During this Autumn’s Economic day, jointly organized by ASSIOT and ASSOFLUID, in which sectorial data was presented, the foundation for the merger of the two associations was also announced, a merger which will become reality in 2019. The new, federative association, will have all the tools necessary to achieve the planned growth in the sector’s profile and importance.
by Silvia Crespi
On 24th October, the ASSIOT/ASSOFLUID economic day was held, jointly organized by the two associations to present the economic performance of the Italian Motion & Power Transmission Systems industry. The day was rich with content going beyond that of simple figures. Introductions were made by Fabio Gallo, ASSIOT economic commission president and followed by association presidents, Domenico di Monte of ASSOFLUID and Assunta Galbiati of ASSIOT.
The joint board meeting confirmed the merger of the associations, which will be in full effect in 2019: “Our role will no longer concern product and systems – said Di Monte, but rather technology and services. The new set up with federative organization will seek to increase the profile and voice of the macro sector, offering services and an overall modus operandi that can create added value for associates”. This approach was backed up by Assunta Galbiati, who spoke of greater visibility for the widened membership base, but the achievement of this objective will depend on redefining rules and renewing the very role that the association will play.
Exceeding expectation in both sectors
Fabrizio Cattaneo, ASSIOT secretary presented economic data, which was a pleasure both for the speaker and those listening as forecasted results were not only confirmed, but exceeded across both sectors.
2018 should close with performance positive for the macro-sector, with exports out-performing the domestic market; overall growth standing at 9.4%, domestic market showing +9.2% and +9.8% for exports.
Forecasts are equally positive for both areas: +11.5% for fluid power thanks to the locomotive of exports with power transmission expecting a slightly lower but, nonetheless, impressive +8%.
The macro-sector can expect a global value of around €12bn with a final balance of nearly 10% growth. There are also positive signs in terms of import levels.
Focus on end user markets
Following the data session, focus was moved to user markets. Stefania Pigozzi, from the Federmacchine study centre, provided 2018’s context as well as showing consolidated results for 2017, and very positive they were too! + 9.7% growth for both domestic and export markets. “Federmacchine – she underlined – is highly export oriented: exports up by 7.6 % with 2018 forecasts equally encouraging”. Focusing on export markets, positive results have been registered in North America and Europe, with the oriental area being the only black sheep. Germany remains Italy’s most important importer of goods. Stefania Pigozzi could not help but speak of uncertainty too; in the first semester of 2018, domestic market machine tool orders are down (- 14.4%). Companies are putting the breaks on investment as they await clear signals from government policy. Luca Nutarelli, UNACEA general secretary, the Italian machinery and tool construction association, which is also representing European industry until 2020, used expressions like “caution” and “on hold”. “The CECE congress held in Rome in October, said Nutarelli – brought up positive news such as signals that companies are experiencing difficulties in respecting deliveries due to the high level or orders on their books. But also negative ones due to economic uncertainty, customs tariffs, raw material price oscillation and EU political instability (not only in terms of Brexit) which are stopping companies from planning long term investment”. Despite these worries, growth is being seen across markets, except in China, which has imploded (while India is proving to be highly dynamic). “The European market is finding its feet – Nutarelli went on – boosted by Southern Europe. We have moved from the “big five” (Italy, France, the UK, Germany and Spain) to the “big four” with the last in the list being the drop out… “. According to Nutarelli, Italian growth is thanks to the physiological need to up-date machinery rather than recovery in order volume. Renting (+ 25%) has also had major impact on revenues in the first 6 months of 2018, with, however, deceleration expected in the second semester. Nutarelli also spoke about technological trends: compact machinery like mini-excavators, telescopic lifting machinery, wheeled loaders and so on. These now make up one third of all billing. Hybrid machinery (well established in Japan) could begin to make an impact in Europe, while electric machinery is already being used in mining. The presentation from Paolo Galloso, from the ANIMA study centre, wrapped up the proceedings. This federation brings together companies across various, un-connected, mechanical fields and successfully manages its intent to consolidate a highly heterogeneous sector. Once more, the three year results are highly positive. 2018 should confirm production growth at +2.7%, lower than 2017 (+4.7%), boosted by lifting and movement machinery (+7.2%) and industrial plant (+7.0%). Investment is also up (+8.2%), albeit, slightly down on 2017 (+10.8%). Export growth is also lower than the previous year, with overall value standing at €27.9bn.
Designing client value through Simulation Driven Innovation®
A company at the cutting edge of innovative manufacturing technology was invited to the day. With their Simulation-Driven Innovation™, Altair Engineering transforms design and decision making applying simulation technology, machine learning and efficiency optimization along the entire product cycle. A key element is undoubtedly HyperWorks® , an open source simulation platform for the PLM sector offering design technology and innovative product optimization with maximum efficiency and the highest performance. NanoFluidX® also features in this suite of products, simulating fluid-dynamic contexts. “Simulation Driven Innovation – confirmed Lucia Micol Chietera – transforms digital simulation into a decision making tool: it not only tests a projects across all its variables, but is a real design assistant for each component. Today, software that not so long ago would have been exclusively in the hands of a few IT Gods, is a crucial tool all of us can easily use”.