The yearly VDMA AKT event took place on 23rd March. Held once again online, it briefed participants on important activities in relation to technical matters but also the economic situation and foresight given the Ukraine situation. The event was again excellently guided by enthusiastic chairpersons, Prof. Dr Geimer, Mr Sagemüller and Mr Horstmann.

Dr Bernd Scherer, Member of the VDMA Executive Board and Managing Director of VDMA Agricultural Machinery and Fire Fighting Equipment, shared an assessment on the Markets in agricultural engineering. Dr Scherer’s presentation was the last ahead of his upcoming retirement; he will be replaced in his functions by Dr Tobias Ehrhard. The overall conclusions are that the markets are doing good and are back on the growth track after a short fallback. However, there is a growing worry about bottlenecks caused by the lack of components and rise of prices. There is a balancing between the influence on demand due to the high commodity prices and possible subsidies and the influence on offer due to rising prices and lack of components. Currently, though the market is still on the growth path, the peak of growth is slowing down.

Looking at Europe’s long term energy perspectives, and their relation with the EU’s "Fit-for-55”, Dr Carola Kantz from VDMA talked about Power -to-X applications on how hydrogen and derivates can replace oil/gas. She stressed the importance to start early enough as it concerns a full switch of energy carriers. An interesting point to remember is that the hydrogen production would be less concentrated than fossil fuels, with more geographic spread, leaving the market more free.

When it comes to the stronghold of VDMA activities, that is the technical legislation and standardisation, Dr Magnus Schmitt pointed to the main VDMA activities from the ongoing discussions in OECD, involvement in the standardisation process and the growing importance of the CO2 topic in Germany and Europe.

Further reports were provided by:

  • Technical Committee 2 - Soil cultivation, sowing, plant care and plant protection
  • Technical Committee 4 Harvesting machines
  • Technical Committee E - Electronics TAE activities

The TAE event, not forgetting the European dimension, allowed CEMA to bring a ‘report from Brussels’. Its focus was on the ongoing legislative revisions in type approval and machine safety and how the CEMA project teams tackle the issues and collaborate to stand stronger together. Emphasis was placed on digitisation and new technologies and how that requires a new strategy to make the rules equal for the fleet, from autonomous functions, electrification to cybersecurity and interoperability, and what would be the best legal framework to work within.

The event ended with a farewell for Dr Scherer’s retirement, thanking him for the many years of support, praising him as seeker of compromise and as such having being very successful. CEMA wishes Dr Scherer a great time in retirement.