Mechanical and plant engineering is one of the most important industries in the German economy. More than 6,000 companies employ around 964,000 workers – more than in any other industrial sector. In terms of revenue, mechanical and plant engineering is the second largest industrial sector in Germany. In 2012, the industry generated revenues of more than €209 billion.
In 2012, the German mechanical and plant engineering sectors achieved volumes of more than €149 billion. This meant that German mechanical and plant engineering accounted for 16.7 of machinery traded worldwide, making it the world’s leader in the field, followed by Japan (11.9 percent), the US (11.5 percent) and China (10.3 percent).
Developing future technologies
The mechanical and plant engineering sector is the largest employer for engineers, employing 167,500 engineers in 2010. In addition, mechanical and plant engineering is one of the most innovative industries in Germany, setting standards in developing and applying future technologies. According to estimates by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW), the sector invested €12.67 billion in innovation in 2010, and 66 percent of mechanical engineering companies introduced innovations to the market. Correspondingly, automotive and mechanical engineering accounted for most of the applications filed at the European Patent Office in 2013. The industry’s innovative strength is also evident when looking at its research and development activities. In 2012, the industry spent more than €5 billion in this area. And the mechanical and plant engineering section is especially active in the field of digitization and networking too. The increasing integration of software and embedded systems in machines and plant is already providing all sorts of possibilities for digital networking and is making a huge contribution to productivity growth.