As every year, AMAFOND's traditional annual convention is held in Rezzato near Brescia, this time to mark the association's 75th anniversary and under the chairmanship of new president Riccardo Ferrario.
On behalf of Amafond's 100 member companies, Ferrario welcomed representatives of Italian foundries, suppliers and some distinguished guest speakers, emphasising both concern about another difficult year still marked by the pandemic and other unforeseeable critical problems, and moments of enthusiasm about the long-awaited recovery, still immature, and optimism for the near future.
Italy in the fight against the pandemic
The future begins in the present, thanks to the steps Italy has taken in these 18 months in the fight against the pandemic.
Entrepreneurs have worked hard to make factories safe, they have done what needed to be done and special thanks go to President Draghi and his government, who proved to be doers and not procrastinators, as the improved national recovery and resilience plan shows.
The Italian recovery will lead to GDP growth of more than 6% by the end of the year Italy is thus growing faster than Germany and the European average, but the real problem is to give continuity to this growth by making the best use of the huge financial resources made available.
The challenge is the growth rate from 2022 onwards and it is necessary to deal with the constraints and obstacles:
These are increases in raw materials, especially metals, in some cases in double digits, but also the disproportionate and even speculative increase in energy costs. The consequences for the foundry sector , which is itself tied to metals and very energy-intensive, could be dramatic.
The cost of sea transport to and from China, which has increased tenfold in one year, and to the shortage of semiconductors, which hampers the automotive industry, a major market for the vast majority of foundries.
China, on the other hand, has long secured a dominant position in technologies and components essential for environmental sustainability, from metals and rare earths used in batteries to the latest generation of photovoltaics.
For all the challenges mentioned, Ferrario calls for quick and effective responses at the international level.
In addition, there is one issue that is of utmost importance specifically for the foundry industry, the energy transition, especially for the automotive sector.
The AMAFOND president outlines two prerequisites:
"We are absolutely in favour of leaving an environmentally sustainable world for our children, and we absolutely want to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid very serious and costly environmental disasters.
We also strongly believe that we can only be competitive in 2030 if we keep the bar high for technological innovation and do not lag behind in order to compete in Europe."
Transmission requires due time and openness to technology
The path to climate neutrality does not happen overnight. Riccardo Ferrario is very much aware and in agreement with the delegates that this process needs time, new incentives as well as the necessary infrastructure.
The entrepreneur argues that all-electric drives should not be canonised on their own, but that openness to technology should be given a chance in order to have a chance on the domestic market and that society should also be given time to follow the process.
This conversion must be technology-neutral and socially compatible, and it must also include the highly developed internal combustion engine, hydrogen technology and hybrid models.
The restructuring of the industry would take time and should be feasible for the companies, that had to be made clear to the politicians and the companies, which were prepared to do a lot, had to be supported.
The excellent guest contributions, which provided the event with interesting background knowledge and impulses despite all the challenges, were a perfect match for these topics.
- Professor Achille Fornasini, lecturer at the University of Brescia and expert on the raw materials sector.
- Paolo Groff, Managing Director of the Gnutti Carlo Group, a group that has invested heavily in internationalisation.
- Roberto Vavassori, Brembo Group and an expert in the automotive sector.
- Dr. Roberto Luongo, General Director of the ICE Agency
- Fabio Zanardi, the new president of Assofond, the association of Italian foundries
There is a lot to do and the industry has big tasks ahead and this evening was characterised by self-confidence and assurance despite all the problems.
AMAFOND is the Italian Association of Foundry Suppliers, founded in 1946, a reference point for operators in the sector offering technical, regulatory, economic and legislative services.
The Association aims to coordinate, protect and promote the technical and economic interests of the foundry supplier’s sector.
AMAFOND is a founding member of CEMAFON, CEMAFON is the European Foundry Equipment Suppliers Association.