Mechatronics grows and invests in sustainability

Mechatronics grows and invests in sustainability

In a period in which Italian manufacturing seems to be taking a breather after two exceptional years, some sectors continue to grow. Like the mechatronics sector, a transversal sector, difficult to define, because it brings together companies that develop processes or products for many destinations and uses. An overview of the mechatronics industry is provided by the Antares research centre, which works with the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Bologna, and which produces a report, in conjunction with the Italian Mechatronics Award organized by Unindustria Reggio Emilia.

«We are talking», says the director of Antares Lorenzo Ciapetti, «of a galaxy of over 51 thousand companies, of which 32 thousand are active exclusively in the production of mechatronic solutions, 1.4% more than in 2019. In 2022 they achieved almost 320 billion in turnover, with an 8.5% growth compared to the pre-pandemic period, and they gave work to over 930,000 employees, also increased by 3.9% compared to the pre-Covid years".

Exports up 33.5%

Most of these realities are concentrated in Piedmont, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy, where proximity to the large production districts of packaging, automobiles, aerospace, shipbuilding and household appliances is favored , medical and agricultural machinery. But what Antares highlights is that the exchange and collaboration with European industry is consolidating. «Italian mechatronics is growing a lot in terms of sales abroad», Ciapetti points out, «even by 33.5% in the last five years, for a value that in 2022 has reached 217 billion, i.e. 35.3% of all Italian exports in the world». And if we analyze the flows, we note that the destination countries are above all those of the Europe of the 27, which receive almost 48% of our mechatronic products destined for abroad.

A strong European platform

The same deep link is found on the import of mechatronic products, which for two thirds come from Europe, with Germany which takes the lion's share and is configured, Ciapetti observes, «as the true hub of the mechatronic industry of the Old Continent ». But in general, observes the expert, «the constitution of a strong European industry platform in this sector is taking shape more and more. It is a relatively recent phenomenon, which we want to analyze to understand if it is also fueled by a strategy of reshoringthat is, based on the return to Europe of productions that until recently had been decentralized».

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Bonfiglioli, Loccioni and Dell'Orto are the finalists

The increasingly strong connection with Europe, with its ambitious objectives for sustainability and the reduction of impacts on the climate, requires a green turn also for Italian mechatronic companies, which in fact are proving to be increasingly attentive to this strategic issue. With profound implications, which the Mechatronic Group of Unindustria Reggio Emilia has shown to have understood by deciding to enhance the theme of sustainability with the 2023 edition of its award. The trio of companies vying to receive the award, Bonfiglioli, Dell'Orto and Loccioni, were selected precisely for projects inspired by the circular economy, sustainable mobility and the use of energy from renewable sources.

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