In May 2022, according to France Industrie, the industrial activity represented 3.100.000 direct jobs, 13.5% of the French commercial GDP for a share of 74% of the French exports.
With a total added value of €274 billion, we can’t say that industry in France is dying as we can read in various newspapers, it is just in a mutation phase. By mutation, we mean the passage from the industry we knew about ten years ago to a modern, high quality industry.
For the industry to be productive, 3 main elements are needed: a qualified workforce, quality and affordable raw materials and, above all, means of production in line with its objectives. Means of production as industrial machines.
Let’s start with some definitions:
A “machine” according to the Larousse dictionary is a “Device or set of devices capable of performing a certain work or fulfilling a certain function, either under the guidance of an operator, or in an autonomous manner.“
And if we rely on the definition of the Insee (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies), “Industry” represents “The economic activities that combine factors of production (facilities, supplies, labor, knowledge) to produce material goods for the market“.
So what about the industrial machine? An industrial machine according to the definitions seen above, would be:
“a device capable of performing a certain work or function in order to carry out an economic activity that combines factors of production to produce material goods for the market“
Industry and industrial machines through time:
Industrialization or better known by its disputed name “Industrial Revolution” is the period during which technical, social, economic and technological evolutions allowed a real change in the ways of living, producing or even consuming.
During the 19th century, France around 1840 tasted the pleasure of Industrialization. At the beginning, the changes appeared mainly in the agricultural sector with for example the use of the first entirely mechanical and mobile threshing machine.
Thanks to social, economic and demographic changes as well as technical and technological developments, France literally changes its face. Railroads sprang up everywhere on the territory, as did factories, plants, and places of exchange. All these changes, which list is far from being exhaustive, are made only with the aim of offering to the French populations the goods and products that the trend has made indispensable. The need comes from looking at the neighbour, then the need becomes a habit, and nobody likes to be frustrated or cut off from his habits. Then the changes accelerate, the techniques improve and we will arrive little by little in our current society.
If the industrial machines were at the beginning a little shaky and especially not very efficient compared to what we have today, it is interesting to remember that nothing comes alone, and that in a few years or even a few tens of years, the industrial machines that we know today will only be machines exposed in museums.
Let’s take a look at today’s industrial machines.
The different industrial machines today:
Industrial machines are used in absolutely every industrial activity, regardless of the industry. Let’s follow the story of Marie, Marie goes to buy tomatoes from her favourite market gardener.
- Marie gets on her little red bike, which was produced in a factory equipped with a Mazak 5-axis machining centre, the various parts transported by conveyors, all held by a Fanuc robotic arm
The metal comes directly from a metallurgical factory, which also uses numerous industrial machines. The wheels are shaped by a Songsheng thermoforming machine.
The plastic handles and all other plastic parts come from injection moulding machines such as Arburg industrial machines.
- Marie continues to pedal on her brand new bike, she feels an asthma attack coming on, it’s usual, it happens often, so she grabs her Ventolin without its fabric bag braided by a circular braiding machine of the Herzog brand.
For those who don’t know, the Ventolin is a small inhaler allowing to calm the asthma attacks. A plastic tube shaped by an injection moulding machine, to which an aluminium Ventolin bottle is attached, also pressure moulded by a PanHans 245 aluminium moulding machine.
In this bottle was put the antiasthmatic solution of Marie, in gaseous form via an air compressor of the Ingersoll Rand brand.
- Marie finally arrives at the market gardener’s house. She opens the wooden door made by an IMA P680 CNC machining centre, pulls the wooden door handle, enters, buys a bottle of water bottled and sealed by a Schuy and Folmeg bottling line. She takes her tomatoes washed and sorted by a Kronen machine, bagged by a Vemag machine.
Following Marie’s walk we saw that almost everything we touch has been manufactured by the industrial sector worldwide, using more and more sophisticated machines, where for the most part the human hand is not even a real need anymore in order to operate this or that machine. It is enough to enter in a computer what we want, the machine will manufacture following the plan.
Manufacturing is one thing, having the right machine is another. There are three ways to get THE ideal machine, the first one is to have it custom made (by far the most expensive), the second one is to buy a new machine made on the assembly line, the third way, the most economical, is to offer a second life to a machine that has already served another master.
Buying new is good, but what about used industrial machinery?
Industrial machines are a bit like cars, everyone agrees that depending on the needs it can be wise to buy a used machine rather than a new one.
At Exapro we believe in this idea, hence our catalogue filled with used machines sourced from all over Europe. Our agents verify that the used machines are in good condition, that they work, that the seller is trustworthy and that the machine perfectly meets the buyer’s needs.
Used industrial machines are by far the most important part of today’s industry, which is why it is important to frequently renew one’s production fleet, to keep up to date, to be able to meet the demands of one’s sector and to apply one’s know-how in the best conditions.
But keeping up with the latest technology requires a great deal of effort, which can become very expensive over time. So, whether you need to replace a machine, modernise your production facilities, expand your business or meet a new production plan, used machines can be the best solution.
You can buy these used machines normally, paying once for the machine, you can participate in auctions and win the bid. You can also buy it with a payment in instalments for the bigger machines.
We have seen the past, we see the present, but what will be the future, however uncertain?
The future of industrial machinery
With such an important presence today, we might be led to believe that industrial machines will always have such an important place in the future. So, in short, yes and no…
For example, if we focus only on France, we can tell from the figures highlighted by NationMaster that the value of industrial machinery installation is decreasing. Over 5 years this value has lost 2.7% of its weight, going from 14,207 Million Euros in 2014 to 12,399 Million Euros in 2019.
There is still a real demand but it is getting smaller over time, nevertheless, it is becoming more and more qualitative. Heavy industries are moving from Western Europe to Eastern Europe and have been for a long time.
The metal and steel industries are making way for new technologies, industry 4.0 and especially high-tech industry.
Finally, as since the beginning of its existence, we can say that the Industry will continue its mutations, and will continue to adapt itself to the demand and the offer. But what is certain is that it will always be there.
And you, what do you see as the future of the industrial machine?