Spanish Machine Tool Sector Reports Final Closing Figures, Confirms Good Performance of 2021

San Sebastian, Spain – The Spanish manufacturing and machine-tool sector ended 2021 with a turnover of €1,571.20 million, an 18.66 percent increase over 2020, recouping a significant portion of what was lost due to the pandemic. As for metal cutting machines, the increase reached 21.91 percent, totaling €682 million, in a year when its milling sub-segment manufacturers were global leaders. Metal forming machines fell 4.86 percent, bringing the total to €296 million, though incoming orders indicate that prospects are improving. All other sub sectors performed admirably, with significant increases of 27.24 percent in components, 20.66 percent in tools, 35.11 percent in other machines, and 49.41 percent in services.

The recovery in exports was even more noticeable in 2021, with €1,241.47 million invoiced to foreign buyers, a 23.41 percent increase over 2020. Metal cutting increased by 33.08 percent to €637.43 million, while metal forming decreased by 17.65 percent to €194.10 million. The top export sales destinations included the United States, Italy, Germany, China, France, India, Turkey, Portugal, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

Mentioning that despite this, difficulties arose that compromised the profitability necessary to maintain investment at the levels required for the business to be competitive, César Garbalena, President, AFM Cluster, which represents the interests of advanced manufacturing in Spain, added, “In addition to shortages in components and materials, rising freight prices and difficulty in accessing certain markets, particularly China, there has also been a significant rise in energy prices. This is all, coupled with the high rate of inflation, significantly impacting costs and forcing us to concentrate on defending margins and delivery terms in order to fulfil our attractive order portfolio.”

2021 Orders

Spanish machine-tool orders increased by nearly 30 percent in 2021 compared to 2019 (+69.2 percent compared to 2020), and the sector expects a significant workload and foreseeable turnover increase in 2022. Metal cutting saw the highest incoming order figures since 2007 (+40.81 percent higher in 2019 and +70.98 percent higher in 2020), while the milling subsector saw historical highs (+88.7 percent higher in 2019 and 82.05 percent higher in 2020). Metal forming increased by 7.37 percent in 2019 (+64.43 percent in 2020).

2022 Prospects

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the start of the war marked the first quarter of the year. From a purely economic standpoint, the cluster businesses have halted all trade relations with Russia in accordance with the sanctions in place, and the operations affected by this market is generally well covered. Depending on the year, trade relations with Russia accounted for between 1 percent and 3 percent of total sales. These were usually transactions involving the aviation, railway, or energy industries.

Despite this alarming scenario, the sector’s strong order portfolios at the start of the year, as well as the continued positive level of incoming orders in the first quarter, expects a rise in turnover, which will likely be higher than in 2019. “Although we can say that the direct consequences of the war are limited, the indirect effects have proven to be an additional problem that worsens a complex situation. All the existing problems with components, materials, transport, and costs remain ongoing, and a crisis of offering has been detected in some of these factors, which in turn is leading to price hikes and shortages of certain supplies. In this same regard, the situation of the pandemic in China is adding additional uncertainty,” according to Garbalena.


BIEMH, Spain’s largest industrial trade fair and a top-class strategic driving force for the advanced manufacturing market, returns from June 13-17 after a four-year hiatus. It will bring together all the machine-tool industry’s and related technologies’ innovations from the last four years, including additive manufacturing and 3D printing (via the ADDIT3D fair) and digitalization (through the BeDigital fair). The extremely high visitor subscription rate and spectacular atmosphere at smaller events held in the first half of the year point to record attendance. The positive workload in the Spanish industry indicates that BIEMH will be a busy and vibrant event.

STECH, a new industrial association created to accelerate the implementation of digitalization and automation technologies in the advanced manufacturing industry, has completed the ecosystem of the AFM Cluster. Nearly 60 machine tool and component manufacturers, 3D printing and additive manufacturing specialists, hand tool manufacturers, machining specialists, and industry subcontractors and startups have joined the initiative.

Image Source: AFM Cluster

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