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This is shown by the current mechanical engineering barometer of the consulting firm PwC , for which around 100 industry executives were interviewed. Their outlook is positive: 85% predict the German economy will continue to grow over the next twelve months. They expect stable growth of 4.8% for machine and plant manufacturers in the current year. Respondents rated the outlook for their own company (record growth of 8% on average) even more positively than that for the industry as a whole. This may happen, but not necessarily. According to another survey result, six out of ten companies are already working at capacity limits. The average utili-zation rate is 92.4%.

Investments are thus necessary. The focus is on employee qualification (76%), followed by the use of new production techniques, and by research and development (72% each). Many are also planning to digitize their business field. Machine and plant manufacturers' primary concern remains the shortage of skilled workers (83% of respondents). Rising cost pressure (74%) and current political developments abroad (70%) are also a headache for many.

Sascha Hackstein of the consultancy Atreus GmbH also sees a divided industry. At produktion.de , he writes that connecting the German industrial tradition with the digital world will require innovations and an open attitude to new approaches. He fears, nevertheless, that not all board-rooms have arrived at this conclusion yet. Many companies apparently also lack the time to work out "intensive and comprehensive" plans for the future.