Evolutionary development of regional production clusters : A case study of the packaging machinery industry in Germany
The production of packaging machinery in Germany is only a small subsection of the mechanical engineering sector, with ca. 25000 employees in around 300 businesses. The factories are for the most part individual small- to medium-sized enterprises. Only 2.6% have more than 500 employees. More than half have fewer than 50 employees. In spite of the ... small size of the production units these businesses operate on a global scale. In 1997 78% of the machines were exported. Germany occupies the leading position in the world market with a market share of just under 30%. The production structures are oriented towards the demands of the customers and characterized by craftsmanship. Innovations are less the product of systematic research and development, but rather develop as a result of processes of adaptation to the requirements of the customers. As a whole the production of packaging machinery can be characterized as a ´low-tech´ branch of industry.