During the traditional end-of-year press conference, Barbara Colombo — president of Ucimu-Sistemi Per Produrre
, the Italian machine tools, robots and automation systems manufacturers’ association — said 2021 was extremely positive for the Italian industry, which reported ‘double-digit increases for all key economic indicators’. She added that this trend should continue in 2022, when all the ground lost in 2020 should be recovered.
The association’s preliminary data for 2021 shows that production reached 6,325 million euros, marking a 22.1% upturn compared with 2020. The result is attributed deliveries in the domestic market, which increased by 27.8% to 2,965 million euros, and the positive performance of exports, which at 3,360 million euros were 17.4% greater than in 2020.
Sales to Germany went up to 256 million euros (+38.4%), while those to the USA were 251 million euros (+9.7%), to Poland 118 million euros (+29%) and France 117 million euros (+1.2%). At 154 million euros, sales to China were down by 5.3%.
Overall machine consumption by Italy’s domestic market increased by 30.4% in 2021 compared with 2020, reaching a value of 4,645 million euros. However, Ucimu said that despite a high level of demand, the Italian industry represented by the association was not able to achieve a full recovery after the downturn experienced in 2020 because of “the difficulty in sourcing components and raw materials, which caused a delay between the collection of orders and the actual delivery of machinery”.
Indeed, according to an association survey some 95% reported the late delivery of parts and materials, the average delay of three months adding to the normal waiting time of 1.5 months. As a result, the average delivery time of machinery is currently 9 months, compared to the 5 months that manufacturers have historically ‘guaranteed their customers’.
Ucimu is predicting that in 2022 production should grow to 7,015 million euros (+10.9% on 2021), driven by an increase in exports to 3,620 million euros (+7.7%) and by deliveries to the domestic market of 3,395 million euros (+14.5%). The association is also predicting that overall domestic consumption will reach 5,205 million euros — 12.1% more than in 2021.