Positive Development Italian Industry for machine tools, robotics and automation happy with 2021 results
Italy — According to Ucimu, the Italian machine tools, robots and automation systems manufacturers' association, 2021 was extremely positive for their industry. The association reported double-digit increases of all key economic indicators.
At the traditional end-of-year press conference, Ucimu's president Barbara Colombo presented positive results achieved by the Italian Industry for machine tools, robotics and automation during 2021. She expects this trend to continue in 2022. As highlighted by the preliminary year’s data processed by the Studies Dept. & Business Culture of Ucimu, in 2021 production reached 6,325 million Euro, marking a 22.1 % upturn compared with the previous year.
The outcome was due to the positive trend on the domestic market, where orders increased by 27.8 % to 2,965 million euro, as well as to the positive performance of exports, achieving 3,360 million euro, i.e. 17.4 % more than in the previous year.
Based on the Istat data analysed by Ucima, in the period January-September 2021 (latest available data), Italian exports of machine tools started to grow again in almost all countries of destination. Sales to Germany, which turned out to be the most important market for the sector, went up to 256 million euro (+38.4 %). The other major markets were the United States, 251 million euro (+9.7 %), China, 154 million euro (-5.3 %), Poland, 118 million euro (+29 %) and France, 117 million euro (+1.2 %).
The domestic market was dynamic: Consumption increased by 30.4 % in 2021, amounting to a value of 4,645 million euro. The export/production ratio went down by two percentage points to 53.1 %.
In line with the upswing reported by these indicators was also the growth of turnover, exceeding the value of 9 billion euro in 2021, after collapsing to 7.5 billion euro in 2020.
Despite the dynamic demand and the associated improvement, the sector was not able to achieve a full recovery after the downturn experienced in 2020 because of the difficulty in sourcing components and raw materials. This caused a delay between the collection of orders and the actual delivery of machinery.
In particular, according to the survey conducted last October by the Ucimu Economic Studies Department & Business Culture on a representative sample of enterprises in the sector, 95 % of the companies said that they experienced delayed supplies. The average delay is three months, which, added to the usual one and a half months makes the delivery time of components and materials increase to four and a half months. According to the interviewed enterprises, the impact of this delay on the delivery time of machinery is estimated at four months. As a result, the average delivery time of machinery is currently nine months instead of the usual five months.
According to Ucimu, the positive trend reported in 2021 should continue. The association expects production to grow to 7,015 million euro (+10.9 % compared to 2021), driven by the upswing of exports, which are forecast to attain 3,620 million euro (+7.7 %) and by the upturn of manufacturers’ deliveries in the domestic market, which are to rise to 3,395 million euro (+14.5 %).
Consumption is also expected to keep growing, reaching 5,205 million euro, corresponding to a 12.1 % increase compared 2021. Imports are also predicted to benefit from the momentum of the Italian domestic demand, marking a 7.7 % rise (compared to 2020), which should bring their value to 1,810 million euro. The export/production ratio is expected to fall to 51.6 %.
Barbara Colombo commented: “The year 2021 was extremely positive for the Italian manufacturers of machine tools, robots and automation systems. Only the lack of some electrical and electronic components and of raw materials hindered the full recovery of the loss registered at the end of 2020, in conjunction with the outbreak of the pandemic”.