Italian machine tool orders grow again in fourth quarter 2021

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In Italy machine tool orders grow strikes +49.4%. It is a record even on a yearly basis (+70.1%).

Barbara Colombo, president of UCIMU: “The collection of machine tool orders is satisfactory, but affected by the delays in the supplies of raw materials and components and by the exorbitant increase of costs. We ask the Government to move, from April to June 2022, the delivery terms of machines ordered by the end of 2021, to ensure our customers the benefits established in the incentive measures regarding Industry 4.0”.

A record-breaking value that has never been registered in history before

In the fourth quarter 2021, the index of machine tool orders processed by the Economic Studies Department & Business Culture of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE showed a 49.4% upturn versus the period October-December 2020. The absolute value of the index was 129.1 (base 100 in 2015). It is a record-breaking value that has never been registered in history before.

The outcome was due to the positive trend of the orders collected in the foreign markets, as well as to the excellent performances in the domestic market.

A brilliant 2021

It was not only the fourth quarter that highlighted an outstanding performance, but also the whole year and all the four quarters of 2021, compared with the corresponding reference periods.

Barbara Colombo, president of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, pointed out: “The year 2021 was extremely satisfactory for Italian machine tool manufacturers, as proven by the trend of the orders index over the 12 months. Its upturn was due, on one hand, to the partial recovery of sales abroad and, on the other hand, to the dynamism of Italian demand, also supported by the Government incentives of Transition 4.0”.

“This unexpected growth of orders, all of them concentrated in a reduced time – stressed the president of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE – combined with the scarce availability of raw materials and electrical and electronic components due to the interruption of supply chains, especially those linked to the Far East – is currently putting our enterprises to a hard test. Our companies are compelled to postpone the deliveries of machines ordered by the customers, waiting to receive materials”.

“If conditions do not substantially change, machine tool manufacturers may have difficulties in ensuring that the machines ordered in 2021 are delivered by 30 June 2022, a deadline by which customers can take advantage of tax benefits according to the Government measure 2021.”

Two big problems for Italian manufacturers

“Moreover, – continued Barbara Colombo – there are two big problems that Italian manufacturers have to face and for which they require particular attention from the Government authorities. The first one concerns the production costs that the industry has to pay. We are experiencing enormous rises in the prices of raw materials, components and energy. Of course, we cannot recharge these increases to our customers. The second problem regards the necessity of being present in the foreign markets, where more than 50% of our sector production is exported. With specific reference to machine tools, beside the sales activity that cannot certainly be carried out remotely, except in exceptional cases, there are activities of installation and final testing, for which employees have to be sent overseas. Therefore, we hope that the Government authorities in charge will act accordingly, in order to facilitate the bureaucracy related to travelling and business trips”.