The Hanover Fair is usually the largest industrial show in the world. This time it is purely digital because of the continuously tense corona situation. More than 1800 exhibitors are there, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) said at the opening that further economic development depends crucially on the extent to which the spread of the virus can be brought under control quickly.
The industry itself is apparently assuming a foreseeable end to the corona restrictions. While in the federal government a Compulsory testing for companies is being considered, namely the German core sectors of mechanical engineering and electrical engineering see relatively good opportunities for new economic strength this year.
Economy: Government must provide rapid tests
BDI President Siegfried Russwurm said it would be realistic for production to "see a strong plus of eight percent over the previous year." However, this possible growth after the Corona slump in 2020 now relates to a lower starting level. The Central Association of the Electrical and Electronics Industry (ZVEI) is forecasting a five percent increase in production.
With all the joy of the recovery in demand, some companies are concerned problems in the supply chain: There are bottlenecks in the procurement of advance services, said ZVEI President Gunther Kegel. There are delivery problems for microchips, plastics, steel and copper, among other things. "Scarce transport capacities lead to significantly higher costs with longer delivery times at the same time."
Many companies received significantly more orders again, said Russwurm. The extended lockdown has consequences in a number of areas. According to the updated BDI forecast, economic output is likely to increase by three percent in 2021 - half a percentage point less than initially assumed. In addition, the prerequisite: »extensive reduction of pandemic-related restrictions by early autumn« and no further requirements for the manufacturing industry. “What matters is that Germany when vaccinating with the help of family and company doctors becomes more flexible and accelerates. "
Industry and Merkel rely on vaccinations and tests to contain the corona infections. "We have to say that this third wave is perhaps the toughest for us," said the head of government. However, the economy vehemently rejects compulsory testing. According to a letter from the central associations of German business to the Federal Chancellery, a state requirement carries the risk that it will make it more difficult for companies to volunteer. Instead, the government should provide self-tests for little money.
Altmaier criticizes slow digitization
Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier According to the crisis, it is also an opportunity to introduce new technologies even more now. "There was great damage," said the CDU politician. "We can only compensate for this if we don't just return to business as usual, but use this pandemic to generate a great wave of innovations and lessons that we can draw from it."
In fact, robots and 3D printers are playing an increasingly important role, especially in industry. As the Federal Statistical Office announced in the morning, the use of robots as well as 3D printers has increased in recent years. According to this, in 2020 six percent of all companies with ten or more employees will be using robots. Industrial robots were more common (four percent) than service robots (two percent). 3D printers were used in seven percent of the companies. Compared to 2018, this means an increase of one percentage point for robots and two percentage points for 3D printers. According to the digital association Bitkom, manufacturing with 3D printers could be an effective way of dealing with disruptions in global supply chains.
Altmaier nevertheless considers it “a bigger problem” that the digitization of the administration in Germany will probably only be at the level of Estonia in a few years. In the digital economy Europe so far, overall "not as strongly represented as we would like".