CECIMO Reports Positive Economic Trends, Focuses on AI Infrastructure

The European machine tool builder association reports that its members experienced a smaller sales downturn in 2016 compared with the global average.

Related Topics:

The CECIMO General Assembly, which took place in Brussels, Belgium, November 22, 2017, announced that CECIMO machine tool production is expected to register a 2 percent annual growth in 2017 and reach 24.4 billion euros, rebounding from the last year’s drop slightly below 24 billion. While the world production volume dropped by 2.4 percent, CECIMO companies experienced a smaller sales downturn of 1.7 percent in 2016, coping better with the geopolitical distress and maintaining their global market share at a strong 35.6 percent.

On the policy side, CECIMO says it will step up its engagement with European Union decision-makers and other industry stakeholders to address the challenges of artificial intelligence and to develop together the right framework conditions for an increased deployment of AI and machine learning by machine tool builders in the coming years.

Last year, CECIMO companies exported 18.3 billion euros worth of machine tools, mainly to China (14.9 percent) and the United States (10.5 percent), although the trade within CECIMO countries remains the most important. In 2017, the export figures are expected to reach 19 billion euros, regardless of the uncertainties around U.S. protectionist trade policies.

CECIMO’s policy agenda puts great emphasis on the development of a framework for artificial intelligence. “Given that the enhancement of production efficiency on a continuous basis has been an everlasting commitment for both our industry and our customers, artificial intelligence and machine learning offer a tremendous opportunity for automation, increased engineering efficiency and reduced costs,” says President Luigi Galdabini.

Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, adds that “By putting a favorable and stable business environment in place, Europe can compete globally on both the development and uptake of AI solutions.” At the same time, she warns that “we need to avoid unnecessary anxiety based on far-fetched AI takeover scenarios that could distort public perception of AI.”

Artificial intelligence and machine learning could be a critical catalyst for major manufacturing challenges linked to security concerns, providing adequate cybersecurity response in real time. CECIMO believes that a voluntary European certification and labelling scheme, as it will be developed by the E.U.’s Agency for Network and Information Security, could create the right framework conditions for increased security in the Internet of Things era.