The VDMA is the source of ideas for bauma and also the central industry association for mechanical engineering. Messe.TV talks to Helmut Schgeiner, Technical Director of VDMA Mining, about the VDMA's tasks in general and the current situation and trends in the mining sector.
Messe TV: I'm going to talk to Helmut Schgeiner from VDMA MINING and let him explain what the VDMA does. Helmut Schgeiner: The VDMA is the central industry association for mechanical engineering, for suppliers and manufacturers of special machinery. It covers the entire mechanical engineering sector. We are the MINING trade association here and support all the suppliers, especially in the mining sector. Mining supplier industry. Messe TV: In Germany and abroad? Helmut Schgeiner: Well, essentially the manufacturers that are based here in Germany. We come from a tradition of German mechanical engineering. Although the VDMA is also opening up across Europe - i.e. European suppliers could also become members recently or for the last two years - it is essentially the German suppliers who export worldwide. Messe TV: And what is the current situation - do you see any positive trends or is it rather difficult? A lot of mining is being discontinued in Germany at the moment? Helmut Schgeiner: Well, it is regrettable that coal mining in Germany is on the decline, but of course this is less a matter that concerns our members than the global slump in the raw materials sector that has been going on for several years. As a result, the situation in the industry is not looking so rosy at the moment. However, this does not only affect our suppliers from Germany, but the entire industry worldwide at the moment.
Messe TV: Where is the slump coming from? Helmut Schgeiner: Well, falling raw material prices mean that operators are less inclined to invest in their extraction sites. For example, everyone is happy about low crude oil prices at the moment - petrol prices! - Yes, for the consumer this is very apart, but for many other sectors of the economy this can take on tragic proportions. And similar to the oil sector, we have the same situation with many raw materials - that prices are currently low worldwide. The operators, the large global mining groups, are undercutting each other in a cut-throat competition and are currently simply taking advantage of this in order to perhaps achieve a certain degree of streamlining among the operators. Yes, that means that very little is being invested at the moment. Messe TV: How are you dealing with this situation at the moment? Helmut Schgeiner: Well, how we are dealing with it... we can only pass on how the companies ultimately react. If little investment or few sales of new machines are possible, you try to stay in business to some extent through maintenance and service - by offering new concepts. Machine operation is becoming more and more of an issue. Also in terms of Industry 4.0 online availability. These are various topics where you pick up on new trends in order to be ready with new topics when the industry picks up again. Messe TV: Will the industry pick up again? Helmut Schgeiner: (Silence) Well... that's what we hope from day to day. Nobody can imagine that the slump can last much longer, because there is a global demand for raw materials and the relationship between the economic situation in this sector and the demand for raw materials is actually out of proportion at the moment. It is actually impossible to explain properly in analytical terms. In this respect, it can actually - and we hope so - pick up again as soon as possible. But who wants to put their money where their mouth is? The crystal ball is still somewhat impenetrable. Messe TV: You need strong nerves, so to speak. Helmut Schgeiner: Yes, good, but a bit of serenity also helps. Messe TV: What does the VDMA hope to gain from Bauma? Helmut Schgeiner: For us, Bauma is a central market showcase for the entire industry. At the same time, it is also a very central showcase for us, as we are the only business partner to co-organize Bauma together with Messe München. So the Bauma Forum next door, for example, as the central event venue, is essentially designed for us with all the event sections. Ultimately, we are the source of ideas for the content of Bauma. The trade fair company is then the implementer as far as the trade fair business is concerned, so in this respect - I think - a very beneficial cooperation for both sides. And I think that Messe München has been working together with the largest industry association here in Germany and also in Europe for mechanical engineering for many decades - it's a long-lasting model for success. Messe TV: Then I have one last question, if you are one of the idea providers - what is the trend at this year's Bauma? Surely you can tell me that? Helmut Schgeiner: The trend at this year's Bauma? Well, it's moving towards the use of data. Industry 4.0 in many different implementations is a central theme, which ultimately leads to an ever-expanding management of services. Yes, I mean the mechanical components are still in demand, but just like in car manufacturing - as you can see with cars - more and more applications and assistants are determining the business, and the same applies to mining. Well, we're talking about mining here, Bauma itself is largely construction machinery and building material machines and mining has less of a share. Messe TV: But you could say apps for mining, apps at Bauma. Helmut Schgeiner: Definitely a central topic. Messe TV: Thank you very much, and have a successful trade fair. Helmut Schgeiner: Thank you.