Mechanical engineering (industry)

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The engineering is an industry that deals with the manufacture of machines busy.


The beginning of German mechanical engineering goes back to Johann von Zimmermann . He is considered to be the founder of machine tool construction in Germany. His factory, built in Chemnitz in 1848 , was the first in Germany and on the continent to build machine tools.

Today mechanical engineering is one of the leading branches of industry in Germany , which is very much geared towards export .

With more than 900,000 employees in Germany and around 300,000 employees abroad, sales of around € 130 billion (of which 60% are exported) are generated. With around 6,600 companies, 95% of which have fewer than 500 employees, it is characterized by medium-sized entrepreneurship. The per capita turnover in mechanical engineering is around 148,000 euros.

According to the Federal Statistical Office , the following growth took place between 2003 (index 100) and 2006: orders (index 117), employment (index 112). The mechanical engineering sector was also affected by the economic crisis between autumn 2008 and spring 2010, but was able to recover in the second half of 2010. The mechanical engineering sector is currently benefiting from orders from abroad, particularly from China, and orders from the renewable energies sector .

The Association of German Engineers (VDI) is the largest association of engineers and natural scientists in Germany.

Around 3,000 companies in the capital goods industry are organized in the VDMA industrial association.

The automobile manufacturers and suppliers are represented by the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).


Up to the turn of the millennium, mechanical engineering was the sector in Switzerland that generated the largest export volume. Today, with a share of 14.9%, it ranks second behind the leading chemical and pharmaceutical industry and ahead of the watch industry . Structurally, it is made up of numerous small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); there are also some larger and larger corporations.


Mechanical engineering in Europe has been greatly facilitated by the formation of the EU . Until now, every machine had to comply with the relevant national standards of the country of the operator. The implementation of the Machinery Directive 2006/42 / EC , which has been binding for the EU countries since December 29, 2009, means that the same machine can be exported to all EU member states. According to this guideline , a machine is an assembly of interconnected parts, at least one of which is movable and is not directly driven by human or animal power. Machines designed for lifting and lowering, e.g. B. a pulley system are an exception. Every device that meets the criteria of the directive must be marked with the CE mark . Thus z. For example, a classic mousetrap is also a machine, since the energy that the human being has used to pull it up is not released immediately, but is stored by a spring.

Individual evidence

  1. Archived copy ( memento of the original from March 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. Mechanical engineering is buzzing
  3. Mechanical engineering company optimistic - Article from
  4. Renews Special, Business Location Germany  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  5. Swiss Issues Sectors: Foreign trade Switzerland - facts and trends  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. from Credit Suisse@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  6. Definition of the machine: see Article 2 (PDF; 1.4 MB)