PLANT takes on Milan: Day 1

Italian OEMs are driven by exports, innovation and value-added.

May 9, 2012
by Matt Powell, Assistant Editor, reporting from Italy

MILAN, Italy: I’ve been in town for about 48 hours on an Italian machinery and technology tour, and already have much to report. During my seven days here, I’ll be posting stories live from trade show floors at the infamous FieraMilano, a super-structure of a convention centre on the outskirts of Milan. It’s housing not one, but three trade shows this week on behalf of Federmacchine, Italy’s federation of more than a dozen associations of manufacturers.

I’ll also head to Bologna, reporting live from the LAMIERA trade show later this week.

I’m in this picturesque city with eight other journalists, all from North America, as part of a delegation hosted by the Italian Trade Commissions of both Canada and the US, and Machines Italia, an initiative designed by the commission to promote Italian-made machinery and technology to manufacturers in North America.

The food and drink have been “fantastico,” but the businesses we’ve visited and the people that run them are the true stars.

Italy is the second largest (to Germany) OEM producer in Europe. Seventy per cent of its industry is driven by exports, according to UCIMU, Federmacchine’s machine tools, robots and automation manufacturers’ association. Just to put the size of Italy’s manufacturing community into perspective, Federmacchine represents 6,300 companies and more than 182,000 people—and that’s not everybody.

Innovation and adding value are topics that have come up in almost every conversation I’ve had here with company and association leaders. Italians see both of these proponents as crucial to business, no matter how well the economy is doing. For instance, one of the businesse we visited (which will be the topic of a post later this week) continues to invest up to 12% of its revenues in R&D, despite losing $90 million worth of business last year.

In terms of value-added, which will also be featured in a post this week, it’s clear the Italians care about providing impecable after-sale and personalized services to ensure their machines operate at the right efficiencies for individual customer needs.

As the week goes on, stay tuned for more content from PLANT takes on Milan.

We’ll look at a number of topics, including company profiles, tradeshow bulletins from the floor at Assofluid and PLAST 2012, a photo and video gallery of innovative products, plus an interview with AMUT president Milani Piergianni.

And I almost forgot…a photo gallery from the Museo Ferrari in Bologna to satisfy our car enthusiasts.

Until tomorrow, arrivederci.

PLANT takes on Milan: Day 2

PLANT takes on Museo Ferrari [PHOTO GALLERY]

PLANT takes on Lamiera [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

PLANT takes on SAES Getters Spa. [VIDEO]