Expectations for METEF-FOUNDEQ 2010 met
505 exhibitors, 37% from abroad, 15,770 specialised visitors
and 30 foreign delegations for an edition that satisfied even the most demanding
For 4 days - from 14 to 17 April - the Garda Exhibition Centre in Montichiari was a stage crowded with meetings, discussions, round tables, innovation and technology related to the aluminium and foundry industry. There were many events and initiatives that were a corollary to the fundamental business encounters that also occurred in the eighth edition of METEF-FOUNDEQ, an event conceived and organized by Edimet, this year dedicated to innovation and internationalization.
"Brescia has always been the Italian and European metals capital" said Saverio Gaboardi. "But in their studies the great economists have not always recognized the capacity for innovation of Brescian businesses. Probably they have not seen it in the numbers ... i.e., on the balance sheet when in fact innovation has always been present in this city and if it were not, we would not have been able to achieve the excellent results we have obtained as worldwide exporters. Today we are able to measure and valorise the innovation "made in Brescia", but we must avoid separations in the innovation programmes we are pursuing, especially in the metals sector. That's why with the METEF 2010 Innovation Award established this year the organisers have decided to recognise the merit and concreteness of some companies in this strategic sector for the national economy”.
The data and trends showing the primacy of the Lombardy Region in innovation presented by Marco Cristofori were also very interesting.
"We created the European Innovation Scoreboard: a synthetic index of innovation in Europe which shows us how, on the basis of surveys in recent years for Italy, the situation is improving but unfortunately our growth still lags behind our competitors" explains Cristofori. "Our rankings are the result of different indicators like the number of researchers and human resources, financial support for innovation by banks, investments by companies in research and development, the number of patents and trademarks or the relationship between public and private. On a Systems level Italy has two major weaknesses: too few researchers, since we are in the third to last place before just Turkey and Malta and a less than optimal system of relations between the public and private sectors. In contrast if we speak at a regional level the Lombardy Region is at the forefront in Europe and by far first in Italy before Emilia Romagna when it comes to Innovation. In 2007 about one fifth of the national expenditure for research and development was conducted in Lombardy.
The need to work together as a system and to invest in quality and innovation to improve the competitiveness of Made in Italy and leave the crisis behind were the underlying themes of the discussion between authoritative spokespeople for industry and institutions during the "Italy 2020: Mechanical technologies or tourism?" round table organized by Assofond, the national federation of foundries, held Friday, the 16th April.
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Italy is the eighth largest producer of castings worldwide
At the centre of the event was the presentation of data on the Italian foundry industry explained by Assofond President Enrico Frigerio and the analysis of developments in the foundry sector, a key sector for revitalizing the Made in Italy manufacturing sector and real "hinge" of the Italian industrial system, with over 1,100 factories in Italy, a total of almost 30,000 people and an 80% impact on the non-ferrous metals sector.
The picture that emerged clearly showed the effects of the crisis on the foundry sector which recorded a 37% decline in overall production compared to 2008, dropping to 1.7 million tonnes overall, with a consequent reduction in turnover by 46% and the number of employees by 9%.
The good news for Italy is that despite the 37% decline in the production of Italian foundries, Italy, with 2.7 million tonnes of aluminium castings produced in 2009, achieved eighth place among world producers in the sector, thus representing 3% of global production of castings. Also significant was the increase in the production of castings accomplished by Italy, which from 2000 to 2008 was around 1.7%.
"Italian companies operating in the foundry industry have a strong potential yet to be expressed, both in terms of innovation and productivity and skilled human capital. To improve the competitiveness of this key sector of our industry a rationalisation project would be worthwhile to reduce the fragmentation in the industry and release new competitive potential" says Assofond President Enrico Frigerio."Despite the crisis Italy is still today the eighth largest producer of ferrous and non ferrous castings and this is an encouraging figure from which to look toward recovery".
"The aluminium casting foundry sees Italy as a long-time leader in Europe" says Mario Conserva, Edimet CEO. "We want to defend this position and we have no intention of resigning ourselves to a continuously evoked deindustrialization process. In this context, the recovery of the automotive industry gives us hope, but we are waiting for tomorrow's results."
The following individuals, among others, participated in the panel discussion: the Honourable Stefano Saglia, Undersecretary for Economic Development; the Honourable Ermete Realacci, representative of the Democratic Party and member of the House Environment Committee; Luca Paolazzi, Director of the Confindustria Studies Centre; Mauro Ferrari Vice President of ANFIA (National Association of the Automotive Industry Chain); and Massimo Goldoni, President of UNACOMA (National Union of Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers).
The next edition of METEF-FOUNDEQ will be held in 2012, from 18th to 21st April.
Foundry-Planet.com was also co-sponsor of the golf tournament on the METEF 2010