Cutting tool and machine tool technologies tend to leapfrog each other, with one gaining a technological lead before the other catches up and moves ahead. In the field of grinding, the consumable has taken precedence with the launch in May 2013 of Saint-Gobain Abrasives' new bond, Norton Vitrium3.
Even though key economic data are showing a decline at present, the Association of German Machine Tool Manufacturers (VDW) is reporting "normalisation at a high level". A high order backlog is actually leading to another increase in production in the current year.
The abrasives industry is surprisingly strong at the moment with consumption having increased in value by 46.5% since Intelligence Market produced their last report in 2009. Abrasives Market Report 2012: Coated, Bonded, Superabrasives and Grains (Fused Aluminium Oxide, Silicon Carbide, Cubic Boron Nitride, Diamond, Emery, Garnet, Pumice, Metallic Abrasive Grains) was published in July 2012. Despite a turbulent global economy the abrasives industry has benefitted from demand in the following growth industries: construction and renovation, aerospace, automotive, medical and electronics industries.
According to the VDW, the mega-trends from previous years - energy and resource efficiency, higher productivity, life cycle performance, quality assurance and user-friendliness - are still on the agenda. The Blue Competence Initiative of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) is also going very well. Dr. Schäfer: "28 trade associations have now joined and 241 companies have signed the agreement as an alliance member." CECIMO, the European machine tool association, also assumed overall responsibility for the machine tool industry in Europe at the start of the year.