IBU (Industrieverband Blechumformung e.V.) in Hagen, Germany, is an industrial association representing around 240 member companies in the sheet metal forming industry and their suppliers. The association offers a network for the industry and its members are predominantly made up of medium-sized family-owned companies with industrial production for customers with strong market positions. The majority of them are supplying to the automotive and electronics industries, to mechanical and plant engineering plant as well as to the furniture and construction industries and medical technology. The sales volume of this sector of the industry amounted to around 20.49 billion euros in 2019.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the organization?

IBU: IBU represents the interests of its member companies towards politics, customer groups and science resulting in a common strong voice. The tasks of the association include specialist seminars, working groups, advice on legal and economic issues and public relations. IBU also offers networking possibilities for professional exchange to its members.

E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new directions? What can you tell us about market trends? What estimations do you have for 2021?

IBU: The current focus of the industry is steel availability. Companies processing steel experience massive material shortages since the fall, and the situation is deteriorating. IBU-members face the problem that steel from steel mills and service centers is not available in sufficient quantities. EU steel production has started falling in October/November, the spot market is empty and there is a lack of sufficient supplies from the mills. This is a real supply crisis. This crisis endangers the production processes of IBU-members. Import restrictions make it difficult to switch to imports from third countries. In this situation, the EU, with political support from Berlin, unfortunately took the decision in February to investigate whether the safeguards (tariff quotas and import duties) against steel imports expiring end of June should be extended. IBU does not see any basis or reason for this investigation or a possible extension of these safeguards. The association is therefore currently lobbying at the EU Commission in Brussels for ending the safeguards.