On the 19th of October the spectacular complex of the bamboo labyrinth of Fontanellato (Parma) staged the annual congress of the Italian wire and cable machinery manufacturers association (Acimaf).
The highlight of the event was the presentation of WIRE AND CABLE Verona 2019.
As stated at the opening by the Association's President Ferruccio Bellina, it will be “an international conference dedicated to the wire and cable industry that will welcome operators and journalists from all over the world, organized in collaboration with Wire Association International”. This meeting of professionals of the field aims to become unforgettable: technology, art and good cuisine are going to meet in the landmarks of the city of Verona as Palazzo della Gran Guardia and Palazzo Verità-Poeta. On the sidelines two Plant Tours for ferrous and non-ferrous metals will also be organized. The first one will be hosted by a brand new Pittini mill.
Co-organizers of the next international conference but also congress guests Steve Fetteroll, WAI Executive Director, and Richard Wagner, WAI President and Vice-President of Insteel Inc. Both took the floor, the first one for a brief introduction on the role of the US-based association and its relation with ACIMAF, the second one with a speech focused on the situation and the future prospects of the American industry, especially after the new tariff regulations.
The situation he described is difficult for part of the US industries in the wire field excluded from the protection of the custom duties (such as Insteel Inc.). Those who produce wire and products derived from wire rod have to buy raw material at higher costs because the adoption of custom duties led to increases also from American suppliers, and then they have to resell at low prices – because the products they commercialize are excluded from Section 232 and are therefore subject to the competition of non-US industries which are able to buy wire rod on the international market without the problem of duties. This condition – in Wagner’s opinion – could soon cause very negative effects for profits and jobs.
Among the subjects of the day there was also space for Industry 4.0 and safety at work, thanks to the precious speeches of Andrea Gozzi, Business Development Manager for Industrial Software of Siemens, and Giulio Properzi, President of Continuus-Properzi Spa (soon an article on the subject will be online on Expometals.net).
The concluding speech was given by Paolo Bricco, moderator of the event and journalist of Il Sole 24 Ore (Italy's leading business newspaper), with an interesting update on the Italian destiny of small and medium-sized businesses. His analysis has taken in consideration all the internal and external economic shocks from the ‘90s to nowadays (Tangentopoli, the 2008 economical crisis, the compulsory administration of ILVA, spread increase etc.) which gave a decisive contribution to digging the furrow that separates Italy from Germany: “In Italy we are witnessing a 20-80 dualism, with 20% of the manufacturing companies producing 80% of export and added value, whereas the remaining 80% is composed by companies that survive without enriching themselves (60%) and by companies risking bankruptcy (20%). In order to forecast the economic destiny of the Nation we need to understand which one will prevail, if the 20% or the 80%.”
Internationalization, patents, quality certificates and foreign shares are among the factors that might help companies in improving their turnover and their competitiveness. But, in order to get out from the dualism aforementioned, many efforts from the Italian State are necessary.
The day ended with a lunch and a visit to the art collection and the labyrinth.
The next appointment to mark is in Verona in 2019.
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