While an increase of 10.5% for the first quarter of 2012 is good news in the Italian machine tool sector, it doesn't tell the whole story. The increase is solely due to exports which has increase 12% compared to the same quarter last year.
In fact in a presentation at the Lamiera trade show in Bologna, Dr. Ing. Luigi Galdabini, who is managing director of Galdabini and the vice president of UCIMU ( machine tools, robots and automation manufacturing association), pointed out that 80% of his sales are exports. He said that for most companies in his sector, 73% of all sales leaves Italy.
The domestic market has remained stagnant with an increase of 0.1%. This lack of growth concerns the president of UCIMU, Giancarlo Losma. "The continuation of this condition of investment freeze in production technology, forces us all to a careful assessment of the risk of loss of competitiveness of the industrial network of the country, at all levels within the production chain," Losma said.
"The failure to update the production plants directly impacts on the manufacturing processes, and therefore on the products of the 'made in Italy' themselves, which run the risk of being heavily attacked by the foreign offer. The danger that our industrial system may be left behind is even stronger when we consider that the competitors, many of which have recently appeared on the international scenario, are continuing to invest in advanced, efficient, eco-compatible machinery, capable of meeting safety and energy saving requirement, reducing more and more the historic gap with the Italian industry, " Losma explained.
Losma is calling on the government to provide support to the manufacturing industry, especially the small-and medium-sized ones, which account for a large percentage of manufacturing companies, pointing out the sector represents the biggest source of employment.
"Without a precise industrial development strategy, the current downsizing of the manufacturing sector will become an irreparable process, with detrimental consequences for the economic and social frameworks of the country," Losma said.
"Enterprises, and not only those of the machine tool sector, are fighting through their teeth to retain the positions gained, intensifying business in those areas that show liveliness. However, not all of them can operate on the international market: many small production units have been built and set up to operate in the domestic market. It is to them, that the government activities must immediately turn their attention to, ensuring that in such complex situation they will not feel left to themselves," he added.