It is time of innovating

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In the critical scenario of the European industry, unfortunately the field of machines and technologies for sheet metal working is not an exception. Nevertheless the considerable market value and the mini-recovery that seems in course arouse a cautious optimism in operators. Fortunately the situation is not dramatic everywhere: a significant increase of the sector employees has occurred in Great Britain and in Denmark the productive levels are by now approaching the pre-crisis ones. In Switzerland, Spain and Austria, moreover, the domestic demand is steeply rising. Encouraging prospects are glimpsed in Eastern Europe, last year Russia launched an ambitious plan to support the manufacturing industry named «Industry development and competitive force improvement» with an overall investment widely exceeding ten billion Euros. We estimate that, thanks to it, there will be a triplication of the purchases of metal working machinery. It is worth reminding, finally, the two-figure increment attained by the export of Italian forming machines to USA, where a constant recovery of the manufacturing sector is taking place. This represents a very positive sign for the survival of the Western manufacturing industry. The medium-term expectations of the international market are favourable, too: a growth by about 7% is in fact estimated within 2015. Forecasts are even rosier for the successive years. There are no reasons for being enthusiastic but neither for envisaging a catastrophe! What actions should we undertake to accept positively the market challenge in the next years? Almost all sector players agree about the need of having smart and flexible machines. The focus must be therefore on the higher automation of production processes. That “revolution” is already in course in welding systems where in the next decade we expect the implementation of machines controlled and managed by fully robotized artificial intelligence methodologies and supervised by extremely sophisticated software. The result will be astonishing speed and precision in the machining execution. The constant application of innovation is essential to attain all these peculiarities in the machining process. Concerning this, last year the president of UCIMU Luigi Galdabini, in an interview stated that: … research and development actions are often fruit not only of the excellent work of technical departments but also of the strict collaboration with customers. Therefore, the higher is the customer’s technical level the higher will be the added value reached in new products in terms of innovation. It will then very important to succeed in grabbing the market shares with more complex demands from the technological point of view because on one hand they generally grant a higher economic margin and on the other hand they also impose the enterprise’s technological growth. Over the last few years we have lived, rather than a crisis, a short-term business change that we will be able to overcome only with a strong boost to innovation and with the fruitful collaboration of all players, both private and public.