Despite challenges, the industry is in a confident mood. Accordingly, the sales forecast for 2021/2020 has been increased from the most recent plus 8 percent to plus 15 percent.
After a difficult year in 2020, with a decline in sales of minus 14 percent in hydraulics and minus 7 percent in pneumatics, already in the first half of 2021 not only the declines of 2020 were leveled, but even the level of 2019 was exceeded. With an increase in sales of plus 19 percent, hydraulics developed only slightly worse than pneumatics with plus 23 percent. The industry continues to expect a dynamic upward trend in the medium to long term. Hydraulics, for example, can currently boast an order intake of plus 72 percent, while pneumatics has recorded a plus of 32 percent.
Delivery bottlenecks are dampening the mood for the upward flight
However, the good level of incoming orders cannot be converted into turnover without further ado: just under 50 percent of the companies report a capacity utilisation of 100 percent or more in relation to the usual full capacity utilisation. The mood is also being dampened by disruptions in global supply chains and massive supply bottlenecks, especially for metals, plastics, semiconductors, chips and microelectronics, as well as increased cost pressure. In addition, there is a shortage of skilled workers.
Forecast raised to plus 15 percent in 2021
The industry is confident that it will be able to master the challenges. Accordingly, on July 13, 2021, the 2021/2020 revenue forecast was raised to plus 15 percent from plus 8 percent last time. Depending on how the supply bottleneck situation develops, the increase in sales could also be significantly higher.
In order to continue to be technologically and economically successful in the future, the industry has launched joint activities on the topics of digitalization, sustainability and education. "Fluid power is robust, durable and energy-efficient. With the increasing digital interoperability of our products and accompanying measures in the training of engineers, we will continue to be successful as an intelligent and sustainable technology," says Hartmut Rauen, Managing Director of the Fluid Power Association within the VDMA.
"Our technological performance and adaptability in Germany and Europe is high. But we need to further strengthen the European economic area, based on sensible guard rails in market-based, multilateral and technology-open approaches. In this way, we can better succeed in meeting global challenges such as digitalization and climate change, and in achieving overarching goals in the long term. Our member companies are behind this!" adds Christian Kienzle, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ARGO-HYTOS and Chairman of the Board of the Fluid Power Association within the VDMA.