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German Marine Equipment Manufacturers As Driving Force In Technology And Cost Efficiency

sales, with about 40 percent going to EU countries and 28 percent to Asia. The world market share of German marine equipment suppliers is well above 10 percent, putting them in second place behind Japan. Despite the healthy order situation, however, earnings remain unsatisfactory on account of low world market prices.

Apart from rationalizing, many companies have been compelled tomove some of their production activities aboard, mainly because of the cost advan- Circle 226 on Reader Service Card tages and, to an increasing degree, the required local contenl marine equipment, since mors more shipbuilding countries, ticularly in Asia, have 1 expanding their own compoi sectors to save foreign exchs and create local jobs.

German firms will maint their current technical mar leadership only by investing concerted R&D programs, developing problem-oriented pr< ucts, German marine equipme suppliers have a vested interest an efficient German and Europei shipbuilding sector.

Three main trends can be idei tified in the marine equipment set tor: Firstly, marine equipment sup pliers will continue to be con cerned with further cost reductions in the next few years, generally in conjunction with shipyards and aiming at increased modularization and standardization.

Secondly, as already noted, system solutions involving various products rather than traditional component deliveries are becoming increasingly significant, which offers shipping lines and shipyards a new quality of service, all the way from initial system concept to spare parts deliveries.

This naturally represents a challenge, but also an opportunity for highly innovative German marine equipment manufacturers, which can make the most of their expertise in terms of qualification, ^project management and service Standard.

Every second German supplier now offers system solutions that go well beyond the company's own production program.

Thirdly, in the technical area, further reductions in operation costs are required, coupled with enhanced safety and environment compatibility.

The following are some examples to illustrate the trend: In the diesel engine sector, the issue is the compromise between low fuel consumption levels and a further reduction in pollutionemissions. Innovative diagnosis systems are used for the maintenance and monitoring of diesel engines, indicating via satellite links the maintenance work to be performed at the next port of call. For rudder propellers as combined steering and drive systems, 20 percent increases in efficiency have been achieved with the latest innovations.

As far as navigation technology is concerned, increased system integration is leading to enhanced userfriendliness with more stringent ship operation safety requirements. Sophisticated software like the electronic nautical chart or global positioning system greatly enhance the efficiency of classic navigation. In this area, Germany has assumed a leadership role that has involved intensive and constructive cooperation between shipping lines, shipyards and suppliers, not to mention public authorities. Germany with its favorable infrastructure is a virtually ideal location for the development of technically sophisticated equipment such as these extremely complex complete system.

German marine equipment suppliers are successfully confronting the challenges of the world market, dominated as it is by increasing requirements for system expertise and service quality, as well as hightech specialities developed and supplied at prices acceptable in the market. The German marine equipment supplied at prices acceptable in the market. The German marine equipment suppliers are ready to meet these challenges and continue to be a driving force in ship's machinery technology and cost-efficiency.

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