MECSPE Observatory: manufacturing, first four months holds up and many entrepreneurs focus on growth

MECSPE and METEF, the two trade fairs organized by Senaf at BolognaFiere until June 11, have been inaugurated today; more than 2,000 companies are involved

Bologna, June 09, 2022 – Our country’s industrial sector is facing many challenges at this time, both due to geopolitical crises and difficulties in the supply of raw materials. However, the latest Istat data show a 6.2 percent increase in GDP over the same period of 2021 and beyond. Industry sales also grew in March (+21.4% over March 2021), reaching the highest level ever. So, Italian manufacturing does not intend to stop: on the contrary, industry players will come together again at the 20th edition of MECSPE – the exhibition of manufacturing and technological innovations for industry and for the new edition of METEF – the international aluminium expoboth organized by Senaf and scheduled to take place in BolognaFiere from today until June 11, with more than 2,000 exhibitors.

In early 2022, rising energy costs and increasing raw material prices had a medium to high impact on 88% of manufacturing SMEs . Fortunately, so far, seemingly this situation has not had a major impact on turnover in the first 4 months, which is up for almost seven out of ten entrepreneurs over the same period of last year. This is the case  also for the order book, which is in even better shape than last year’s first four months  (78% consider it adequate), and on the related level of satisfaction with the company’s current performance, which is positive in 63% of cases. On the contrary, the main effects include rising prices of finished products and delivery delays , as well as partly undermining the level of confidence in the market in general (39% vs. 48% at the beginning of the year) and especially in the international economic scenario, which plummeted from 35 to 17 percent.

This is what emerges from Senaf ‘s MECSPE Observatory on the first four months of 2022[1], as presented today by Stefano Cattorini, Director General of the BI-REX Competence Center, during the opening conference of MECSPE and METEF, which was also attended by Laura Castelli, Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance, Vincenzo Colla, Councillor for Economic Development of Emilia Romagna Region, Rosa Grimaldi, Delegate for Economic Promotion and International Attractiveness of the City of Bologna, Gianpiero Calzolari, Chair of BolognaFiere and Ivo Nardella, Chair of Senaf – Tecniche Nuove Group.

The outlook for the future, which looked even brighter in recent months, remains positive anyway. The expected  turnover at the end of the year is stable or growing for 80 percent of companies, although not as much as forecasted at the beginning of the year (-9 p.p.). Same for overall market trends over the next three years: where only one-fifth of the sample expects a decline. These are entrepreneurs who, in spite of everything, do not stop believing and continue to focus on growth, which is expected to occur as early as the next two years (71 percent), in terms of increasing size or expanding production into new sectors, or focusing on internationalization. Almost a fourth is also considering M&A (acquisitions and/or mergers) transactions within the next two years.

However, doing all this requires certain skills and capabilities in order to embark on a major digital transformation journey, also in view of the boost that the NRP could give to the country’s economy. More than half of the entrepreneurs believe that their staff’s skill set is in line with the company’s growth needs; in particular, 59 percent have already trained or hired staff with adequate training to cope with the 4.0 transformation in the company. A positive figure, but with wide margins for improvement. It is precisely on training that the Competence Centres established by the MISE with the aim of supporting companies in the revolution in the key of 4.0 Industry  , can provide valuable support for the growth of the sector, although to date the centres are still little exploited by companies (only by 8 percent).

Again with a look at digital growth, driven especially by the 42 percent of SMEs, what are the main investments in technology expected for 2022? The most notable are those in cybersecurity (43 percent), although only 18% of the sample say they have actually experienced a cyber-attack on their systems before; collaborative robotics (26 percent); and cloud computing.

With regard to the topic of the moment, namely the industry’s impact on the environment, four out of ten companies say they are sustainable, and in general, SMEs pay great attention to energy-efficient devices (58 percent), efficient and next-generation machinery (43 percent) and the reuse of waste materials with a view to circular economy (28 percent).

“The data presented by ISTAT can be summarized in the term resilience, but we could also say resistance – commented Laura Castelli, Deputy Minister of Economy and FinanceThe crises we are experiencing, have forced us to make step-by-step economic choices to support the system. It has been difficult for the trade shows to get so far with the tools that the Government has made available, without resorting to dismissals, using a lot of their own resources, without exceeding the demand for loans. We are continuing to finance business support, as we have done with previous decrees. When, after Covid, the war began, we immediately focused on the need to lower the cost of energy and increase the percentage of the tax credit on energy-intensive companies, also to protect trade shows. In the decree we have also provided instruments such as the fast track for strategic investments with Mise, thinking of simplified administrative procedures. Then there is cofinancing for exporting companies, with some guarantee funds that have been replenished, especially those aimed to companies that pay for a close relationship with countries at war. Concerning the environment-related industry, the numbers are very positive. About skills, we are looking at dedicated funds, for example for continuing training which increases the capacity of our companies. 2023 has still to be planned and it will not be easy, because there are so many questions and reasons for uncertainty. Italy has allocated 9 billion euros over the multiannual period for the conversion of cars. The European countries, especially our country and France, are aware that the environmental and energy objectives set in recent years are not supported by the necessary resources and they are asking Europe for them.”

“The Manufacturing Sector of Emilia Romagna is showing a great dynamism and a clear vision of the future, having already taken the road of digital and sustainable transition, as evidenced by the data presented by the Observatory MECSPE – said Regional Councillor Vincenzo Colla. – But in addition to the market leaders who have already developed technology to face the new challenges, it is now mandatory to support the small and medium-sized enterprises in the supply chain, which are struggling on their own to cope with the staggering speed of this change. Alongside the funds of the PNRR, the region Emilia-Romagna will invest the considerable resources of the European Structural Funds for the new six-year period, launching new calls, which will start shortly, to decisively support digital and green innovation and the training of the skills essential to keep our businesses competitive and create new job opportunities. Tecnopolo di Bologna, for example, with its supercomputers, not only works at the service of private actors in the business world but it will be also able to collect and provide important big data for the study and application of new development strategies.”

“We are proud to welcome back MECSPE and METEF, which have been taking place at BolognaFiere since 2021, in our pavilions. This is a choice that gives us satisfaction – commented the Chair of BolognaFiere Gianpiero Calzolari – and has been a winning one as the event is increasingly recognized internationally as an indispensable moment for manufacturing companies. Bologna is a place of excellence for the industrial districts that bring their world-leading events to the fair. In our fairground, Senaf brings together the Italian manufacturing industry represented by over 2,000 companies who, during these difficult years in which we had to give up meeting, did not stop. On the contrary, they have grown and taken the path of innovation with ever greater determination.

The keywords that will be discussed at MECSPE and in the associated trade fairs are training, digitization, sustainability and the international dimension: we share them deeply, because the path is the same one that we are following at BolognaFiere. Our group is in fact at the center of a strengthening of assets of more than 100 million euros, which has never happened before and which will allow us to be even more competitive in Italy and in the world. Let us grow together, therefore, and prepare to respond with energy and competence to the challenges of the coming years.”   

“MECSPE and METEF are taking place at a time when companies need to discuss sector innovation to improve their processes, with a view to digitization and sustainability and to seize opportunities in view of PNRR funds that could give a boost to the country’s entire economy, Ivo Nardella, president of Senaf, Tecniche Nuove Publishing Group, said. „In recent years the industry has completely changed, today it is more technological and closer to young people, as is the market, which is more responsive and global, and this is why the internal competencies of companies must be adapted to cope with new, continuously evolving scenarios. With the new edition, we wanted to devote more attention to 4.0 training for the digital factory, a priority theme for business growth, thanks to the support of the Competence Centres set up by MISE and the many companies that have given life to the core MECSPE LIVE ACADEMY exhibition. Against this background, our collaboration with BolognaFiere has enabled us to establish ourselves more and more as a leading international event for the entire industry.”



The Numbers of MECSPE and METEF

92,000 square metres of exhibition space, 2,000 square metres of the Cuore Mostra MECSPE LIVE ACADEMY, 16 special initiatives and conferences.


MECSPE Exhibitions

Machines and Tools – Machine tools, Equipment, Tools and Design Software; Machines, Materials and Sheet Metal  Working – Bending, Stamping, Cutting, Assembly, Welding, Materials and Software; Digital Factory – Industrial Informatics, IoT, Industrial Sensing, Cloud-manufacturing, Automatic Identification Technologies, Applications, Devices, Instrumentation and Intelligent Components for Process Interpretation and Interconnection; Logistics – Packaging, Packing, Handling, Material handling, Lean manufacturing, Warehouse management software, Supply chain management, Safety systems, PPE, Outsourcing; Mechanical Subcontracting – Precision mechanical processing, Metal carpentry, Mechanical construction, Fasteners, Foundries, Small parts, Wire processing, Contract industrial processing, Micromachining; Electronic subcontracting – Cem (contract electronics manufacturer), Wiring harnesses, Ems (electronics manufacturing service), PCB (printed circuit board manufacturers), Engineering and design offices; Eurostampi, Machines and plastic, rubber and composites subcontracting – Plastics, rubber and composites processing, Machines and plants, Auxiliary equipment, Innovative materials, Moulding, Extrusion, Packaging, Blowing, Moulds, Models, Standardised components for moulds, Design, Simulation and design software, Micromachining; Additive Manufacturing – 3D printing, Rapid prototyping, Rapid Manufacturing, Systems and services for reverse engineering, Additive technology, Materials, Services, Hardware: 3D printers and scanners, accessories, Simulation and design software; Treatments and Finishes – Surface Treatment Plants, Furnaces, Electroplating, Chemical and Electronic Processes, Washing, Metallization, Enamelling, Galvanizing, Products and accessories for treatments, Heat Treatments, Painting; Non-Ferrous Materials and Alloys – Processing of non-ferrous materials (Aluminium, Titanium, Magnesium, Light Alloys), Die Castings, Foundries, Contract Industrial Processing, Technologies, Design, Engineering; Automation and Robotics – Automation and Robotics, Assembly, Assembly and Handling; Control and Quality – Certification and quality control, Metrology, Measuring instruments, Laboratory testing, Calibration, Analytical equipment, Vision; Power Drive – Mechanical power transmission devices, Hydraulics, Pneumatics, Mechatronics, Motion control, Maintenance, Compressed air.

For further information visit www.mecspe.com.



Raw Materials|Die casting | Non-Ferrous Foundry | Ferrous Foundry | Extrusion | Rolling | Engineering and Simulation |Finishing and Processing | Recycling 


METEF, the international exhibition for aluminium, metal foundry and innovative materials technologies, launched for the first time in Italy in 1997 by Alfin-Edimet, is now in the portfolio of an equal joint venture of Veronafiere and BolognaFiere, and stands as a leading event in the international metallurgical segment, updated in concept, structure and location. METEF, whose organisation is entrusted to Senaf, will be held at the same time as MECSPE, the reference event for the manufacturing industry in Italy. The organisational and structural innovations of the new METEF aim at enhancing the role played in the global market by a sector which is is extraordinarily important from the social and economic point of view  such as metallurgy and advanced light metal manufacturing. This segment has been undergoing significant development and is already generating a turnover for the whole sector of over 40 billion euros in our country.

For further information visit www.mecspe.com.


For further information

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[1] Methodological note: the MECSPE Observatory was conducted by GRS Ricerca e Strategia (research and strategy) on a sample of 514 Italian manufacturing companies, using the CAWI (Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) method.