Machines, orders are booming in the Northeast, but Asian microchips are lacking

The Northeast fully participates in the positive trend in the Italian machine tools, robotics and automation industries. A sector that has been confirmed at the top of the world. Ucimu-Sistemi per Produce, the industry designers’ association, recorded a national turnover of 9.17 billion euros in 2021 with double-digit increases in production (6.33 billion), exports (3.19 billion), deliveries on the domestic market (3.13 billion), consumption (5 billion). And despite the general climate of uncertainty, it predicts new records in 2022.

In this context, Triveneto is the second largest region in Italy after Lombardy in terms of turnover (20.4% of the national total) and number of employees (28.8%), and the third in terms of exports (19.4%) and number of companies (21.7%) after Lombardy and the Center (Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Marche).

Nordest Economia collected testimonies from four Venetian companies producing metal processing plants: Omera and Salvagnini from Vicenza, Parpas from Padua, Gasparini from Venice. All confirm good, if not excellent, order books for the next 9-12 months, generally mainly thanks to the lively demand from Europe and North America. Important in this sense, at least in some sectors, such as the automotive industry and household appliances, is the impact of recycling processes from Asia to Europe and the United States and public stimuli for investment in industrial technologies. However, severe delays continue on electronic supply chains from the Far East, still far from being shortened, causing production delays and consequent losses in efficiency. Best for metal raw materials. Especially the ferrous ones, which are by far the most used by those who manufacture machinery and equipment for metallurgy, given that the price and availability situation is improving in the international markets. On the other hand, fears are that the rise in expensive energy on corporate margins may worsen in the autumn.

Barbara Colombo

Ucimus’ comment

Barbara ColomboPresident of UCIMU-Systems to produce, says: “Today we live in a paradoxical situation: Italian producers are full of orders like never before, but they are only able to produce part of the orders collected between the end of 2021 and this first semester 2022. And if the scarcity and rise in commodity prices is a problem that is gradually declining, we will continue to have difficulty finding electronic components in the coming months. energy costs, a phenomenon that stimulates inflation and has a direct impact on production costs in many sectors upstream and downstream of the supply chain in which we operate. For this reason, we believe that all interventions that, on the one hand, The aim of finding new energy sources and, on the other hand, limiting the disproportionate growth in prices are fundamental to avoiding the blockage of production activity next autumn ‘.

Massimo Carboniero


The Chiuppano-based company produces hydraulic and mechanical presses, edge cutting machines and automatic plates for sheet metal working. With applications in different sectors: heating, household appliances, household items, automotive, signage, etc. “We have an excellent order book until April-May 2023 worth 25 million euros, but the increase in material costs compared to the orders acquired months ago involves a risk of erosion of margins,” comments the CEO. Problems with the electronic components arriving, fitting and starting from Asia: “Machines with a unit value of 500-700 thousand euros, practically ready, not deliverable because there are no electronic cards worth 500-1000 euros” .

The top markets for Omera are Europe and the United States. “In Europe, the relocation of large industrial groups of some productions from Asia brings the work back to Germany, Spain, Poland, Italy,” explains Carboniero. “We see it in household appliances, but also in the car sector, where the Germans for engines and bodywork, with the need to shorten the supply chain, have resumed cooperation with European and Italian suppliers.” In the US, the manufacturing sector is also doing well despite strong inflationary dynamics. And satisfaction also comes from North Africa, such as Algeria, “where the boom revenue from the sale of hydrocarbons to the state drives public investment in other sectors to buy technologies for industrial production”.

On the cost side, Carboniero confirms the energy problem: For electricity, Omera is 80% self-sufficient in a photovoltaic system, but it also uses a lot of gas. Then the ferrous welded items weigh the most important metal components in the machinery that Omera produces. “The war in Eastern Europe – notes Carboniero – has hit the European manufacturing industry hard because 80% of steel, cast iron and nickel came from Russia and Ukraine. Now there is a vacuum with a relative increase in prices, and the diversification of supply is taking a long time.


Profiling plants, machines and integrated sheet metal processing systems are the specialization of the Mirano-based company, with applications above all in automotive, construction, energy and logistics. Gasparini confirms that it has an important order book from the European and American markets until mid-2023, while the Russian one has stopped, which until 2021 accounted for almost 20% of turnover. Particularly relevant is the demand from companies that produce highly automated shelving for goods storage.

Those from Gasparini are special machines designed to measure according to customers’ wishes, which, however, makes it impossible to fill up on components with planned forecasts in advance. “This is a problem for us right now, especially with electronics from Asia,” the president said Filippo Gasparini. “More than the price of steel, which is falling, they worry about project delivery times: they range from 8 to 12 months, but there will be delays this year. We are told that by the end of 2022, the situation for microprocessors will stabilize, but we do not know on what basis, perhaps because there will be a drop in demand “.

The Cadoneghe-based company produces automatic milling and turning systems. Tailor-made plants for processing different types of materials (steel, aluminum, carbon, etc.) used for processing components for the automotive industry, aerospace, energy production, general mechanics. Markets for a third Europe, a third America, a third Asia. “The increase in orders is good, but at the end of the year we will see what the effect of the increase in costs will have had on the budget. There are significant delays in procurement, and therefore there are significant difficulties in planning the orders to be administered in 2022, ”notes owner Vladi Parpajola. «Steel is essential for electro-welded structures and cast iron for casting, nickel, basic electronic components. And then there is, no matter, the logistics, given that, for example, the price of containers to the United States has almost doubled ». Transport costs, which of course also affect the supply of raw materials, such as metals, which now with the diversification of supply are coming from Asia and South America, which increases the price increase given by the lack of supply compared to the demand and the related speculative effects on the markets.

For sheet metal processing, the Sarego Group has four main product lines: punching machines, panel benders, bending machines, laser cutting machines. “Orders for 2022 will continue at an important pace as in 2021: + 22% compared to 2019. For certain products, we are covered for one year,” explains Francesca Zanettin, Salvagnini’s Marketing Manager. “America and Europe are doing very well, Germany is consolidating the recovery and European incentives have strongly stimulated the Polish market. In Italy, we are experiencing a slight slowdown in 2022 due to uncertainties in the supply chain that cause some customers to assess a postponement of orders. Positive signs also from Asia, which, however, still suffers from Covid restrictions on mobility, and it is difficult to go and install the machines. “

Salvagnini also reports difficulties in finding components, especially electronics, which do not always make it possible to guarantee delivery on time. “We are trying to reduce the nuisances so far we have succeeded”. More than metal raw materials, where the situation appears to be stabilizing, the energy prices expected in the autumn are worrying. The company has a 1,000 square meter plant of solar panels, which, however, are not sufficient to cover the need.

Machine tools and robotics, the Italian sector in the world

According to the final data processed by the Ucimu Business Studies & Culture Center, 2021 was a decidedly positive year for the Italian machine tool, robot and automation manufacturing industry, which recorded double-digit increases for all key indicators. economic: production, exports, domestic supplies, 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.


Last year, Italian production of machine tools, robots and automation amounted to 6.330 million euros, an increase of 22.2% compared to 2020. Consumption increased by 40.7% to 5.009 million, which determines the increase in both domestic deliveries ( + 35.1%, 3,135 million) and imports (+ 51.1%, 1,874 million). And the sector turnover reached the figure of 9,174 million euros.

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. The main markets for Italian supplies 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.

Forecasts 2022

According to Ucimu, Italian production will amount to 7,150 million euros, + 13% compared to 2021, 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 supplies 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%), and thus return to the level 4 years ago (2018).

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