VDMA: Air Handling Technology expects another year of growth in 2018


Very good order situation. The industry expects sales growth of 5 percent for 2018.

Frankfurt, 12.03.2018: Due to the very high demand - especially from abroad - the air-handling technology industry expects a 5 percent increase in sales for 2018. New products and package solutions provide positive impulses.

As early as 2017, the sector's sales growth was 5 percent. For 2017, air-handling technology, the fourth-largest mechanical engineering sub-sector, is expected to report a production volume of 14.8 billion euros.

incoming orders
Order intake in 2017 was 7 percent higher than in 2016, driven by orders from abroad (plus 13 percent). Domestic orders were up by 1 percent.

Against this backdrop, the companies at the board meeting of the VDMA Air-Handling Technology Association were basically positive about the development of the industry and the outlook for 2018.

However, this positive development was offset by rising material and personnel costs. The cost of materials is on the move. We are currently seeing an extreme increase in steel,"explained Andreas von Thun, BerlinerLuft. Technik GmbH, in context of the board meeting.

Due to the high demand, supply bottlenecks occur in some cases. Another challenge is the associated logistical requirements and the supply situation. The industry complains of skills shortage, although there are regional differences in this respect.

foreign trade
Exports in the industry grew by 2 percent in 2017. In total, the air handling technology industry expects an export volume of around 10.6 billion euros for 2017.

In 2017, the USA (plus 10 percent) followed by China (plus 3 percent) was the largest customer country, followed by France, the Czech Republic, Poland and the United Kingdom. For the United Kingdom, there is currently still slight growth of 2 percent. In the future, cuts are likely.

After years of decline, German exports to Russia climbed by 19 percent for the first time in 2017. Exports to the EU, the most important customer region for German companies, fell by 2 percent in the same period and thus currently account for around 57 percent of the total export volume of air handling technology.

Deliveries to German neighbouring countries such as France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria were increased in 2017. In the same period, exports to Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy and Hungary declined. There were cuts in exports to Turkey, with a decline of 8 per cent.

By contrast, imports into Germany fell slightly in 2017 by 1 percent to 7.4 billion euros. 

In addition to the export figures, additional evidence of the great importance of international target markets for German companies are their production sites abroad. In a recent survey conducted by VDMA Air-Handling Technology Association, 37 percent of the companies surveyed stated that they operate foreign production sites, with pure manufacturing facilities and final assembly representing the majority.

This applies in particular to our company," says Dr. Hugo Blaum, Regional Head Asia Pacific, GEA Group and Chairman of the Executive Board of the trade association. Production sites in the target market regions are becoming increasingly important for successful corporate development. We therefore need more comprehensive market data that goes beyond foreign trade data and increasingly also takes the local production of German manufacturers in international target markets into account," Blaum continues.

The order books for 2018 are already well filled. Only a few companies complain about a declining order situation. The good economic situation extends to all branches of air handling technology.

The topic of energy efficiency continues to offer companies good sales opportunities. In some cases, these are only slowed down by unclear political conditions and external risks that go beyond them. Rising raw material, material and personnel costs are expected.

The future development of air handling technology will be shaped by digitalisation, and in particular by BIM (Building Information Modeling) in the construction industry. As a manufacturer of building technology, we will have to be able to provide digital product data in the desired transfer formats for the development of digital building models," explains Andreas von Thun, BerlinerLuft. Technik GmbH and Supervisory Board of planen-bauen 4.0 GmbH. "In addition to geometric data, this also includes performance data. This is because building services engineering has the opportunity to enter into a joint, parallel coordination process with architecture at a very early stage in the planning phase - if possible with the help of function simulations in digital models. This is the only way to optimize buildings for their operating phase, which represents 80 percent of the total life cycle costs," adds Dr. Thomas Schräder, Managing Director of Air-Handling Technology Association. "Schräder continues to call for the industry to become even more involved in standardization for digital product data exchange. In addition, in the course of digitization, it is important to prevent the creation of monopolies, for example in the form of certification hurdles when digital product data is made available for central product databases.


Air handling technology comprises the sub-sectors of air conditioning and ventilation technology (with process air technology and building ventilation technology), refrigeration and heat pump technology, air pollution control, surface technology and drying technology.


Contact person:
Dr. Thomas Schräder, Managing Director
VDMA Air-Handling Technology, Tel. 069 6603-1227
E-mail: thomas.schraeder@vdma.org

Guntram Preuß, market information
VDMA Air-Handling Technology, Tel. 069 6603-1289
E-mail: guntram.preuss@vdma.org

Production sites in the target market regions are becoming increasingly important for successful corporate development.