From the food products that we find on the supermarket shelves and the books that we peruse in the bookshop to the houses that we live in and the cars that we drive: “behind the scenes” of our economy’s most central production sectors, lies a lengthy chain of outstanding and technological industrial machinery, a world of technologies that spans from the processing of materials, such as the wide range of plastics (used, for example, to make products, build car components or insulate and heat-insulate buildings) to the processing of raw materials and their packaging (for both food products such as pasta and cold cuts and those for personal care), and finally the printing of the packaging or personalised graphics, which transform each and every object into a means for communication, before arriving at the important role that the goods’ storage and handling systems have on the supply chain and optimisation of costs.
Industrial machinery in fact has a central role in many different yet complementary sectors and represents an important industry in Italy, which, according to the preliminary data for 2017, is worth 23.6 billion euros in terms of overall turnover and employs over 70,000 individuals. This said, industrial machinery constitutes, above all, a powerful driving force for “made in Italy” exports - i.e. created in Italy to be sold abroad - considering that an average of 70% of the technologies produced in these sectors is exported (sources: Italian associations Acimga, Amaplast, Anima, Argi and Ucima).
An essential industrial community that - owing to the offer provided by national and international leading brands - will be systematically on display for the first time at an event dedicated to the production chain as a whole. The Innovation Alliance, at Fiera Milano from May 29 to June 1, 2018, will in fact bring together five specialised exhibitions that each represent leading events in their relative sectors. The project is promoted by Fiera Milano, which is committed to supporting the development of system events and industry trade fairs, understood as business tools, as well as growth opportunities for the individual sectors involved.
For the very first time, the following trade shows will be taking place simultaneously: Ipack-Ima, the leading event for technologies in the processing and packaging industry; Meat-Tech, the event specialised in processing and packaging for the meat industry; Plast, the event of reference for the plastic and rubber industry; Print4All, the new format dedicated to the commercial and industrial printing industry; Intralogistica Italia, the event that combines innovative solutions and integrated systems destined for industrial handling, warehouse management, material storage and picking operations.
The Innovation Alliance will be an opportunity to share knowledge and strategies and confirm the cross-cutting nature of an innovative production chain that is increasingly looking towards the opportunities provided by Industry 4.0, so as to offer more added value for both the production sector that it serves and the end customer, the unknowing beneficiary of these organisations.
A project that the Italian and international markets have welcomed with great enthusiasm, considering the significant numbers already achieved with over six months still to go until opening day: a total of 112,800 square metres and 1,662 direct exhibitors from 42 countries, with good prospects for growth in the coming months.
Within such a frame, almost 800 direct exhibitors (besides 250 represented companies) have already applied to Plast 2018 (the updated list is available at www.plastonline.org), covering around 95% of available space.
To round out the technology and materials on display for the plastics and rubber sector (core and secondary machinery, equipment, auxiliary, moulds, virgin and recycled raw materials, semi-finish and finish products, services), Plast 2018 will also feature three satellite fairs: Rubber 2018 (in collaboration with Assogomma), 3D Plast (3D printing and associated technologies), and Plast-Mat (innovative materials).
Plast will thus represent the most important European date in 2018 for the plastics and rubber industry.
The Innovation Alliance will essentially occupy the entire area that constitutes the Fiera Milano exhibition district, representing the largest event dedicated to industrial machinery in Italy and one of the leading sector events in Europe. A highly interesting opportunity for industrial sector operators from all over the world. The specialised offering provided by the five events will be the focus of the exhibition project; however, there will of course also be opportunities for cross-cutting reflection as regards new materials, novel technologies and indispensable research and development opportunities to enable companies to continue to be competitive in today’s market.
The importance of these production sectors for Italy is demonstrated by the overwhelmingly positive forecasts for the year 2017. In fact, of the sectors represented by The Innovation Alliance, the industrial printing and converting machinery segment has seen growth of 13% and a turnover equivalent to 3.2 billion euros (source: Acimga and Argi). The rubber and plastic processing machinery sector is worth 4.45 billion euros, representing a 5% increase in terms of turnover (source: Amaplast). The packaging and processing sector, with an overall value amounting to 10.8 billion euros, has seen a 5.9% increase in turnover (source: Ipack-Ima Research Centre derived from Ucima and Anima data). Even the internal logistics segment has seen growth of 4%, with an overall turnover equating to 5.2 billion euros (source: Anima).
Italy therefore plays a fundamental role on an international scale and is able to compete on a par with manufacturing giants, such as Germany, the USA and China. An advantage of the Italian offer lies in its ability to innovate and develop tailor-made manufacturing systems, characteristics that have enabled Italy to establish itself as one of the world’s leading exporters.
The key role of industrial machinery in the industrial world is promoted by The Innovation Alliance project, which has promised to be a fundamentally interesting event for the Italian economy as a whole, owing to the fresh impetus and functional production chain model for the generation of innovation, progress and employment, provided by the initiative.