The year now ending has seen historic gains for machine tool builders, a point reconfirmed by the Italian machine-tool, robot, and automation system suppliers trade association in its recent 2018 summary and 2019 outlook report. UCIMU-Sistemi per Produrre reported its membership registered double-digit increases for 2018 in several indicators (production levels, domestic deliveries, and exports), though its research division predicts 2019 will be characterized by a general stability.
The UCIMU Studies Dept. reported its members’ 2018 production increased 13.4% over 2017 to €6.9 billion ($7.85 billion), the fifth consecutive year of growth for that index, and a new record for Italian manufacturing.
Italian buyers took delivery of €3.27 billion ($3.72 billion) worth of capital equipment, 21.1% more than in 2017. Exports of Italian machine tools rose 7.2% from last year to €3.63 billion ($4.13 billion.)
UCIMU reported that data available for January-August 208 showed in the main destination for its members’ exported products were Germany €246 million (+11.6%); China €237 million (+7.1%); United States €223 million (+9.5%); Poland €143 million (+49.8%); and France €135 euro (-4.6%).
Massimo Carboniero, president of UCIMU, commented: “We are satisfied with the outcome of 2018: the year is closing with excellent results, collected both in Italy and abroad. Moreover, considering the sales on the whole, i.e. not only of machines, but also by adding the production of parts, tools and numerical controls, which are not included in the total of Italian machine tools, we can say that the turnover exceeded €9 billion ($10.2 billion).”
He continued: “For 2019, although we are confident about maintaining the results of 2018, we notice an evident slowdown of investments in new machines by Italian users. Of course, we can understand that the growth we were used to cannot continue uninterruptedly with that pace and intensity. However, it is important to keep in mind that a recent survey … shows that only 50% of the Italian metalworking and engineering enterprises made investments in the period between the year 2017 and the first part of 2018.
“For this reason,” Carboniero added, “it would be necessary to continue on the way already traced by innovation, thus confirming, also for 2019, the measures that have worked well ‘til now.”