A growing industry, which is however facing at all latitudes the challenges of a changing world: this is in summary the portrait of the global spring manufacturers market, as it has been outlined by several experts coming from about twenty different countries during the 9th International Conference of the Springs Industry, held in Taormina (Sicily, Italy) on September 29, 2017.
China, United States, India, Germany, France, Italy, but also Czech Republic, Netherlands, Switzerland: the spring industry of all these countries is committed to face similar problems. For example, the difficulty of finding skilled labor, and the rising cost of raw materials. Each country naturally maintains its own specifics and rhythms. Japan spring manufacturers slow down slightly; US spring industry records a double digit growth. In between there are, among the others, about 185 Italian springs producers - 900 million euros of total annual turnover - complaining about a still too high labor cost. With the appropriate proportions, also the colleagues from the Chinese Association do the same; the manpower cost in the Asian giant has risen by an average of 6.3% per year. What will rub the hands of the Western competitors is a big deal for the Chinese industry. Another problem is also the threat of a possible trade war with the United States, recipients of a 18% share of national exports.
Someone, like the Indian industry representative, also cited another challenge ahead, probably the most demanding one, that is the prospect of a massive introduction of electric vehicles, that will affect car mechanics, and inevitably have an impact on spring suppliers to the automotive industry.
This is in short the picture emerging from the first part of the meeting, which was opened by a big name of Italian journalism: Federico Fubini, deputy director of Corriere della Sera, who explored the theme of migration, and its impact on society and jobs in Europe. Also Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Alfano sent a letter of greetings addressed to the President of ANCCEM Angelo Cortesi, who read it to the assembly.
The congress continued with a series of reports devoted to specific topics under the heading "New developments for spring technology". One speech focused on standard ISO/TC 227, concerning the standardization of metal springs: tolerances, test methods and treatments. Martin Petrich of the German University of Ilmenau then presented two reports, one on composite compression springs and a research by René Reich and Ulf Kletzin about “Prediction of pre-setting value for helical compression springs”. Richard Dignall of the Institute of Spring Technology spoke to the industry specialists about polymer lightweight springs, while prof. Mario Guagliano of the Politecnico of Milan proposed an integrated approach to optimize shot peening, an operation allowing to strengthen and relieve stress in components like springs.
A new device for three-dimensional control of springs quality has been the subject of Sergio Navarro's presentation (Valencia Technological Informatics Institute). Finally Sebastian Hoffmann of the German firm IABG dissertated on the subject “Experimental durability evaluation of coil springs”.
Expometals.net attended the conference as official Media Partner.
The European Spring Federation, promoter of the event with ANCCEM, the association of Italian spring manufacturers, announced that the next edition of the annual ESF conference will be held in Hamburg (Germany) in 2018.