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International News From the Field: Europe

In this week’s edition, we focus on France, with a few other general EU considerations. As the third largest economy in Europe, and the seventh in the world, France is not all about food. Their manufacturing PMI is hovering around 59 and relies heavily...
Jun 11, 2021

In this week’s edition, we focus on France, with a few other general EU considerations. As the third largest economy in Europe, and the seventh in the world, France is not all about food. Their manufacturing PMI is hovering around 59 and relies heavily on imported machinery. Aerospace, medical, railway, and automotive are all worth keeping an eye on. The EU “right to repair” laws will certainly have implications for manufacturers throughout Europe, and Russia’s manufacturing technology show kicks off the continent’s return to in-person shows. For more industry intel and tidbits, read on.

  • The third largest economy in Europe, France has a nominal GDP of about $2.6 trillion. The YOY Q1 GDP grew by 1.2% and continues to improve. Industrial production in March reached an all-time high of nearly 14%. Manufacturing PMI is at a healthy 59.4.

  • In a country known for agriculture, food production is the No. 1 contributor to the economy. However, over 11% of France’s GDP is created by manufacturing. “Industrie mechanique,” the mechanical sector, ranks sixth in the world at $165 billion. The manufacturing sector relies heavily on imports.

  • The best opportunities for American manufacturing technology are in aircraft and engine production in both defense and civil sectors, medical devices, and sectors with specific links to renewable energy. Industrial applications of additive manufacturing in aerospace, automotive, medical, and railway are particularly promising.

  • France’s TotalEnergies and America’s Engie Energy will team up to build and operate France’s largest hydrogen production site – Masshylia. Powered by solar farms, it will produce 5 tons of green hydrogen per day to meet the needs of biofuel production in the whole Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur South region. It should eliminate 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

  • The European Union is expanding and reinforcing the “right to repair” laws. Beginning this year, larger consumer electrical goods need to be repairable for 10 years (read: spare parts). This is already a law for smaller household appliances but will now include the larger white goods. Some EU countries are introducing a product repairability score to help consumers make purchasing decisions.

  • The circular economy trend is very prevalent in Europe, even with machine tools. More used and legacy machine tools are being retained and automated, increasing the demand for automation solutions. Manufacturing on demand to produce easily worn or out of stock parts should see tremendous growth as well as distributed service for on-site repairs.

  • The on-demand model is enabled by the digitalization of product files, making them available when and where they are needed. Furthermore, blockchain technology allows access only to the parts drawings directly needed, resolving the potential problems of Intellectual Property rights in the process.

  • The Russian manufacturing technology show, Metalloobrabotka, took place in Moscow the final week of May. This was noteworthy for being the first major in-person manufacturing show on the continent post-pandemic. About 790 companies exhibited, attracting over 33,000 visitors. Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Czechia participated with national pavilions or collective exhibitions. Some AMT member companies exhibited as well.

  • The next major manufacturing shows to be held in Europe will be Poland’s ITM Poznan (Aug. 31 to Sept. 3), France’s Industrie Lyon (Sept. 6 to 9), and the important all-European EMO Milano (Oct. 4 to 9).

For more information, please contact Hubert Sawicki at hsawicki@AMTonline.org.

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Hubert Sawicki
Head of AMT European Office
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