Mechanical Engineering Industry Association

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Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau e.V.
PurposeProfessional Society
Region served
Karl Haeusgen

The VDMA (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association) represents about 3,500 German and European companies of the mechanical engineering industry. The industry stands for innovation, export orientation and medium-sized businesses. The companies employ around four million people in Europe, more than one million of them in Germany. Mechanical and plant engineering represents a European turnover volume of around 800 billion euros. With a net value added of around 270 billion euros, it contributes the highest share of the entire manufacturing sector to the European gross domestic product. Turnover of mechanical engineering in Germany is EUR 221,3 billion (2021),[1] German machinery production is valued at EUR 216,0 billion (2021) and the export rate of Germany's mechanical and plant engineering sector is 82 percent; 2021).[2]

The association was founded in 1892.

Core topics[edit]

VDMA concentrates its efforts on eight key topics:

Markets and economy – VDMA provides its members with country-specific and economic data, which they can then use as a planning basis for their business decisions.

Research and production – VDMA provides its member companies with a network, where new trends and technologies in production can be discussed so that they can forge new paths as part of Industrielle Gemeinschaftsforschung (industrial collective research, IGF). One of many examples here is Industrie 4.0.

Energy and environment – VDMA essentially supports the German federal government's energy and climate protection goals and promotes an ambitious implementation of the European Union's Energy Efficiency Directive. German mechanical and plant engineering makes an important contribution to this by providing and using energy efficient technologies. VDMA combines the topic areas of technology, research and energy policy in various formats such as the VDMA Forum Energy, where VDMA pools the energy policy-related activities of the associations and the sector's expertise on energy. The Forum Energy also acts as a voice for the investment goods industry and represents the interests of mechanical and plant engineering towards policymakers and the public.

Social and economic policy – Mechanical and plant engineering is the largest industrial employer in Germany, with more than one million employees. VDMA's core activities therefore include analysis, commenting and discussion of social and economic policy issues. The Association publishes its joint positions on economic policies regarding the following topics on an annual basis: labor market and wage policy, foreign trade policy, education policy, securing a skilled workforce, energy policy, Europe policy, research policy, social security, tax policy, technology policy, environmental policy and a sustainable state.[3]

Profession and training – VDMA is involved in activities relating to apprenticeships, degree programs and professional qualifications. VDMA's Education department is the main contact in this field.

Companies and management – strategic positioning, operative management, human resource development, corporate social responsibility and many others. Against this backdrop, the Management Services department at VDMA is the first point of contact regarding management issues; its consultants are available to all member companies and obliged to maintain confidentiality.

Law and taxes - VDMA's team of economic lawyers specialized in the investment goods industry work on the topics of law and taxes.

Standardization and technology policy Standardization and technology policy facilitate technological and economical collaboration on a national, European and international level. VDMA supports the competitiveness of mechanical engineering via the DIN Standards Committee Mechanical Engineering (NAM). Furthermore, the Standardization department coordinates activities regarding the creation of VDMA Specifications – the standardization process for mechanical engineering.


Campaigns highlight VDMA's activities and focus on topics that are particularly important from VDMA's point of view.

"Arbeit 4.0" – Everything remains different Industrie 4.0 will not only make economic processes and production process more efficient, but also help to change the world of work. Mechanical and plant engineering plays an important role here as both a provider and a user of Industrie 4.0 technologies.

Blue Competence – The sustainability platform The mechanical and plant engineering industry shows that sustainability increases profitability. This realization also holds true for other sectors and other parts of the world. The idea behind Blue Competence is to show that sustainable business can be a great help to both customers and producers in mechanical engineering.

"Talentmaschine" – The mechanical engineering portal for the next generation VDMA uses the online portal to reach out to school and university students who are interested in technology and looking for an apprenticeship, internship or traineeship. The portal offers a nationwide overview of job listings in mechanical engineering, and gives the around 3,200 VDMA members a handy tool that helps them find new talent.

"Maschinenhaus" – The VDMA initiative for student success Increasing student success in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering at all German universities is an important objective for VDMA. The aim is to lower high drop-out rates and help make more engineers available on the labor market.

"Wir unternehmen was" – CSR is an important topic in mechanical engineering Many mechanical engineering companies in Germany not only develop sustainable products and processes, but also make a contribution to society with great commitment and responsibility. This commitment is as varied as the companies themselves.


VDMA is a registered association based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and comprises six regional subsidiaries, seven representative offices in foreign countries and 37 trade associations. VDMA was founded in 1892 and celebrated its 125-year anniversary in 2017. The strategic positioning and operative leadership of VDMA are the responsibility of the Executive Directorate. The Association is headed by a Board of Chairmen comprising three elected company representatives. The President is elected every three years and cannot be re-elected. A Restricted Board and a Main Board with company representatives from mechanical and plant engineering act as advisory committees for the Board of Chairmen.[4]

VDMA Board of Chairmen:

  • Karl Haeusgen, President of VDMA, HAWE Hydraulik SE, Munich
  • Henrik Schunk, Vice-President of VDMA, Schunk GmbH & Co. KG, Lauffen
  • Bertram Kawlath, Vice-President of VDMA, Schubert & Salzer, Ingolstadt

VDMA Executive Directorate

  • Thilo Brodtmann, executive director of VDMA
  • Hartmut Rauen, deputy executive director of VDMA
  • Dr. Ralph Wiechers, Member of Executive Directorate of VDMA


The Verein deutscher Maschinenbau-Anstalten (VDMA) was founded in Cologne in 1892 with the objective of protecting the economic interests of all German mechanical engineering companies. It has its origin in the Verein Rheinisch-Westfälischer Maschinenbauanstalten, which was founded two years earlier and aimed to improve delivery and price conditions for mining and plant machinery in particular. Its first office was in Düsseldorf. Several trade associations joined VDMA over the years that followed, one of them being the Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association, VDW), which joined in 1916. In 1918, VDMA moved from Düsseldorf to Berlin.[5]

In 1934, a year after the Nazis seized power, the new government adopted the “Gesetz zur Vorbereitung des organischen Aufbaus der deutschen Wirtschaft” (Law detailing the organic construction of the German economy). As part of this process, all business associations were united under one central management system and answerable to the Reich's Minister of Economic Affairs. VDMA became part of the newly founded the Wirtschaftsgruppe Maschinenbau (mechanical engineering economic group), membership of which was also compulsory for all companies that had not previously been part of an association. This group was led by Karl Lange, the executive director of VDMA.

At the end of the war, the Wirtschaftsvereinigung Maschinenbau (business association for mechanical engineering, WVMA) was founded. A year later, the Verein Bayerischer Maschinenbau-Anstalten (association of Bavarian mechanical engineering institutes, VBMA), the Wirtschaftsvereinigung der Maschinenbau-Anstalten in Groß-Hessen (business association for mechanical engineering institutes in Greater Hesse, WVMH) and the Wirtschaftsverband Maschinenbau in Berlin (business association for mechanical engineering in Berlin) were founded. The Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Verbände der Deutscher Maschinenbau-Anstalten (working group of the associations of German mechanical engineering institutes, AVDMA) was the first supra-regional association to be founded, in 1947. In 1949, the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) was re-established in Königstein im Taunus.[6]

Shortly after that – in 1950 – VDMA established a liaison office in the German capital, Bonn. A year later, the Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Maschinen- und Anlagenbaus mbH (society for the promotion of mechanical and plant engineering, GzF) and the Maschinenbau Verlag GmbH (later VDMA Verlag) were founded. In 1954, VDMA took part in founding the Europe Liaison Group of the European Mechanical, Electrical, Electronic and Metalworking Industries (Orgalime) in Brussels, Belgium.

In 1966, VDMA's headquarters moved to Niederrad, a district of Frankfurt. A number of sub-organizations were founded over the following years: Forschungskuratorium Maschinenbau e.V. (research association for the mechanical engineering industry, FKM) in 1968, Dokumentation Maschinenbau e.V. (DOMA) and the Deutsche Maschinenbau-Institut (German mechanical engineering institute, DMI) now Maschinenbau-Institut GmbH (MBI) in 1972, the Fachinformationszentrum Technik (technology information center) in 1979.

During the next few years, political contacts were established and intensified on a national and international scale. VDMA established a liaison office in Brussels in 1972; another followed in Tokyo in 1984. In 1980, the Association changed its German name from Verein Deutscher Maschinenbau-Anstalten to Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau. The abbreviation, VDMA, remained the same. VDMA's Impuls Foundation was founded in 1992, followed by VDMA Gesellschaft für Forschung und Innovation mbH (society for research and innovation, VFI) in 1998. That same year, VDMA's Berlin office was inaugurated.


Verein Deutscher Maschinenbau-Anstalten

Wirtschaftsgruppe Maschinenbau

Wirtschaftsverband Maschinenbau Düsseldorf

Wirtschaftsvereinigung Maschinenbau in Hessen

Vereinigung der Maschinenbau-Anstalten von Württemberg-Baden

Verein Bayerischer Maschinenbau-Anstalten e.V.

Verein Deutscher Maschinenbau-Anstalten e.V.

Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau e.V.


  1. ^ Maschinenbau in Zahl und Bild, VDMA, 2022 / Mechanical engineering – figures and charts 2022
  2. ^ VDMA: Maschinenbau in Zahl und Bild 2021
  3. ^ Schroeder, Wolfgang, Wessels, Bernhard (2017). Handbuch Arbeitgeber- und Wirtschaftsverbände in Deutschland. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien. p. 242.
  4. ^ Zechlin, Jans-Jürgen: Verbandsmanagement im Strukturwandel: Analysen - Kommentare - Erfahrungen, Fossil-Verlag, Köln, 2000
  5. ^ Hans Pohl, Johannes Markner: VDMA – 100 Jahre im Dienste des Maschinenbaus. MaschinenbauVerlag GmbH, Frankfurt am Main, 1992
  6. ^ Schamari, Ulrich W., Schnell, Udo (June 2017). "125 Jahre VDMA. Plattform für den Erfolg". MaschinenMarkt.

External links[edit]