“Machine tools, protagonists of the Italian recovery”

2021 was a decidedly positive year for the Italian machine tool, robot and automation manufacturing industry, which recorded double-digit increases for all key economic indicators: production, exports, domestic supplies and consumption.

With these results, the Italian industry in the sector has once again reaffirmed itself as one of the most important players on the international stage. In particular, it was fifth in the production rankings, losing a position ahead of the US, fourth among exporters and fourth among consumers, climbing a position compared to last year.

In 2022, despite the climate of general uncertainty, the positive trend will continue decisively. For this reason, the Italian sectoral industry should reach new records for most of the indicators.

This is the summary picture illustrated by the President of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE Barbara Colombo this morning on the occasion of the shareholders’ meeting where the President of CONFINDUSTRIA, Carlo Bonomi, spoke.

The final balances 2021

According to the final data processed by UCIMU’s Centro Studi & Cultura di Impresa, Italian production of machine tools, robots and automation in 2021 amounted to 6,330 million euros, an increase of 22.2% compared to 2020. Consumption increased by 40.7% to 5,009 million, resulting in an increase in both domestic deliveries (+ 35.1%, 3,135 million) and imports (+ 51.1%, 1,874 million).

Exports also increased and in 2021 amounted to 3,195 million euros, 11.7% more than the year before. The export-to-production ratio fell from 55.2% in 2020 to 50.5% in 2021.

In 2021, the main outlet markets for the Italian offer were: Germany (353 million, + 22.2%), the United States (336 million, -10.1%), China (228 million, + 1.7%), Poland (177 million, + 23.5%), France (176 million, + 11.3%), Turkey (129 million, + 28.7%), Russia (103 million, + 2.9%), Spain (99 million, + 4.4%).

The positive results of the Italian industry in the sector were reflected in the level of utilization of production capacity, whose annual average has increased significantly, going from 65% in 2020 to 80.2% in 2021. The order book is also growing, which was 7.3 months guaranteed production, compared to 5 months the year before.

Sector turnover reached 9,174 million euros.

Forecasts 2022

As shown by the forecasts prepared by the UCIMU Business Studies & Culture Center, the growth trend in 2022 will continue decisively.

Production will amount to 7,150 million euros, 13% more than the year before, marking a new record in the history of Italian industry in the sector.

Consumption will grow to a record value of 5,670 million euros (+ 13.2%), which will drive deliveries from domestic producers, which will reach a new record and reach 3,520 million euros (+ 12,3%). Imports will also increase to a value of 2,150 million euros (+ 14.7%).

Exports will grow to DKK 3,630 million. (+ 13.6%) to return to the level 4 years ago (2018).

According to UCIMU processing on ISTAT data, the main markets for the Italian machine tool offering in the first three months of 2022 were: USA (93 million, + 40.5%), Germany (62 million, -29, 3%), China (45 million , -0.1%), France (40 million, + 3.8%), Poland (35 million, -14.6%), Spain (30 million, + 86.2%), Russia (20 million, – 40.8%), Mexico (19 million, -13.1%), Turkey (18 million -59.7%) and India (17 million + 17.8%).

Business policy comments and suggestions

Barbara Colombo, President of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, said: “Today we live in a paradoxical situation: Italian producers are full of orders like never before, but they are only able to produce some of the orders that are collected between the end of 2021 and this first half of 2022. And if scarcity and rising commodity prices represents a problem that is gradually declining, however, in the coming months we will continue to have difficulty finding components electronically. Then there is the problem of the staggering increase in energy costs, a phenomenon that drives up inflation and has a direct impact on production costs in many sectors upstream and downstream of the supply chain in which we operate. That is why we believe that all interventions aimed at finding new energy sources on the one hand and on the other hand to limit the disproportionate growth in prices are fundamental to avoid blocking production activity next autumn “.

To these problems comes the great uncertainty caused by the profound transformation that affects the automotive industry and all its enormous induced in relation to the goal defined by the EU, to put an end to the production of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035 ”.

“Based on the comparison between the realities, including UCIMU, which participates in the working table managed by MISE, our government authorities have expressed Italy’s clear position on the need to ensure a gradual transition to green production of motor vehicles, in the name of what we have defined as technological neutrality. “.

“In Italy, we have a strong and entrenched tradition in car manufacturing, which includes not only the production of vehicles but also the production of components, mostly manufactured by small and medium-sized enterprises present in the supply chains of the automotive industry worldwide. “The world, starting from Germany. We ourselves dedicate about 50% of national machine building to the automotive industry. This huge macro-sector represents a legacy that must be preserved, also because it is the fruit and expression of Italian knowledge and know-how”.

“For this reason,” said the President of UCIMU, “we absolutely do not want to oppose the change. to orientate themselves on new productions and alternative sectors, and which ensures the associated vocational training “.

“On the other hand, the Italian machine tool industry is extremely sensitive to the issue of green production and in fact transition 4.0 present in the latest generation of production technologies is the answer to the need to provide solutions and systems that are capable of guaranteeing a sustainable approach to manufacturing “.

The modernization of “Officina Italia” has been initiated and supported by the 4.0 incentives that have been in place for more than five years, but the digital transformation of the facilities and the expansion of production capacity have certainly not been completed and must therefore continue. therefore, we ask the public authorities to consider a structural measure to encourage the replacement of obsolete machinery and the introduction of 4.0 technologies, and at the same time we ask the government to extend and simplify the operation of the training tax deduction. ”

“People are the critical success factor for our companies. And it is especially young people. For this reason, we believe that an important investment by the country in all these schools of all types and levels – vocational schools, technical institutes, ITS, universities and post. -graduate courses – are fundamental, whose address is directly based in the world of manufacturing and the high technology rate, especially For us, we entrepreneurs are obliged to build an offer tailored to the needs of today’s graduates, so that it becomes more attractive to graduates and graduates. However, we ask for more support from the state authorities to be recognized removal of the tax wedge “which should be extended to all workers, but pending discussions on the possible implementation, it must necessarily be applied immediately to young people who are employed, in order to facilitate their inclusion in our staff, who must be able to count on a necessary generational change”.

Finally, the President of UCIMU concluded, for a sector that exports half of its production,internationalization it can not be a choice: it is a must, even in particularly complicated moments like the present. We will therefore continue to monitor emerging markets, but without losing sight of traditional markets “.

“The health crisis, and the war in Ukraine, then showed the fragility of a system based on the extremization of the concept of globalization. Production and procurement of goods, including strategic, from very distant places or places marked by high levels of instability have created many problems for value chains that are gradually being shortened today. For this reason, European manufacturing is reorganizing itself and favoring more and more supplies and close collaborations, according to geography and culture. This means that we Italian producers must pay close attention to the (EU) Union and the United States. By once again leveraging our flexibility and ability to respond to beat our competitors over time, repositioning ourselves, now that new spaces are being created, within the new supply chains “.

Fundamental to the business of promotion of the Made in Italy sector then the participation in international fairs abroad and in Italy as they are able to attract operators from all over the world. That is why we consider all the measures aimed at encouraging companies to participate to be very important. The action taken by trade associations and exhibition districts to emphasize the strategic nature of the exhibition tool, which is still today the most important moment for the promotion of companies in the sector, has these days led to the inclusion of “change in the aid decree, which allows a bonus of 10 thousand euros for Italian companies participating in international fairs taking place in Italy before the end of 2022 “:

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