With over 204,000 workers, mechanical engineering in Bavaria was the state's largest employer in 2011. It held a proportion of 17.4% of total employment in industry in Bavaria. Mechanical engineering is concentrated mainly in the administrative regions of Swabia, Lower Franconia and Upper Bavaria, and focuses on drive technology, general aerospace technology, power systems (engines and turbines) and pumps and compressors. The field of sensor technology is playing an increasingly important role in mechanical engineering. The sector in Bavaria is characterised by its high proportion of small and medium-sized companies with fewer than 200 staff (80%), an export quota of 70% and an infrastructure which offers it the best possible opportunities.
In Bavaria, mechanical engineering is one of the sectors in which all the signs pointed to growth in 2011. According to the latest available figures from the Employers’ Associations for the Bavarian Metalworking and Electrical Industries, sales in the sector rose by 12 per cent between 2010 and 2011, to almost EUR 42.87 billion. In the same period, foreign sales rose by 10.4 per cent to almost EUR 25.96 billion, and accounted for 60.6 per cent of total sales.
Bavaria's university environment offers attractive education options in both mechanical engineering and sensor technology, providing the essential next generation of specialist staff to secure the future of Bavarian companies
Bavaria offers a wealth of options for excellent university education in mechanical engineering, which covers a wide range of aspects of modern mechanical engineering and includes faculties such as Material Sciences, Technical Thermodynamics and Measurement and Control Technology.
The figures for new students for the winter semester 2011/2012 show just how attractive these degree courses are: at 31.3 per cent, the increase in mechanical and process engineering was particularly high. This means a large number of excellently-trained specialist staff for the sector.
The most important network for the mechanical engineering sector in Bavaria is the VDMA (German Engineering Federation). Almost half of all mechanical engineers in Bavaria are members, and these members generate around 80% of the sector's total sales in Bavaria. The VDMA, whose headquarters are in Frankfurt, has a total of 38 specialist associations. Its state associations offer companies in the sector a fast, local point of contact and maintain contacts with the state governments. In addition, the VDMA also has offices in Berlin and Brussels for association work throughout Germany and Europe which benefits all members of the association.
The Employers' Associations for the Bavarian Metalworking and Electrical Industries also provide networking in mechanical engineering. The association analyses current trends, strengthens coordinated interaction between its member companies and offers advice on possible subsidies and financing issues. It also provides networking between association members and IT companies. With its six regional offices, the association has a local presence all over Bavaria, while also maintaining offices in Brussels and New York in order to secure international connections for its members. In sensor technology – a key field in mechanical engineering – the Sensor Technology cluster provides lucrative networking opportunities.