Desk Report: After a positive 2022, the Italian textile machinery industry looks with optimism to the current year. In 2023, after eight years, ITMA, the most important trade fair in the sector, returns to Milan. It is an opportunity to highlight the excellence of Italian technology and stimulate new investments in the textile industry.
Promoted by ACIMIT, the Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers, a press conference was held on 15 March at Villa Frua (Stresa, Italy) to unveil Italian participation in ITMA, the leading textile machinery exhibition, scheduled from 8 to 14 June at Fiera Milano – Rho.
During the event, Alessandro Zucchi, President of ACIMIT, showed the preliminary figures for 2022. Both Italian production and exports of textile machinery increased by more than 10% compared to the previous year. The production value exceeded 2.6 billion euros. Of this value, 87%, or around 2.3 billion euros, was realised abroad. Italian exports went mainly to Asia and Europe. Overall, the two areas absorbed 79% of foreign sales. China, Turkey, India and the United States of America were the main destinations of Italian sales abroad in 2022.
Alessandro Zucchi: “The positive results do not, however, cancel out the obstacles that companies still face in this period. The critical issues following the Covid-19 pandemic have been amplified by the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Even in early 2023, unfavourable conditions to business still exist, such as high inflation, constraints on the functioning of value chains, and energy commodity prices above the average of recent years. However, forecasts prepared by our Economic Office show an improvement in the second half of the year and in the 2024-26 period, which gives us hope”.
With these forecasts, ITMA2023, the leading trade fair for the textile machinery industry, to be held in June in Milan, could be the driving force able to stimulate investment in the textile sector, not only the Italian one. Zucchi commented: “Our manufacturers are very confident about next June’s event. As shown by the figures on the Italianpresenceatthe event: almost 400 Italian exhibitors, about 36,000 square metres, with an increase in the occupied surface area of over 20% compared to the previous edition held in Barcelona. 30% of the total exhibition area at ITMA 2023 will be taken up by Italian machinery manufacturers”.
During the press conference, the various initiatives that ACIMIT, with the support of the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), has put in place to promote Italian participation in ITMA were announced. Roberto Luongo, the General Director of ITA, stated: “The Italian textile machinery industry represents one of the leading production sectors for our country due to its strong projection on international markets. Our textile technologies are considered to be of a high-quality level, and for us at ITA this represents an element of great pride and satisfaction, which pushes us to support Italian companies in an increasingly convinced and decisive manner, through an effective collaboration, now consolidated and tested, with ACIMIT.
ITMA is a unique opportunity for the Italian textile machinery industry, due to the high number of exhibitors and the tens of thousands of visitors it usually attracts. As ITA we have therefore prepared, in accordance with ACIMIT, an extensive project aimed at promoting the Italian textile machinery sector through the enhancement of the three drivers that distinguish it: technology, digitalization and sustainability. We will have an incoming of 140 top foreign buyers from 25 different Countries; this will be accompanied by an intense and widespread communication campaign in Italy and abroad that will significantly contribute to increasing the presence at the event of professional operators from all over the world. There will be several training events, focusing mainly on the innovations presented by Italian companies at ITMA 2023, with a special focus on sustainable technologies and digitisation processes. And then there will be the Italian Textile Technology Awards, organised by ITA and ACIMIT. Prizes will be awarded to the 18 most deserving students from textile universities in those Countries where Italian Textile Technology Training Centres are active or are being set up: Bangladesh, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru and Vietnam”.
The promotional campaign through social and traditional channels was also particularly significant. The concept that distinguishes ACIMIT communication activities towards ITMA 2023 is SHAPING THE FUTURE. “The Italian textile machinery sector, explains the president of ACIMIT, has shown in recent years that it knows how to look ahead to create innovation and strengthen a technological leadership that is now established and recognised internationally. Shaping the future is a concept that aims to show how Italian manufacturers are key players in the development of the entire textile supply chain, able to outline virtuous paths that testify to the proactive nature of the entire sector and that enable the future of the sector to be shaped through the three pillars, technology, digitalization, and sustainability, which are also the key themes of ITMA 2023”.
At the Milan edition of ITMA, a trade show that has always been characterised by the high level of innovation of its technological proposals, sustainability and digitalization will be the main topics of discussion. Alessandro Zucchi: “The textile supply chain is moving towards increasingly competitive production processes, where the reduction of production costs, through lower consumption of water, energy and raw materials, is combined with attention to the environment. Equally important is the ongoing digital transformation of companies, a process that will enable technology suppliers and their customers to operate more and more constructively and efficiently”.
During the conference on the topic of sustainability and digitalization, five ACIMIT member companies also spoke, bringing their company experiences: Flainox, Itema, Marzoli, Salvade, and Sperotto Rimar.
Their contributions highlighted the validity of the projects that ACIMIT has been pursuing for some years now in the field of sustainability and digitalization, namely the Sustainable Technologies project, with the Green Label as the core of the initiative, and the digital certification called ACIMIT Digital Ready. Both projects testify to the commitment of Italian manufacturers in two areas of strategic significance to consolidate the leadership of Italian textile technology also in the future.
With the Green Label, certifying the environmental and economic performance of textile machinery, member companies undertake to reduce the CO2 emissions of their machines through constant technological improvement. With Digital Ready, on the other hand, the aim is to standardize the production and management data of Italian textile machines and their ability to be digitally integrated at the customer’s plant. Alessandro Zucchi concluded: “We believe that the future of textiles that we want to shape lies in a sustainable and digitised technological supply”.
ACIMIT, the Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers, represents an industrial sector that comprises roughly 300 manufacturers (employing around 13,000 people), which produce machinery for an overall worth of around 2.6 billion euros, of which 87% are exported. Creativity, sustainable technology, reliability and quality are the hallmarks that have made Italian textile machinery worldwide leaders.
ITA – Italian Trade Agency is the Governmental agency that supports the business development of our companies abroad and promotes the attraction of foreign investment in Italy. With a motivated and modern organization and a widespread network of overseas offices, ITA provides information, assistance, consulting, promotion and training to Italian small and medium-sized businesses. Using the most modern multi-channel promotion and communication tools, it acts to assert the excellence of Made in Italy in the world.