The rapidly accelerating global procurement demand for raw materials also presents mining equipment manufacturers with ever-greater challenges. New technologies as well as ideas help meet the challenges of the future.Klaus Stöckmann and Rajesh Nath give us a German supplier’s projection of future demand, customisation and safety.Germany is among the most important suppliers for the Indian mining market besides the US and China. The Indo-German trade in mining equipment has a brilliant history: In 2003, equipment worth only €1.36 million was sold to India. In 2010 German manufacturers could dramatically raise the export of mining machinery up to €57 million. Mostly, longwall shearers and heading or tunnelling machines were sold.This year, nearly 18 million tonne of copper will be consumed globally, which is set to almost double by 2050. It isprimarily the rapid degree of industrialisation in threshold and developing countries in Asia and South America that istriggering the demand for raw materials. China alone increased its coal production of just under one billion tonne in 2000 to some 3.1 billion tonne last year, and in South America, a significant rise in the demand for raw materials is also being forecast. In India, coal consumption is expected to triple to two billion tonne over the next 20 years.Much of the machinery and equipment that are required to meet this demand will be supplied by the international mining equipment industry. Therefore, the future prospects of the sector are more than just good. Since 2007, manufacturers have been able to increase their turnover from €3.41 billion to last year’s figure of €3.81 billion. Success that is unquestionably due to the opening of new sales regions and the consistent fostering of existing trade links. However, this alone is not enough to convince the market.The key here is to offer the right products and services.Only when both fit the bill along with a fair price a company will be able to hold its own on the market long term.But what will products and services of the future look like? What demands will be made of man and machine in five, 10-20 years, and how will competition on world markets evolve? The success of both the German and international mining equipment industry will hinge on the answers to these questions. The German Engineering Association (Verband Deutscher Maschinen-und Anlagenbau, or VDMA) grouping together most of the mining equipment manufacturers located in Germany, recently launched a series of events entitled “Future Mining: What will the next generation mine look like?” The deliberations helped manufacturers recognise the challenges of the future and to find ways to address them.Tailor-Made SolutionsThe German mining equipment industry is well prepared for the challenges of the future and this is demonstrated primarily by its current success. Ultimately, this is because it simply provides the right answers to questions posed in the past. This year, manufacturers anticipate further growth in turnover. In 2010, they were able to more than compensate for their orders shortfall in 2009 by achieving a two percent positive, up to €3.81 billion.The impulses for this growth came primarily from threshold and developing countries as well as from India and China, the largest export market for mining equipment made in Germany. Turnover there last year rose by a substantial 38 percent from €233 million to €322 million. Thus, demand for raw materials continues to rise unabated. An end to the boom is not in sight. Nearly 80 percent of the energy generated in China and more than 65 percent in India comes from coal-fired power stations. In future this proportion, and therefore the demand for coal, will continue to see high growth.Mining at Ever-Greater DepthsSome people are predicting the start of a long-lasting ‘superboom’ for the global coal industry led by China and India. The reason for this forecast is the vast energy demands that are to be met by the building of new coal-fired power stations. In the next five years alone, new power stations with total output of 390 GW will be commissioned worldwide, and annual demand for coal will rise by approximately one billion tonne. The trend is not focused on mining coal mining alone but also on other raw materials as well as mining at greater-than-ever-before depths. And with their vast experience primarily gathered on the domestic market in underground mining, German manufacturers will benefit here. Only last year, German company Eickhoff Bergbautechnik GmbH brought the first fully automatic shearer loaders for underground coal mining onto the market, thereby making the long envisioned automatic long-wall mining a reality.Growing Demand for Safety Engineering German manufacturers see great potential in the developing and threshold countries of Asia and South America. Even ahead of Australia, Indonesia, for example, has now burgeoned as the world’s largest coal exporting nation in the world. The reason for this lies in the fact that the distances and therefore transportation costs to major export destinations like China and India are lower than those from Australia. In key demand is safety engineering, and German manufacturers lead the field here.