The end of 2011 is the time for companies to evaluate what has been or hasn’t been done during 2011 and to consider the right direction to take for the near future.
Two of the main Italian markets for automation—packaging machinery and machine tools—were also reported to be up. A spokesman from the Central Office of Ucima—Italian Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Association—said the sector turnover should reach the record value of 4,300 million Euros in 2011, with a 14.4 percent growth. This means the pre-crisis values will be overtaken, although they see forecasts getting worse for 2012. Giuseppe Lesce, Ucima’s president, commented: “Growth trends in many countries, China first, are now decreasing and that cannot be left out in a sector where export has a very important role as ours.”
According to Ucima’s figures, the packaging industry is one of the most dynamic in in Italy, and one of the few that have already “forgotten” the crisis. Export was fundamental in that, representing almost 90 percent of the total business. With a value of 3,850 million Euros, it had 15.9 percent growth over 2010—much more than the 450 million Euros reached by the domestic market sales.
Where machine tools are concerned, Ucimu-Sistemi per Produrre—the association of Italian manufacturers of machine tools, robots, automation systems and ancillary products (numerical control tools, components, accessories)—said the 2011 turnover reached more than 5 billion Euros (5,019 million Euros), with a 19.6 percent growth over 2010.
Even in this market, export was the main driver, reporting 29.3 percent growth to 3,367 million Euros. (This represents 67 percent of the global turnover compared to 57 percent in 2010). China remains the main market for Italian machine builder exports, but for the first time its share is not growing. However, Italian exports to Germany, USA and Brazil showed growth of 63 percent, 99 percent and 84 percent, respectively.
For 2012 the association forecasts a generally slow increase and says production should reach the value of 5.190 million Euros (3.4 percent growth), with a better performance in foreign markets (4.8 percent growth) rather than domestic (0.5 percent growth predicted). Giancarlo Losma, president of Ucimu – Sistemi per Produrre, said export is one of the main growth drivers for Italian companies and he wishes the Italian Government would always take that into consideration in making its decisions.
Siemens Italia Speaks Out
On Dec. 15, journalists were invited to Siemens Italia’s headquarters in Milan either to attend the usual Christmas greetings exchange or the “traditional” December press conference with the business updating. As Federico Golla, CEO of Siemens Italia, said, despite the global financial crisis and the worrying economic situation, the company turnover reached the value of 2,525.2 million Euros, mainly due to the Industry division, with an 18 percent growth in the automation and industrial areas in 2011 over 2010. The renewable energy sector had a 20 percent growth, driven by the photovoltaic and solar business.
The electrical distribution sector also performed well; the Energy division was asked by Enel to build an energy storage pilot project; the division also signed with Terna an agreement to build high voltage substations. The Healthcare division business, on the other hand, had decreased, due to the difficult situation of the Italian sanitary segment.
Confirming its attention to macrotrends, in 2011 Siemens created the Infrastructure & Cities division, focusing on railways and mobility in general, logistics, smart grid and energy efficiency in buildings, because the urban population is going to grow (the 70 percent of the world population will live in cities by 2050, according to Golla), also becoming older; so cities need to become ‘sustainable’. Also the ‘CO2 battle’ has to be fought in cities, said Peter Loescher, President and CEO of Siemens. Siemens’ focus has been and will be on renewable energies, innovative environmental technologies and energy efficiency.
Ilaria De Poli, firstname.lastname@example.org, is an editor at “Fiera Milano Editore,” a magazine covering automation and manufacturing in Italy.