The Italian machine tool industry, one of the largest in the world, finished 2015 with “double-figure increases” in production volume, total sales, and exports, according to the year-end summary issued by UCIMU-Sistemi per Produrre. The trade group also predicted continued strong results for 2016 are expected.

UCIMU is a confederation of designers and manufacturers of machine tools as well as automation products. While Italian and other machine tool manufacturers in the region have struggled for several years to maintain steady growth, 2015 has seen some stability in industrial demand.

The economic studies arm of UCIMU reported that preliminary figures for 2015 show total production of the Italian machine tool industry rose to €5.43 billion ($5.93 billion), up 12.2% over 2014 total production. The group attributed this to improvements in both exports and domestic deliveries that began to be demonstrated last year.

UCIMU described the growth in Italian machine-tool consumption as “really remarkable,” reaching €3.595 billion ($3.9 billion), a 31.3% increase compared to 2014. The revived demand was evident in both domestic manufacturers' deliveries, up 21% to €1.92 billion ($2.1 billion); and in imports of machine tools, which increased by 45.5%, to €1.675 billion ($1.83 billion.)

The group also reported that its members’ 2015 exports increased 7.9% over the previous year, to €3.51 billion ($3.8 billion.) According to the available data, the U.S. was the top export market (€248 million / $271 million, +10.8%) for Italian machine tool manufacturers in 2015, followed by China (+0.5%), Germany (+7.1%), Russia (+38.1%), and France (+23,5%.)

UCIMU also reported that rising demand from the domestic industry meant that Italian machine tool manufacturers’ export/production ratio slipped to 64.6% over the past two years, compared to 75.4% in 2013.

Even 2016 will be a favorable year for the Italian industry of the sector, which, according to the forecasts, will experience a growth for all main economic indicators.  Production will achieve €5,820 million euro (+7.2%), getting close to the "record" value of 6 billion euro registered in 2008.

For the year ahead, UCIMU predicted its members’ production volume will rise 7.2% over the current year, to €5.82 billion ($6.36 billion); exports will rise 6.6% to €3.74 billion ($4.09 billion); and that domestic consumption will rise 8.3% to €2.08 billion ($2.27 billion.)

According to Luigi Galdabini, president of UCIMU: “2015 was a positive year for the Italian machine tool industry that was able to take full advantage of the consumption recovery, and of the improvement with regard to the national and international situation, recording increases for all main indicators.

“However,” he continued, “EMO Milano 201, on one hand, and the measures of industrial policy provided for by the government authorities on the other hand, further boosted this recovery by making it stronger and more stable.”