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International News From the Field: Europe

EMO 2023 set the pace and tone to address Europe’s current challenges through a great display of innovation, with a clear focus on automation, digitalization, connectivity, and sustainability. For more industry intel and other tidbits, read on.
Sep 27, 2023

The machine tool sector had high expectations for EMO 2023, considering the four-year gap since its previous edition in Hannover in 2019 (notwithstanding EMO Milan in 2021) as well as the challenging, tense economic environment experienced after the pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the inflationary pressures worldwide.

The event attracted 1,850 exhibitors, with approximately 70% representing 45 different countries, including China, Italy, Taiwan, Switzerland, and Japan. Of the roughly 92,000 trade visitors, 54% came from 130 countries, with Turkey, China, the Netherlands, Italy, and Poland being the top five visitor countries. Notably, about one-third of the trade visitors originated from Asia.

A significant aspect of the event was that more than half of the attendees were first-time visitors, aligning well with the exhibitors' objective of attracting new business. Additionally, approximately one-fifth of the exhibitors participated in the event for the first time.

In addition to AMT, 23 other international associations, representing over 80% of global production in the sector, emphasized the importance of international cooperation in a period marked by political and economic uncertainty.

According to CECIMO, the European Association of Manufacturing Technologies, global machine tool consumption decreased from $87.3 billion in 2021 to $79.5 billion in 2022. In contrast, 2022 marked a consumption increase of 24.4% in CECIMO countries, totaling $19.81 billion. This represents 25% of total global consumption, and a 4.3% growth is projected for 2023.

The United States remains an important source of machine tools for CECIMO countries, with imports totaling $547.77 million in 2022, a 22.6% growth in the YOY comparison, and 44% growth in comparison to 2020. This positive trend brings CECIMO imports from the United States close to pre-pandemic levels, when U.S. imports reached $589.92 million, an all-time record.

A few recently announced projects and investment news items are listed below:

  • In the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, a multicompany hydrogen project is set to open a 200 MW electrolysis plant that will produce 24.9 kilotons of hydrogen yearly. Details include scaling up the 20 MW electrolysis module built by Thyssenkrupp Uhde Chlorine Engineers, then building a 25-mile pipeline from the new plant to Shell's Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam for efficient hydrogen distribution. This project will use electricity from the nearby Dutch Kust Noord offshore wind farm that Eneco operates.

  • ABB and Northvolt are building a $9 billion battery recycling gigafactory in Skelleftea, Sweden. By 2030, it aims to process 125,000 tons of batteries and produce 150 GWh of energy storage. The factory will dramatically reduce the battery carbon footprint from 200 pounds of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour to just 22 pounds per kilowatt-hour. The facility will employ 3,000 workers and 300 robots in a 5.3-million-square-foot area, blending human expertise with automation for efficiency and innovation. This partnership promises to revolutionize the battery industry and drive sustainability.

  • Stellantis has opened its $42.49 million Battery Technology Center in Turin, Italy. It's one of Europe's largest, spanning 86,000 square feet with 32 test cells. This facility will develop high-quality, cost-effective battery electric vehicles. This being the first of many, the company is set to open six more gigafactories together with Samsung SDI as part of the Dare Forward 2030 plan. They target production in the new factories to be 34 GWh by 2027. The first factory of this venture will open in Indiana in the United States in 2025 with an initial production of 23 GWh. Stellantis is set to become a carbon net-zero corporation by producing 400 GWh in its gigafactories by 2038.

  • H2 Green Steel has raised $1.91 billion to build the largest green steel plant in Boden, Sweden. It will deliver steel that produces 95% less carbon dioxide in its furnaces during production. By 2030, they expect this factory to produce 5 million tons of steel annually. Additionally, this new facility will generate 10,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

  • Italian aerospace company Leonardo SpA is set to modernize its factories by digitalizing and automatizing the production of aerostructure components in a project named Nemesis. Last year, the Minister of Economic Development granted $173 million to modernize two factories in Pomigliano d’Arco and Nola that employ over 3,000 workers. Now, the EU has given another $55.55 million to improve the facilities in Campania and automatize the aircraft fuselage assembly. Local businesses and the University of Naples will partner to conduct this last effort.

  • MAN Energy Solutions Deggendorf and Koppo Energia are working together to construct a Power-to-X facility in Kristinestad, Finland. The plant will produce green hydrogen through electrolysis and synthetic natural gas (SNG) through methanation reactors using 200 MW of wind power. The methanation reactors are front-end engineering design (FEED) technology provided by MAN and are expected to produce 55,000 tons of SNG annually when the plant is in use by 2024. Koppo, which expects to increase its capability to provide 500 MW of wind and 100 MW of solar power in the future, would provide the energy to increase the plant's productivity.

  • In Hamburg, Airbus inaugurated its first automated A321XLR (the next series of A320 aircraft), equipping the hangar with cutting-edge technologies as part of their effort toward modernizing and digitalizing of their factories. This facility, located in Hamburg, will take up 100,000 square feet and focuses on installing and mounting the aircraft's rear fuselage components. The hangar would incorporate the latest technology: automatized logistics, a digital system, and an 80-foot fuselage section with electrical, mechanical, and more systems in an automated pulse line with eight stations. The new plant will be powered by a 32,000-square-foot photovoltaic system placed on the roof, and its insulation will make it more energy efficient. By boasting the latest technology and burning 30% less fuel than its predecessor, Airbus has already attracted 570 orders from 27 customers for the A321XLR. The factory will start its production by the second quarter of 2024.

  • Intel is investing $4.89 billion in building a new microchip factory in Wroclaw, Poland. The new factory will start production in 2027, generating 2,000 jobs on-site and more indirectly. It will closely work with the state-of-the-art site in Magdeburg, Germany (mentioned in June). While the Magdeburg facility will produce wafers, it will cut them into individual microchips in Wroclaw. This is part of a broader Intel investment of $35 billion in Europe, further strengthening the EU semiconductor industry.

For more information, please contact Conchi Aranguren at caranguren@AMTonline.org.

Conchi Aranguren
AMT's Representative for Europe
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