It’s not that bad

VDMA

European manufacturers of heavy clay technology remain optimistic during Covid-19 crisis. Service and spare parts business keep the production running.

In the ECTS members group web conference this week, representatives from 19 machine manufacturers from Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, and Germany largely agreed that their production facilities are back to work after several weeks of shutdown thanks to service and spare parts business. Order intake is declining after a reasonable first quarter, due to the fact that new projects are postponed to 2021 – mostly not cancelled – but a re-organisation with mobile working and shift production to meet the anti-virus measures makes it possible to continue to some extent. Spanish and Italian ECTS members are not satisfied with their governments’ support, whereas German and Dutch companies report more positively on that.

Exchanging experiences was the main target since the traditional spring meeting had to be cancelled. As manufacturers of machinery or spare parts, the crises does not affect them as bad as plant engineering companies whose focus is on gaining new projects. Their order intake is almost zero at the moment. European customers’ limited liquidity might be a severe consequence in the near future, on the other hand new business models like joint services could come up as long as workers deployment across borders is not possible.

One highlight was the insight into the US brick industry. Ed Watson, Vice President Production of ACME Brick Company in Fort Worth/Texas reported on the impact of the Covid-19 virus on his company and its 15 brick plants in the South West and South East of the States. Luckily, construction is considered an essential business, so the production and also the demand for bricks never stopped during the entire pandemic. Investments in new plants are postponed until next year, there is an option for two projects in the first quarter of 2021.