A Fifty Year History, a Future to Be Shared

It is ASSOFLUID’s golden anniversary and there’s a new president for ASSIOT: at the special event held on June 11th, the reasons to celebrate were a plenty. ASSOFLUID were delighted to confirm the excellent state of health of an association in constant growth over the last fifty years, while the new ASSIOT president will be in charge of setting up the conditions enabling a further push forward for the group. A new, shared strategy is also on the horizon creating stronger overall support for the sector as a whole.

by Silvia Crespi e Fabrizio Dalle Nogare

It all started in a year that would signal epochal social, political and cultural change – 1968 – a group of brave entrepreneurs, aware of the necessity of greater representation across the oil-hydraulic and pneumatic sector ploughed the furrow that would lead to the setting up of the ASSOFLUID association. Exactly fifty years have passed and the 13 companies that started the journey have now become 180, including both Italian companies and multi-nationals with branches on Italian soil. The fluid power sector now turns over €4.4bn with over 23.000 employees, making it the world’s fifth biggest market of its kind. Periods of growth, constant willingness to promote open channels of communication with associates, the commitment to supply the most accurate sectorial data possible, the difficult years of recession and gradual recovery: these are just some of the memories the previous association presidents have (receiving an award for their efforts at this event) and from the current president, Domenico Di Monte, literally feeling at home in the beautiful surroundings of Villa Fenaroli near Brescia on June 11th, as the annual assembly got underway.
ASSIOT (Association of Gears and Transmission Elements Manufacturers) General Assembly was being held at the same time. Following the public meeting, jointly organized by the two associations, Stefan Pan, Italian industrial association vice president, and Sandro Salmoiraghi, Federmacchine president, took to the floor. The day was rounded off in fine style with a gala dinner, the cutting of the cake and the setting free of hundreds of green balloons, in the ASSOFLUID colours.

A healthy association that cannot afford to sit on its laurels
A glorious past, without question, but future prospects must never be neglected, the association needs to maintain its youthful glow. Everyone knows the world is changing and markets possibly even faster. “Technological and sectorial cross contamination is revolutionizing competition – said Di Monte during his report – the role of the association is to keep pace with this change. We believe that fragmenting the sector is most certainly the wrong way to go and, for this reason, we see ASSIOT, above all, as the perfect partner with whom to strengthen synergies and collaboration. Automation, fluid power, transmission and power control are the macro areas around which future strategy will be built together with trusted partners”.
These are the words of the ASSOFLUID president, which map out the future, the near future rather a distant one. “We believe in the importance of an association’s raison d’etre, the strategy that defines you, following this, operative questions can be addressed”.
Thus, participation in national industrial planning decisions becomes a natural role for a sector whose production and revenues – both in the oil-dynamic and pneumatic fields – are in constant growth and now back at pre-recession levels. A result difficult to imagine just a few years ago.

New figures boosting the profile of the association
The ASSIOT general assembly was particularly content rich. The presidency of Tomaso Carraro, at the helm for the last nine years, came to a close. The assembly opened with warm thanks being displayed toward the outgoing president who then looked back over the previous year as well as the whole duration of his mandate. Memories ranging from the celebrations for the association’s fortieth anniversary, to his election as EUROTRANS vice president; from the arrival of Federmacchine, to the inception of synergy with ASSOFLUID that has brought with it a series of joint projects, and, finally, the opening of the new HQ near Milan in July 2017, togethe with ASSOFLUID’s friends. A video was shown followed by comments on sectorial data which had been presented at the Spring Economic day. The excellent performance of both the internal market as well as exports meant that trade balance stood at +15.5% growth on 2017. Production was at €7bn 300 million. This year’s expected figures were also confirmed both for internal and export markets. Another positive trend is the expansion of both the size of average companies in the field and their turnover. The key moment of the ASSIOT assembly was the nomination of the new president and board. A landslide victory went to Assunta Galbiati (Galbiati Group), who will be flanked by two vice presidents, Mauro Rizzolo (Schaeffler Italy) and Lorenzo Cattini (Cattini & Figlio). “I am proud to be given this prestigious role – declared a delighted Assunta Galbiati – to which I will dedicate all possible efforts and commitment”. Galbiati then introduced the new board and spoke of her desire to achieve continuity with the outgoing committee, while, at the same time, bringing in her own new programmes.

Uniting strength for best possible sectorial representation
After the budget presentation and approval and the auditors’ report, Tomaso Carraro presented the “Better representation together” project, a key issue that ASSIOT and ASSOFLUID have been jointly developing over recent months and which foresees the merging of ASSIOT and ASSOFLUID with the possibility of involving other associations in the near future. “The goal of the merger – confirmed the secretary Fabrizio Cattaneo – is to have a single home based on the pillars of motion, drive & control technology. An expanded association including supply chain partners and resellers”. Confirming the importance of operating with a strong view of supply chain, many partners were also present including Carl Zeiss, Klingenberg, AM Testing, DMG Mori Italy, CISAM and SECO TOOLS Italy all illustrating how crucial their contribution to the association now is.

A focus on manufacturing,  the real engine of the country
The ASSIOT and ASSOFLUID assemblies were followed by a public session, again jointly organized by the two associations under the “guidance” of Domenico Di Monte. Following the presentation of the mechanical/fluid power transmission macro-sector performance (+17.3% for the joint performance of the two associations) two very interesting presentations took centre stage.
The first, held by Sandro Salmoiraghi, Federmacchine president, brought up data well worth a second look: the two associations contribute 25% of total Federmacchine turnover. Salmoiraghi stressed the importance of the Italian manufacturing sector in terms of the European context. “Italy’s contribution is fundamental” – he declared -. “The economy minister’s plan has boosted investment thanks to state funded trade in deals on obsolete machinery, and our sincere hopes are that the plan continues unchanged. It is essential that our future politicians are long sighted in this respect”.
Salmoiraghi also underlined the problem of lack of qualified resources leading to a gap between demand and supply of candidates of a certain level.
Stefan Pan gave the Italian industrial association’s point of view. “What type of gearing is the machinery of the future going to need?” This must be where a strategy begins. “We have seen economic expansion over the last five years – but risks to this continued recovery are lurking around every corner. Strong industrial growth is essential to the GDP of a nation, it is its lifeblood that then finances further services down the line. The culture of “new manufacturing” must be the priority.