Tag Archives: VDMA

German mining OEMs to benefit from climate, digitisation focus, Schulte Strathaus says

Those involved in the mining equipment industry in Germany are optimistic about future demand for their products, with only state-of-the-art technology able to provide the raw materials needed for climate protection and digitisation, the VDMA Mining Association reports.

This is despite expectations of a decline in sales of for 2020, the association said.

This industry importance was also emphasised by the Chairman of the VDMA Mining Association, Dr Michael Schulte Strathaus, during the association’s annual press conference at the Zeche Zollverein in Essen, Germany, earlier this month.

Due to the pandemic, predictions for 2021 are hard to make, but Schulte Strathaus said he was sure incoming orders and sales will develop positively in the future.

“We ensure that raw materials can be mined and processed,” he said of the equipment makers within the association. “Mining equipment is becoming increasingly environmentally friendly and is making its contribution to climate targets, for example through alternative drives and lower energy consumption in mines.”

Production and sales developed well in 2018 and 2019 for the mining companies from Germany, the VDMA said. Yet, contrary to expectations, new business and incoming orders fell sharply at the end of 2019.

While the industry was still expecting a subdued development with stagnating sales at best, COVID-19 put additional pressure on these companies.

Over 2020, companies managed to close the interrupted supply chains again and to organise COVID-19-compliant production. They largely switched communication with overseas customers to web-based procedures. By the end of the summer, the industry was sending out very different signals: from virtually unchanged sales plans and expectations, to a drop in sales of 30% or more. Overall, the industry expects a decline in sales of 10-15% in 2020 to €4-4.5 billion ($4.8-5.4 billion).

The EU countries, the US, Russia, and China remain among the largest export markets for German mining manufacturers. Australia demand surprised this year, reaching second place among the individual markets, ahead of China and Russia. With an export share of 96%, manufacturers in Germany are dependent on foreign business.

In the EU, mining production has remained stable over the last 20 years. In the summer, the EU Commission announced it wanted to secure Europe’s supply of critical raw materials. To this end, the procurement of raw materials in the EU is to be strengthened, the VDMA said.

In the US, Schulte Strathaus believes the mining industry is on the brink of upheaval.

“With Joe Biden, the country will commit itself to climate neutrality, and large parts of the announced funds of around $2,000 billion will be channelled into the development of clean energy technologies,” he said. “This creates opportunities for our mining equipment manufacturers in Germany. However, they must make more effort to open up new sales areas or expand existing ones.”

Following a very successful 2019 with exports of around €97 million, deliveries to Australia fell to €68.8 million in the first eight months of 2020. Schulte Strathaus was confident Australia customers would again be more interested in mining technology from Germany from 2021 onwards, as the reluctance to establish new supplier relationships due to the pandemic eases.

Russia is currently a very difficult market due to sanctions, political disagreements, and the weak Rouble, the VDMA said. Travel restrictions and the uncertainty that deliveries from Germany could be stopped at any time make business relations risky for companies in Russia, it added.

In China, coal mining was way ahead of the wider Chinese mining industry. While the country is recovering from COVID-19, the mining sector generated sales of around €309 billion and a profit of around €30 billion in the first eight months of the current year. Manufacturers from Germany were unable to benefit from this, the VDMA said. By August, exports had only reached €67.7 million, a drop of 45%. Schulte Strathaus, nevertheless, sees good chances for positive German equipment sales development, with China banking on digitisation and unmanned operation of mines.

In addition to all the positives that come with adopting new technology, social benefits are increasingly becoming the focus for manufacturers of mining machinery, according to the VDMA.

“With our machines, we guarantee a climate friendly and secure supply of high-tech raw materials because, without them, there can be no energy transition,” Schulte Strathaus said.

IREDES and VDMA Mining team up to offer another interoperability avenue

The International Rock Excavation Data Exchange Standard (IREDES) and VDMA Mining, part of the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), have agreed to work together to address the industry’s growing interoperability needs.

The cooperation agreement will provide a second way to exchange IREDES standardised data across mining operations, according to IREDES.

IREDES is an established way of exchanging equipment-related operational information in mining, for example, allowing drill plans to be sent to rigs, or transferring performance information from LHDs and trucks to production departments.

IREDES said: “IREDES defines the mining- and equipment-related content contained in different profiles. These profiles are exchanged in widely used and fully open XML technology, which makes them compatible with a number of other XML-related standards used in digital transformation.”

VDMA Mining, meanwhile, represents well-known, mainly medium-sized companies in the fields of surface and underground mining, processing technology as well as consulting, research and development. On top of that, the VDMA cooperates with the OPC (Open Platform Communication) Foundation to develop “companion specifications” for its various branches, according to IREDES.

“In mines, supervisory control systems are using OPC/UA (Unified Architecture) to acquire process information. In order to enable a smooth integration of information from mobile underground equipment into the overall process coordination, IREDES has joined up with VDMA to integrate the IREDES content into an OPC/UA companion specification for mining,” IREDES said.

“OPC/UA, thereby, will become a second way of exchanging the IREDES standardised content.”

Through this cooperation, IREDES profiles, beside their availability as XML data sets, will be accessible as OPC/UA profiles for integration into the traditional automation world.

IREDES members include global mining companies as well as major global equipment manufacturers, system integrators and software providers.

VDMA sees revenue jump for German mining OEMs

For the first time since the crisis years, post-2013, there will be an increase in the turnover generated by the German mining equipment manufacturers this year, according to Germany’s Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA).

The VDMA expects turnover to jump around 12% to nearly €3.1 billion ($3.51 billion) in 2018, with further growth expected for the coming year, it said.

The bulk of this growth is expected to come from overseas markets, according to the VDMA.

“For German manufacturers of mining equipment, the domestic market now only plays a minor role in their business plans, with a total turnover expected to decline by 22% to €90 million in 2018,” the VDMA said.

According to Michael Schulte Strathaus, Chairman of VDMA Mining (pictured), the current policies in Germany demonstrate little affinity for the business of raw materials, and therefore mining, and are highly unlikely to provide any impetus for domestic business.

And, some 25% of exports are delivered to EU countries, a figure which has declined from the 31% achieved in 2017, with the biggest customers being Italy, Austria, Poland, France and Belgium.

Schulte Strathaus said the market is primarily marked by major infrastructure projects that will gradually be completed with no adequate replacements in sight. The VDMA, therefore, expects stagnant exports to EU countries in 2019, with a slight increase at best.

On the more positive side, the US’s share of the total export volume will increase from 15% in the past year to 17% this year, according to the VDMA.

Schulte Strathaus cited President Donald Trump’s changes to energy policies as one of the reasons for this development.

“Restrictions have been loosened, an effect which has led to an increased use of hard coal mined in the USA. This has led to considerable demand for machines that can increase productivity, and consequentially, profit; a development which benefits German manufacturers, in particular. The industry is expecting a further moderate increase in exports to the USA in the coming year,” the VDMA said.

And, German mining equipment manufacturers are also enjoying healthy business with China, with the export share to the country expected to increase to 10% this year from 7% last year. Schulte Strathaus said policymakers in China now grasped that establishing high-performance mines can only be realised to a limited extent with only domestic technology.

“German manufacturers provide technologies that are either unavailable in China or only available to a very limited degree, however, China is making considerable efforts to close existing technology gaps,” the VDMA said.

Schulte Strathaus said: “We still have an edge when it comes to extraction technology, especially in underground mining. However, we do not know how long we will be able to maintain our lead, or perhaps expand it.”

The industry expects that its exports to China will increase further over the coming year.