A good year for the machining sector, which increased its turnover by 18% in 2022

Gipuzkoa, News

The machining and metal-mechanical transformation sector has experienced an increase in turnover of 18.6% in 2022. In the analysis by subsectors, practically identical growth can be observed: machining grew by 18.1% and boilermaking and forming by 18.7%.

“This growth means reaching pre-pandemic figures, even surpassing the results obtained in the 2018 and 2019 financial years. All this, moreover, in a scenario of high uncertainty, as 2022 has been marked by the war in Ukraine, the difficulties in obtaining raw materials and the high costs of both energy and inputs”, comments Fernando Gastaldo, vice-president of AFMEC.

Exports, which account for 28.7% of turnover, grew by 30.3% in 2022. The main destinations were France (22.9%) and Germany (16.6%), followed by Italy (5.6%), the United States (5.3%) and Denmark (4.9%).

AFMEC companies have a wide range of client sectors, among which capital goods and machine tools (22.8%), power generation (19.2%), automotive (14.5%), aeronautics and aerospace (10.9%) and metal structures and construction in general (4.7%) stand out.

The sector is mostly made up of small-sized companies. The association has 187 companies with an average size of 25 people. “As a sector made up of SMEs, collaboration is key to tackling projects of a certain size and remaining competitive in a constantly changing environment. The association has several lines of work underway to promote collaboration between companies”, says Fernando Gastaldo.

Employment has grown by 1.8% in the 2022 financial year, thus consolidating the increase experienced in the 2021 financial year, which was 3.2%. Josu Riezu, director of AFMEC states: “We are a highly technological sector that requires well-trained people. In our companies, we invest in training people and we are known for taking care of our staff. One of the main challenges we face is to have the technical talent we need. There are not enough young graduates to meet the needs of companies in the sector. We must work to make our sector and the industry in general more attractive to young people who have to choose their studies”.

In 2022, companies in the sector have increased their level of investment in equipment by 23.1% compared to 2021. According to Fernando Gastaldo: “We are targeting client sectors with very high levels of demand and precision, so it is essential to invest heavily in state-of-the-art production equipment. In addition, the association is promoting the digitalisation of our companies, incorporating new technologies that offer opportunities to be more efficient and competitive. Thus, the investment and digitalisation support programmes implemented by the administrations are tools of great interest that provide companies with access to the best production equipment to maintain and increase our competitiveness”.

The figures for the 2022 financial year show a positive scenario, although there are various factors to be taken into account that are causing concern among companies in the sector. In the words of Fernando Gastaldo: “The 2022 financial year has been characterised by difficulties in acquiring raw materials and by the increase in raw material costs. This means a reduction in companies’ already tight margins. This is a widespread concern in a sector that needs to be economically sustainable in order to continue investing in competitiveness, generating value for society”.


AFMEC brings together companies in the machining and metal-mechanical transformation sector. It has 187 associated companies and develops activities for its members in the field of cooperation, internationalisation, training, technology and marketing.

AFMEC is part of AFM Cluster, which allows it to tackle the challenges of the machining and metal mechanical transformation sector with greater guarantees, and multiplying the possibilities of collaboration within the value chain by belonging to a group that brings together more than 700 industrial companies.


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