At a special press conference in Stresa, northern Italy on March 15th, ahead of the ITMA textile machinery show in Milan this June, ACIMIT, the Italian textile machinery association, reported convincing preliminary results for 2022.
Textile machinery with a total value of over €2.6 billion was produced in Italy last year, up 11% on 2021, with exports up 12%, with a value of approaching €2.3 billion.
China remains the biggest export market for Italian machines but 2022 sales worth €244 million were flat compared to 2021. Major gains in sales last year, however, were recorded to India, up 86% to €153 billion, Vietnam, up 119% to €49 billion, and Uzbekistan, up 197% to €53 million as a result of that country’s major modernisation drive.
This performance was achieved despite the well reported problems facing machine builders globally.
“Critical issues following the Covid-19 pandemic have been amplified by the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict,” said ACIMIT president Alessandro Zucchi. “Moving into 2023, unfavourable conditions continue such as high inflation, constraints on the functioning of value chains and above average energy prices. However, forecasts from our Economic Office give us cause for some optimism.”
Working with the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), ACIMIT has continued to explore the potential of growing markets, with regular trade delegations and training centres now established in Bangladesh, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru and Vietnam.
“We have established an extensive project aimed at promoting the Italian textile machinery sector,” said ITA general director Roberto Luongo. “At ITMA 2023, for example, we will welcome 140 top buyers from 25 countries in addition to organising a widespread communication campaign around the exhibition.”
Close to 400 Italian exhibitors will participate at ITMA 2023, accounting for around 30% of the event’s floor space.
Representatives from the companies Marzoli, Salvadé and Sperotto Rimar spoke at the conference of ACIMIT’s ongoing Green Label initiative to certify the environmental and economic performance of individual machines. Some 47 companies are participating in the scheme and have so far certified 1,600 separate machines since 2016. The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions through ongoing technological improvement.
A more recent ACIMIT initiative is Digital Ready certification, designed to simplify production processes by exploiting a standard language and a data reading system that allows different types of machinery to interface within production systems.
It has been developed in partnership with the Manufacturing Group at Politecnico of Milano to provide standardisation of the machine’s management and production data and simplify use.
The international certification body RINA, a long-standing ACIMIT partner, is authorised to issue the certification to associated member companies based on a framework that includes identification of the machine and collection of data, an analysis of all documents and on-the-spot audits and verifications. The certification has a duration of five years.
“For the textile sector, digital transformation involves achieving a complex balance between modernisation and technological advancement while maintaining a focus on the creativity and craftsmanship that remains crucial to securing success in the international arena,” said Zucchi.
“Much progress has been made by Italian textile machinery manufacturers since the last ITMA in 2019 in enabling digital transformation in the three critical stages of design and planning, production and machine and parts maintenance. We believe that the future of the textile industry we want to shape lies in a sustainable and digitised supply chain, starting with the technology, and visitors to ITMA 2023 will see many concrete examples of the progress ACIMIT member companies are making.”