employees use robots
Photo: W. Scheible / dpa / Max Planck Institute
The Hanover Fair is usually the largest industrial show in the world.
This time it is purely digital because of the continuously tense corona situation.
More than 1,800 exhibitors are there, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) said at the opening that further economic development depends crucially on the extent to which the spread of the virus can be brought under control quickly.
The industry itself is apparently assuming a foreseeable end to the corona restrictions.
While the federal government is considering compulsory testing for companies, the German core sectors of mechanical engineering and electrical engineering in particular see relatively good opportunities for new economic strength this year.
Economy: Government must provide rapid tests
BDI President Siegfried Russwurm said that “a strong plus of eight percent compared to the previous year” is realistic for production.
However, this possible growth after the Corona slump in 2020 now relates to a lower starting level.
The Central Association of the Electrical and Electronics Industry (ZVEI) is forecasting a five percent increase in production.
Despite all the joy about the recovery in demand, some companies are worried about problems in the supply chain: There are bottlenecks in the procurement of inputs, said ZVEI President Gunther Kegel.
There are delivery problems for microchips, plastics, steel and copper, among other things.
"Scarce transport capacities lead to significantly higher costs with longer delivery times at the same time."
Many companies received significantly more orders again, said Russwurm.
The extended lockdown has consequences in a number of areas.
According to the updated BDI forecast, economic output is likely to increase by three percent in 2021 - half a percentage point less than initially assumed.
In addition, the prerequisite: a »extensive reduction in pandemic-related restrictions by early autumn« and no further requirements for the manufacturing industry.
"It is crucial that Germany becomes more flexible and accelerates the vaccination with the help of family and company doctors."
Industry and Merkel both rely on vaccinations and tests to contain the corona infections.
"We have to say that this third wave is perhaps the toughest for us," said the head of government.
The economy vehemently rejects compulsory testing.
According to a letter from the central associations of German business to the Federal Chancellery, a state requirement carries the risk that it will make it more difficult for companies to volunteer.
Instead, the government should provide self-tests for little money.
Altmaier criticizes slow digitization
According to Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier, the crisis is also an opportunity to introduce new technologies even more now.
"There was great damage," said the CDU politician.
"We can only compensate for this if we don't just return to business-as-usual, but use this pandemic for a great wave of innovations and lessons that we can draw from it."
In fact, robots and 3D printers are playing an increasingly important role, especially in industry.
As the Federal Statistical Office announced in the morning, the use of robots as well as 3D printers has increased in recent years.
According to this, in 2020 six percent of all companies with ten or more employees will be using robots.
Industrial robots were more common (four percent) than service robots (two percent).
3D printers were used in seven percent of the companies.
Compared to 2018, this results in an increase of one percentage point for robots and two percentage points for 3D printers.
According to the digital association Bitkom, manufacturing with 3D printers could be an effective way of dealing with disruptions in global supply chains.
Altmaier nevertheless considers it “a bigger problem” that the digitization of the administration in Germany will probably only be at the level of Estonia in a few years.
In the digital economy, Europe has so far "not been represented as strongly as we would like".
apr / dpa / AFP