This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Italy is the second largest manufacturing country in Europe and particularly strong in the manufacture of machinery, fashion items, food products, automotive parts, and pharmaceuticals. Fears of a recession, concerns about inflation, and the conflict in Ukraine are dampening private sector sentiment. However, the outlook for advanced manufacturing technologies, collectively known in Italy under the name “Industria 4.0,” continues to be positive. Successful Italian manufacturers tend to be export-driven and keener than others on investing in advanced manufacturing technologies, which encompass industrial Internet of Things (IoT), industrial analytics, cloud manufacturing, consulting and training Services, advanced automation, additive manufacturing and advanced human machine interface. It is estimated that about 75% of Italian manufacturers have undertaken an advanced manufacturing project.
The market for advanced manufacturing technologies continued to grow throughout the pandemic and the later economic and political challenges (conflict in Ukraine, inflationary pressures). In 2020, despite the pandemic, the market grew 8% over the previous year, reaching a value of $4.7 billion. IoT solutions accounted for 60% of the market, industrial analytics made up 17%, cloud manufacturing 8%, consulting and training services 7%, advanced automation 5%, additive manufacturing 2%, and advanced human machine interface 1%. In 2021, the market continued to grow, reaching $5.5 billion, mostly due to investments in cloud manufacturing (up 25%–30%), advanced automation (up 15%–20%) and advanced human machine interface (up 12%–18%). Although 2022 data are not yet available, the positive trend is expected to continue thanks to the continuation of the Italian government’s advanced manufacturing incentive plan, known as “Piano Transizione 4.0.” The plan allocates €13.4 billion in tax credits for investment in capital goods, intangible goods, R&D, innovation, and training.
Industrial Internet of Things
Some of the main applications of IoT in Italy are in the industrial realm, i.e., smart factory and smart logistics. Specifically, companies are adopting cyber physical systems that connect machinery, workers, and products to enable new production management techniques and supply chain planning. Manufacturers are also applying IoT to logistics, to improve traceability in the supply chain, to monitor the cold chain in food processing, and to improve safety in logistics hubs and fleet management. According to a 2021 survey conducted by the Polytechnic University of Milan on a sample of Italian companies, 80% of respondents from large companies reported providing value-added IoT-based services (up 4% vs. 2020) internally and to their customers. These services included sending “push” notifications in case of adverse events (87% of respondents reported doing so) and monitoring energy consumption and forecasting peaks in energy demand (50% of respondents). Looking at the future, companies reported an interest in preventive and predictive maintenance, using AI algorithms to prevent breakdowns and malfunctioning. The COVID-19 pandemic actually spurred 36% of large companies and 40% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to invest more in IoT solutions. About 70% of large companies believe that government incentive plans constitute a great opportunity for continued investment in IoT. Large Italian companies tend to have greater knowledge of industrial IoT technologies than small ones.
Italy boasts an additive manufacturing (AM) market of an estimated $500 million – $1 billion. In 2021, the 3D Printing Sentiment Index, a survey among 3D printing users worldwide, ranked Italy 11th in the world for use of AM technologies, with a 67% awareness among companies of the benefits of AM and a 47% adoption rate. Ninety percent of 3D printing users in Italy reported using plastics/polymers as feedstock, 25% use carbon fiber, and 18% metals. Fifty percent of respondents stated that 3D printing will have a significant positive impact on their business next year. In the near to medium term, Italian industry will increasingly adopt additive technologies in its manufacturing processes, spurred by the government’s incentive programs for advanced manufacturing. The COVID-19 pandemic also spurred Italians’ interest in AM solutions by forcing Italian companies to improve the flexibility and reconfigurability of their manufacturing processes. AM is also increasingly being adopted for large-scale production and no longer just for prototypes, and in other sectors beyond machinery. Italian 3D printing association AITA (Associazione Italiana Tecnologie Additive) recently conducted a survey of its members and found four major application areas for 3D printing technologies in Italy: automotive, aerospace, biomedical, and jewelry/design/fashion.
The Italian government’s advanced manufacturing incentive plan, known as “Piano Transizione 4.0,” is playing a key role in the growth of the advanced manufacturing technologies market. The plan allocates €13.4 billion in tax credits for investment in capital goods, intangible goods, R&D, innovation, and training. The credits can be claimed through 2025 for most technologies. Companies will also be able to benefit from a further €5 billion made available by the government through a separate fund. Below is a summary of technologies eligible for incentives. Opportunities exist for U.S. firms that can provide the technologies to the Italian market:
- Advanced manufacturing solutions: autonomous, cooperating industrial robots with numerous integrated sensors and standardized interfaces.
- Additive manufacturing: 3D printing, particularly for spare parts and prototypes; decentralized 3D facilities to reduce transport distances and inventory.
- Augmented reality: augmented reality for maintenance, logistics, and SOP; display of supporting information, e.g., through glasses.
- Simulation: simulation of value networks; optimization based on real-time data from intelligent systems.
- Horizontal/vertical integration: cross-company data integration based on data transfer standards; precondition for a fully automated value chain (from supplier to customer, from management to shop floor).
- Industrial Internet: network of machines and products; multidirectional communication between networked objects.
- Cloud: management of huge data volumes in open systems; real-time communication for production systems.
- Cybersecurity: operation in networks and open systems; high level of networking between intelligent machines, products, and systems.
- Big data and analytics: full evaluation of available data (e.g., from ERP, SCM, MES, CRM, and machine data); real-time decision-making support and optimization.
AITA (Associazione Italiana Tecnologie Additive) – Italian association for additive manufacturing:
Federico Bevini, Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Consulate Milan
Tel: +39 02 6268 8520