Italian Machine Builders: Going On, Forgetting The Past

Italian machine tool builders are rebounding from a steep drop in sales in 2009 with optimism for the future.

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Bi-Mu/Sfortec, which was hosted by FieraMilano in Milan at the beginning of October, is one of the most important trade fairs in Europe focusing on metal forming and metal cutting machine tools, robots, automation systems and auxiliary technologies. The entire manufacturing industry refers to this event to update its design methods and to innovate its machinery to build “state of the art” products and be more competitive in the global marketplace.

The 27th edition of the event offered a wide range of technological alternatives and proposals. It highlighted the high level of technological integration which has led to the evolution of machine tools; in particular, machines and systems are now designed around functional modularity, in order to be flexible and easily adaptable to production changes.

“We are very proud to say that, following the terrible 29 percent decline in production registered in 2009, the Italian machine tools sector is rebounding,” said Michele Perini, president of Fiera Milano. Italian machine builders want to go on and forget the past: this is what the Bi-Mu numbers say. During its five days, the fair hosted 60,000 visitors (3,000 of them coming from abroad) with 1,223 exhibitors from 27 countries occupying 90,000 square meters of display area.

According to the analysis of UCIMU (Italian Machine Tools, Robots and Automation Manufacturers’ Association,, the “new manufacturing industry,” which looks at energy saving, production efficiency, and economic and social sustainability, is now ready to re-invest in machine tools. Production systems global consumption in 2010 is expected to total 37.4 billion Euros, up 4.7 percent over 2009, and the UCIMU projects that this positive trend will continue through 2014, when the machine tools market will double its value, coming up to 70.2 billion Euros.

“Data confirm the actual market is recovering,” said Giancarlo Losma, president of UCIMU. “But we know that the domestic demand is still too weak”. The Association is asking the government to continue policies stated last year to support the economic system and help the sector. “We refer to the decree of not charging profits that are reinvested by companies to acquire new machinery.” According to UCIMU, 25 percent of the Italian machines now working in production lines are more than 20 years old, so a decree in this direction could really help the whole economy, also optimizing many production sites.

The next edition of Bi-Mu/Sfortec is scheduled for Oct. 2-6, 2012, in Milan.

About the author

Ilaria De Poli,, is an editor at “Fiera Milano Editore,” a magazine covering automation and manufacturing in Italy


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