Chronicle

VDMA

The World of Engineering

1890

1892

VDMA

29 machinery factories form the Verein deutscher Maschinenbau­ Anstalten, the VDMA, under Dr Hugo Jacobi of Gutehoffnungshütte.

1893

VDMA

Heinrich Lueg (Haniel & Lueg) is elected president of the VDMA at the organisation’s first annual general meeting.

1893

Welt des Maschinenbaus

German companies operating in the machinery manufacturing business send travelling engineers abroad to learn about international sales markets.

1896

Welt des Maschinenbaus

A total of 147,000 people are employed in the mechanical engineering sector (by comparison, the textile industry employs 930,000).

1897

VDMA

The VDMA moves into a new office building in Düsseldorf together with the German Iron and Steel Institute (VDEh).

1897

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The growing number of strikes in Germany’s metalworking industry begins to affect the engineering sector too.

1899

VDMA

At the VDMA’s annual general meeting, its members reject a proposal for the organisation to act as an employers’ federation.

1900

1901

VDMA

The VDMA campaigns against low import duties for foreign machinery.

1902

VDMA

The VDMA criticises the Central Association of German In­dustrialists for not representing interests. It sets out its intention to act independently in matters of trade policy.

1905

VDMA

The directors of the VDMA suggests to its members that they begin recording statistics relating to production.

1905

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Economic downturn: one third of engineering companies do not pay a dividend; another third end the year with losses.

1906

VDMA

A commission is established with the aim of developing general principles for an ‘orderly form of cost calculation’.

1907

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The German engineering sector exports 19 per cent of its production.

1908

VDMA

The members pro­vide enough infor­mation about their production processes for the VDMA to be able to begin compiling meaningful statistics on production.

1908

Welt des Maschinenbaus

German machinery exports overtake US machinery exports for the first time.

1910

1911

VDMA

The AGM discusses the positioning of German machine tools in the global market and models its marketing strategies on US competitors.

1911

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Faced with a shortage of skilled workers, the engineering sector implements guiding principles for the vocational training of industrial workers.

1914

VDMA

Friedrich Fröhlich, a future VDMA executive director, presents statistics showing that engineering is on a par with other major industry groups.

1914

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Engineering companies gear up for the wartime economy. As the manufacturers of armaments, they are heavily involved.

1917

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The proportion of female employees in the industry rises to 22.45 per cent.

1918

VDMA

The number of companies that are members of the VDMA rises to 814 (1914: 246). They benefit from the VDMA’s role as a mediator between industry and government.

1920

1923

VDMA

The VDMA calls on engineering companies outside the occupied Ruhr region not to worsen the situation by increasing the level of competition.

1923

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Because of inflation, engineering companies are forced to insert price escalation clauses in contracts.

1924

VDMA

Alexander Rüstow, later one of the founding fathers of the social market economy, becomes head of the VDMA’s economic policy department.

1925

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The revival of the German economy is only short lived. More than two million people become unemployed as a result of the economic crisis.

1926

VDMA

The Insurance Office for the Engineering Industries (VSMA) is founded.

1927

VDMA

The VDMA publishes the Statistical Engineering Handbook, the first annual reference work of its kind.

1927

Welt des Maschinenbaus

For the first time since the end of the war, machinery exports from Germany surpass those from Britain, which had been losing market share since 1921.

1929

Welt des Maschinenbaus

After being set back by the First World War, the proportion of German exports accounted for by machinery rises to 10.6 per cent, breaking the 10 per cent mark for the first time.

1930

1930

VDMA

The VDMA criticises the Nazis’ economic programme for being harmful to business.

1932

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Against a backdrop of mass unemployment, an extensive propaganda campaign opposing the use of machines is launched.

1933

VDMA

The VDMA calls on the Nazi Party and the German Labour Front to prohibit campaigns opposing the use of machinery.

1933

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The Law Restricting the Use of Machines in the Cigar Industry is passed, one of many such enactments.

1938

VDMA

After Austria is annexed by Germany, all Austrian machinery concerns are assimilated into the VDMA organisation of the time.

1938

VDMA

The Reich economics minister appoints the VDMA’s executive director, Karl Lange, as representative for machinery production.

1939

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The Reich economics minister, Walther Funk, enacts a regulation governing the control and manufacture of machinery and apparatus.

1940

1942

VDMA

Albert Speer, the Reich minister of armaments, creates self-­governing bodies in the munitions industry, including a central committee for machinery.

1944

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Forced labour accounts for almost 35 per cent of people working in machine building.

1945

VDMA

The Berlin magistrate’s department for economic affairs appoints an administrator for the wartime VDMA organisation.

1945

Welt des Maschinenbaus

In industrial concerns, Soviet troops begin to disassemble machinery that remains halfway operational.

1946

VDMA

The Association for Machine Building is founded for the British sector in occupied Berlin. Similar associations are established in the US zone of West Germany.

1949

VDMA

The VDMA is reformed as a powerful federation of trade associations in the House of the German States in Königstein im Taunus.

1949

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The Allies mandate capacity restrictions for various machinery groups.

1950

1951

VDMA

The VDMA establishes its own publishing house as well as a company to represent the engineering industry at trade fairs and exhibitions.

1952

VDMA

The VDMA writes to economics minister, Ludwig Erhard, to raise the issue of iron prices and criticises the fact that free interaction of supply and demand is not working.

1952

Welt des Maschinenbaus

As a supplier to the arms industry, the machine­tool sector is able to double production in real terms within two years and more than triple exports.

1953

Welt des Maschinenbaus

There is a marked slump in the economy, which in the engineering sector leads to a reduction in overtime and a high incidence of short­time working.

1957

VDMA

The VDMA publishes a pamphlet called ‘More technology – more engineers’ and a host of other information material promoting the industry as a career choice for skilled workers.

1957

Welt des Maschinenbaus

West Germany ousts the UK from second place in the ranking of global machinery exporters and now only trails the USA.

1960

1960

VDMA

The executive directorate approves a resolution to build a dedicated office complex in Frankfurt for the VDMA.

1960

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The value of German machinery exports has increased almost tenfold compared with 1950 – from DM 1.3 billion to DM 9.3 billion.

1961

Welt des Maschinenbaus

At 1.024 million, the number of people employed in engineering breaks the million mark for the first time.

1964

VDMA

Building work begins on the VDMA headquarters in the Niederrad district of Frankfurt

1964

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Before restrictive Bundesbank policies take effect, output in the engineering sector is valued at DM 33.92 billion, generating revenue of DM 35.745 billion.

1967

VDMA

The VDMA moves out of Königstein im Taunus and begins to host its executive board meetings once again at its own offices in Frankfurt.

1967

Welt des Maschinenbaus

For the first time since the end of the war, German engineering companies are making more money from international sales than they do domestically.

1969

Welt des Maschinenbaus

A group of around 40 companies join together to form the Plant Engineering Working Committee in order to improve the industrial plant business.

1970

1970

VDMA

The VDMA calls on the government to implement an economic policy that is able to counteract negative influences.

1971

VDMA

For a hearing before US Congress, the VDMA formulates arguments against the 10 per cent duty levied on imports to the USA. The protests are successful.

1972

VDMA

The VDMA sets up a liaison office in Brussels (known as the VDMA European Office from 1999).

1974

Welt des Maschinenbaus

High costs and a decline in capital spending lead to a slump in employment, which the mechanical engineering industry counters by restoring profitability.

1976

VDMA

A statutes commission proposes that the people in charge of the VDMA’s various trade associations and country groups be subordinated to the executive director.

1978

Welt des Maschinenbaus

One in six companies in the mechanical engineering industry have integrated microelectronics into their products.

1979

Welt des Maschinenbaus

To encourage the use of modern technology in mechanical engineering, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs subsidises R&D labour costs of SMEs.

1980

1980

VDMA

The VDMA is renamed after a motion is passed at the AGM. It is now called Verband Deutscher Maschinen-­ und Anlagenbau.

1981

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The number of students enrolling on mechanical engineering courses rises by 27 per cent at traditional universities and by 23 per cent at universities of applied sciences.

1984

VDMA

The VDMA’s first international office opens in Tokyo. Further offices follow later in Beijing, Kolkata, Moscow, Mumbai, Noida, São Paulo, Shanghai and Tehran.

1984

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The German government funds projects in which industry, software houses and research institutions develop machinery and processes for flexible manufacturing.

1985

VDMA

The VDMA presents the Bernhard Weiss award to Friedrich A. Hayek, a past winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics.

1986

VDMA

The VDMA creates a foundation for an annual prize recognising special achievements in the field of mechanical engineering.

1989

Welt des Maschinenbaus

After the fall of the Berlin Wall there is a sense of optimism among companies in East and West Germany as well as a lot of new interest in the VDMA.

1990

1990

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The Federation of German Employers’ Associations in the M+E industries imposes its collective wage agreement on eastern Germany, causing financial problems for the engineering companies there.

1992

VDMA

The VDMA helps privatised firms in East Germany to regain ownership, an important step in smoothing the introduction of a market economy in the east.

1992

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The engineering sector endures a period of recession in which employees are laid off – a mistake that is not repeated in later crises.

1994

VDMA

The VDMA plays a key role in establishing a ‘working time corridor’ as the first step towards introducing flexible working hours.

1995

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The networking of documents via the internet is a major step towards the digitalisation of production processes in mechanical engineering.

1997

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The German engineering sector benefits significantly from the boom in the Asian markets.

1999

VDMA

Cross­disciplinary forums are set up to explore matters such as the automation of factories. The VDMA establishes a software trade association.

1999

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Engineering companies are increasingly integrating information and communication technologies into their products.

2000

2000

VDMA

The VDMA opens an office in Germany’s capital, Berlin.

2000

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Germany’s Renewable Energy Sources Act leads to a surge in orders for engineering companies, the primary suppliers to the wind turbine industry.

2003

VDMA

The VDMA is one of the key founder members of EUnited, the European Engineering Industries Association.

2003

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The internationalisation of Germany’s mechanical engineering sector continues apace. SMEs are increasingly moving production abroad.

2004

VDMA

The VDMA establishes the OE-­A, the Organic and Printed Electronics Association, in order to accommodate the value chain for organic electronics.

2004

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The boom in China ushers in several years of strong growth for the engineering sector. Demand from the BRIC countries is responsible for a sharp increase in the volume of business.

2008

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The global financial crisis and the ensuing recession threaten the very existence of the engineering industry. Order books go from being completely full to practically empty.

2009

VDMA

The VDMA opens up its membership to European engineering companies and internationalises its services.

2009

Welt des Maschinenbaus

The economic crash results in production declining by 25 per cent in real terms. Skilled workers are retained, however.

2010

2010

Welt des Maschinenbaus

App technology helps companies in the machinery business to connect with branches, suppliers and customers.

2012

VDMA

The VDMA drives forward the implementation of cyber­-physical production systems. It presses hard for the introduction of Industry 4.0 technologies.

2013

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Engineering revenues are twice as high as in 2002, with the export rate climbing from 45 per cent to 64 per cent.

2015

VDMA

The VDMA broadens its work by setting up centres of com­petence for future business, the labour market and fundamental issues of economy policy.

2015

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Engineering companies attempt to achieve growth by breaking into new business areas such as electromobility.

2016

VDMA

The VDMA lends its expertise to negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and champions the cause of free trade.

2016

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Despite enduring five successive years without any significant growth, the German engineering industry employs 1 million people and at least generates revenue of approximately €220 billion.

2017

VDMA

The VDMA celebrates its 125th anniversary. It provides a voice to around 3,200 companies and offers a diverse network.

2017

Welt des Maschinenbaus

Industry 4.0 is on everybody’s lips. The digitalisation of production processes is the no. 1 topic in the capital goods industry.