The precision engineering and optics industry has evolved to be one of the most important German industries in terms of growth and future prospects. This hightech sector employs a total of 234,000 people in more than 1.032 companies, most of which are medium-sized. Their products are used in many different industries, such as electronics, IT or the health sector.
The success of the precision engineering and optics industry is evident when looking at the figures: in 2014, the industry generated overall revenues of €51,63 billion, an increase of 14 percent over the previous year. There is a worldwide demand for German products: in 2014, about 63,7 percent of optical and precision engineering technologies and products were exported. Apart from the countries of the European Union, the most important export markets are the US and China, with Russia and India increasingly gaining importance.
The precision engineering and optics industry is very innovative and includes a large number of branches, for example optical technologies and medical technology. Optical technologies in particular have been on the rise, increasing their revenues by more than 16 percent in 2011. This also included technologies such as laser technology, optoelectronics, digital imaging or optical communications and measuring technology. Increasing digitisation is also opening up new opportunities. Innovations are being actively developed in Germany in this field.
The optical technologies branch expects further above-average growth in the future. This is because there has been a lot of investment in research and development as well as close cooperation between large enterprises, SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and research institutions. The optics industry, which currently employs 120,000 workers, expects to create a further 20,000 jobs by 2020.
Information on support of key technologies (German, English)
Current information on photonics and precision technology (German, English)
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