Image source: VDMA NRW / eventfotograf.in
“Climate change, digitalization of production, new mobility – mechanical and plant engineering can provide the technological answers to the challenges of the day. But for them to become reality, companies need good framework conditions in all economically relevant policy areas. The interaction between politics and business will determine whether the transformation succeeds!” warned Hans-Jürgen Alt, Managing Director of VDMA NRW and Manager of the competence network ProduktionNRW. In response, Silke Krebs, State Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy, explained that politics was initiating necessary streamlining processes and accelerating planning in order to speed up the transformation. She also emphasized the importance of North Rhine-Westphalia’s mechanical and plant engineering sector, which is bringing speed to the turnaround. As we move forward, she said, close exchange and discussion – even when opinions differ – are important.
“The industrial transformation ahead of us, with upcoming challenges such as climate change, resource efficiency or digitalization, is being mastered and shaped in a leading role by companies in the mechanical engineering sector,” Dr. Timo Berger pointed out. Berger, Chief Sales Officer of the Weidmüller Group, was elected Chairman of the VDMA NRW Board at the General Meeting on November 15, 2022. Against the backdrop of globalization and geopolitical events, he believes that competitive and innovation-friendly framework conditions are essential to fully exploit the industry’s potential. “I am looking forward to driving the transformation process forward together with the companies of North Rhine-Westphalia’s mechanical and plant engineering sector,” Berger emphasized in his speech.
Thilo Brodtmann, Chief Executive Officer of the VDMA, also sees the mechanical and plant engineering sector facing several challenges, such as the digital and ecological transformation as well as the upheavals in the global economy and demographic change. The mechanical engineering industry is not only an enabler for many customers, but must also transform itself in order to recognize and exploit all opportunities. He recommended the VDMA as an important platform for mutual exchange in order to better shape the transformation.
Christian Böllhoff, CEO of Prognos AG, advised entrepreneurs not to aim for the perfect solution, but to remain pragmatic: “We cannot look into the future, but you have to deal with possible risks and develop scenarios in order to be prepared.” In addition to the transformation tasks, he sees the shortage of skilled workers as a critical problem facing the German economy, which will strongly influence future developments and significantly limit growth.
Three sessions on “Future Business – Future Service,” “Circular Economy” and “Decoupling USA – China” provided valuable impetus through presentations, application examples and interactive sessions. In an accompanying exhibition, companies, network partners and institutions provided information about their exciting projects and practical examples.