DMG Mori, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of advanced machine tools, has begun tracking the use of its products to prevent them from being used for military purposes amid heightened geopolitical tensions.
Starting in April, the Japanese-German joint venture has asked customers around the world to install a remote control system that turns off the equipment if it is removed or dismantled.
In a letter sent in late March and seen by the Financial Times, he said: damage It said the system was set up to prevent its equipment from being “illegally transferred to individuals or countries that could endanger international security.”
The letter added that the company will refuse to put the equipment back into service if its use violates “applicable export regulations.” DMG manufactures machine tools used to build everything from passenger cars to fighter jets.
In response to questions from the FT, the DMG said it had taken the decision to implement the new measures “because of the global political situation and undoubtedly the outbreak of the Russian war in Ukraine” and said it would never do so. He added that there are. “There has been misappropriation of our machines.”
The move by DMG, which was founded by the merger of Japan’s Mori Seiki and German rival Gildemeister, comes amid growing tensions between the EU and China. war in Ukraine. China’s foreign minister on Tuesday condemned an EU proposal to impose sanctions on Chinese firms for aiding Russia’s war machine and vowed to respond “seriously and resolutely” to protect them.
About a quarter of DMG’s sales occur in Asia. The company does not release specific figures for its China business.
China will be Germany’s largest trading partner for the seventh year in a row in 2022, making it a particularly important market for German automakers. But Western concerns over US-led dependence on China have been compounded by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Security concerns have prompted Berlin in recent months to reconsider using Huawei equipment in Germany’s telecommunications network. review the decision This is to allow Chinese shipping company Cosco to buy a stake in the Hamburg port terminal.
“While this requirement may apply to many countries, it is China that will have the greatest impact because China’s civil-military fusion factories have a history of purchasing DMG machinery,” said DMG China. said a former executive. “For years, we pretended not to know where our products were deployed in China.”
Liu Hanyu, an analyst at Daxue Consulting in Shanghai, said more Western machine tool makers will follow in DMG’s footsteps. According to a report last month by Guangzhou-based GF Securities, this will create “significant risks” for exporters of high-end machine tools to China.
Foreign brands accounted for 60% of China’s 5-axis machine tool sales last year, according to California-based consultancy QY Research, while DMG had a 17% market share in the same year. Machine tool users in China said the latest directive from DMG may encourage them to buy more from local suppliers.
James Wei, an engineer at a Guangdong-based manufacturer who has worked with western machine tool makers, said at least two local brands could be alternatives to DMG. “There is an urgent need to reduce our reliance on foreign equipment,” Wei said.
But switching to local brands can come at the expense of quality. “The design of the Chinese machine is great, great,” said Raffaello Martini, production director at Spanish machine tool maker Yvermia China. “But we also need a strong body to meet the demands of the market.”
This puts Chinese machine tool users in a difficult position. “In the near future, we need to learn how to use the second best machine tools,” said an engineer at a Chinese aircraft manufacturer.
Additional reporting by Laura Pitel in Berlin
https://www.ft.com/content/c47296e8-662a-4f21-bf1b-226b238717e7 DMG Mori tracks usage of machine tool products to prevent military use