With over 204,000 jobs, mechanical engineering was the biggest employer in Bavaria in 2011. It accounted for 17.4% of all employment in industry in Bavaria. Mechanical engineering in Bavaria focuses on drive technology, general ventilation technology, power systems (engines and turbines), and pumps and compressors, and is concentrated in the districts of Swabia, Lower Franconia and Upper Bavaria. Sensor technology is playing an increasingly important role in mechanical engineering. In Bavaria, the sector is characterised by its large 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 very best opportunities.
Mechanical engineering is one of the sectors in Bavaria for which all the signs pointed to growth in 2011. According to the latest available figures from the Employers’ Association for the Bavarian Metalworking and Electrical Industries, the sector's sales rose by 12 per cent between 2010 and 2011, to almost EUR 42.87 billion. Foreign sales rose by 10.4 per cent to almost EUR 25.96 billion over the same period, making up 60.6 per cent of all sales. Bavaria's universities offer attractive courses in both mechanical engineering and sensor technology, providing the essential next generation of specialist staff to take Bavaria's companies safely into the future.
Bavaria offers a large number of courses for excellent university education in mechanical engineering, taking in a wide range of aspects of modern mechanical engineering and faculties such as Materials Science, Technical Thermodynamics and Measurement and Control Technology.
How attractive these degree courses are can be seen in the figures for new students for the winter semester 2011/2012: With an increase of 31.3, the rise in mechanical and process engineering students was particularly large. This means a large number of excellently trained specialist staff for the sector.
The German Engineering Association (VDMA) is the most important network for the mechanical engineering sector in Bavaria. Almost half of all Bavarian mechanical engineers are members. These members generate around 80% of the sector's total sales in Bavaria. The VDMA has its headquarters in Frankfurt and includes a total of 38 specialist associations. Its state associations offer businesses in the sector fast, local contact and maintain contacts with the state governments. The VDMA also has offices in Berlin and Brussels, allowing the association to work across Germany and Europe, benefiting all its members.
The Employers’ Association for the Bavarian Metalworking and Electrical Industries also offers networking in mechanical engineering. The association analyses current trends, strengthens coordinated interaction between its member companies and provides advice on possible funding and financing issues. It also provides networking between its members and IT companies. The association has a local presence with six regional offices in Bavaria, while also maintaining locations in Brussels and New York, in order to provide international connections for its members. In sensor technology, a key area for mechanical engineering, the Sensor Technology cluster also provides profitable networking.