NRRP for the revitalization of manufacturing
MECSPE Observatory: without 4.0 incentives more than 60 percent of entrepreneurs would have reduced or given up investment. Companies plan to grow in the coming years in part because of the Transition 5.0 Plan

BolognaFiere kicks off the 22nd edition of MECSPE, the benchmark exhibition for manufacturing;
The inaugural event, attended by MIMIT, featured the presentation of the MECSPE Observatory, which highlights companies’ willingness to grow despite the difficulties in the industry

Bologna, March 6th 2024 – The NRRP contributes to the growth and digital transition of manufacturing companies, which have taken advantage of the 4.0 incentives to make major investments that would have been difficult to achieve otherwise . Companies in the sector are now preparing to implement the Transition 5.0 Plan, integrating the digital transition—already in place—along with the energy transition, demonstrating a real desire to include sustainability in the production processes of the manufacturing sector that with its 511,000 active companies[1] still constitutes the backbone of the Italian economy. This is the picture presented today at the opening conference of the 22nd edition of MECSPE, the benchmark exhibition for manufacturing and innovations for industry, organized by Senaf and running at BolognaFiere until March 8. The event was attended by Valentino Valentini, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Enterprise and Made in Italy, Vincenzo Colla, Councillor for Economic Development and Green Economy, Labor, Training and International Relations of the Emilia-Romagna Region, Massimo Bugani, Councillor for the Digital Agenda of the Municipality of Bologna, Antonio Bruzzone, CEO of BolognaFiere, and Ivo Nardella, President Senaf – Tecniche Nuove Group.

During the event, Stefano Cattorini, General Director BI-REX Competence Center, presented the data from the MECSPE Observatory on Industry for the third quarter of 2023 with forecasts for 2024[2], , highlighting the role of the NRRP and incentives for the development of the industry.

The Observatory pointed out that, although down from the same period last year, most entrepreneurs in the industry (8 out of 10) have a medium or high level of satisfaction related to their company’s current performance. Short-term turnover holds, remaining stable or growing by 63 percent, while the order book is adequate for nearly two-thirds of companies. The industry, therefore, has no intention of slowing down, and, indeed, not a few companies are planning a path of growth in the next two years (60 percent).

Investment and incentives for the industry
Thanks to the NRRP, the industry is getting access to a significant amount of resources from the government. More than 50 percent of entrepreneurs, in fact, have applied for Industry 4.0 incentives to support their growth in order to invest in digital transformation (31 percent), R&D (14 percent), training (26 percent) and sustainability (14 percent); thus making investments that, otherwise, they would not have been able to undertake: 63 percent of entrepreneurs, in fact, would not have invested without the incentives or would have done so to a lesser extent. It was precisely because of these investments that entrepreneurs were able to see an improvement in the productivity (44 percent) of their company, technological equipment (35 percent) and, more generally, an improvement in working conditions (25 percent).

The positive impact of the 4.0 incentives paves the way for the 5.0 Transition Plan: one-third of entrepreneurs intend to take advantage of the new measure: as of today more than 80 percent of companies are ready to innovate on energy transition as well.

ESG and sustainability
Indeed, innovation toward Industry 5.0 also passes through sustainability and ESG criteria. When it comes to corporate sustainability, more companies described themselves as fairly or very sustainable, as many as 44 percent (vs. 37 percent last quarter). In fact, the number of those measuring their CO2 footprint is also on the rise, at 23 percent compared to the previous 20 percent, a promising figure representative of the progress being made.

New challenges for the supply chain
In addition, the sector is facing some critical issues related to the international geopolitical environment: 44 percent of entrepreneurs say they are concerned about the consequences of recent international conflicts. A situation of uncertainty that could have a great impact on the Italian business fabric, not only for the supply of raw materials, but also for exports—71 percent of the surveyed companies, in fact, export. On the other side, inflation, energy costs, and interest rates are less scary and perceived with much less concern than in the previous four-month period.

Digital growth and AI
In terms of digitalization, where does Italian manufacturing stand? Nearly 7 out of 10 entrepreneurs say their company has experienced medium to high digital growth in recent years.

Among the technologies introduced in 2023 alone, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and the internet of things excel; leaping ahead in 2024, on the other hand, is artificial intelligence, the introduction of which is planned by 13 percent of entrepreneurs, followed by further investment in cybersecurity and collaborative robotics. Remaining on the subject of AI, the majority of entrepreneurs continue to have positive views about it, with more than 6 out of 10 believing it will produce benefits. Regarding this, 38% are enquiring about moving toward it, while 25% have already introduced it or want to adopt it in their organization.

Italy’s manufacturing sector, with its 511,000 active companies, represents a fundamental pillar of our economic system ,” says Valentino Valentini, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Business and Made in Italy . “The ongoing geopolitical difficulties—not least the Red Sea crisis—are severely affecting the economic fabric, and the government is well aware of the challenges facing our companies. That is why we have worked to put industrial policy at the center of the Italian G7 and EU presidency. The NRRP remodeling has freed up significant resources: MIMIT in particular has obtained more than 9 billion that will benefit the entrepreneurial fabric. The pivotal measure is Transition 5.0, which will enable companies to increase competitiveness and make the necessary investments to reduce energy consumption. Our goal is for MIMIT to become more and more a partner to businesses, and discussions with entities such as MECSPE provide an important contribution to our work.

A profound transformation is taking place in the regional production system both in the technological sphere and on energy and environmental aspects, which the region is supporting through its own, national and European funds. —says Vincenzo Colla, Councillor for Economic Development and Green Economy, Labor, Training and International Relations Emilia-Romagna Region— We also want to accompany the small businesses of our supply chains within this change, to continue to compete at a high level, through certified process and product quality. A goal that cannot disregard the good work and well-being of our communities, a new key to Industry 5.0.

“The 22nd edition of MECSPE with the participation of more than 2,000 companies certifies the importance of this fair and the centrality of Bologna as the leader of innovation,” comments Massimo Bugani, Councillor for the Digital Agenda of the Municipality of Bologna . “The development of our territory and our country is closely linked to the MECSPE world, to the interactions created here between young people and companies, professors and entrepreneurs, institutions and technicians, public and private. Manufacturing and digital are building our future, and MECSPE is proof of that

“The data presented today are positive and lead to cautious optimism,” points out Stefano Cattorini, General Director of the BI-REX Competence Center,”The companies testify to their willingness to grow and increase their competitiveness in the market. To keep up, the only option is to implement processes of technological innovation, digital transformation, and sustainability. In this sense, the Competence Centers, as implementing entities of the NRRP, represent a virtuous example of how policies to support the industrial fabric can actually translate to the benefit of businesses, through services, skills, and technologies: the funds made available by MIMIT have contributed greatly to improving the overall picture. In addition, there are two elements that will be able to make the role of Competence Centers increasingly central: the additional incentives on the topic of sustainable innovation, included in the new Transition 5.0 plan, and the continued investment in upskilling and new skills, also aided by the huge impact of Artificial Intelligence.

“We are proud to welcome back MECSPE ,”says Antonio Bruzzone, CEO of BolognaFiere . “The event’s arrival in 2021 at BolognaFiere has accompanied its growth and international development. The key words on which we will focus at MECSPE and related exhibitions are training, digitalization, sustainability, and the international dimension: we share them deeply, because the path is the same one we are following in the development of BolognaFiere, even more so now that we are a listed company. With the listing and the realized capital increase, we will be even more competitive and continue the program of expanding and modernizing our fairgrounds. Let us grow together, then, preparing to respond with energy and competence to the challenges of the coming years

“The new 5.0 Transition Plan heralds a year full of opportunities for the manufacturing sector, and we are proud to be a point of reference for discussion on this issue, alongside MIMIT and the more than 2,000 companies present here at the 22nd edition of MECSPE ,” comments Ivo Nardella, president of Senaf and Tecniche Nuove Group, “The MECSPE Observatory data confirm that incentives 4. 0 have been fundamental in the growth and digitization of companies and highlight that companies are now ready to implement the new measures of the Transition Plan to increasingly integrate sustainability and digitization. MECSPE is an opportunity for companies to learn more about these issues, discover the latest innovations and related training paths, and connect with supply chains, competence centers and all key players in the industry. Much more than a trade show, MECSPE stands as the supporting engine for national and international industry development, a stage where innovation merges with concreteness to find the idea you don’t have and to actively guide companies to make the transition to 5.0

Also the round table Industry toward Horizon 5.0: Competence Centers discussion on NRRP and Transition Plan was held during the opening event, chaired by the Ministry of Business and Made in Italy and attended by the eight national competence centers: ARTES 4.0, BI-REX, CIM4.0, CYBER 4.0, MADE – Competence Center Industry 4.0, Meditech 4.0, SMACT and Start 4.0.

A central point of discussion was MIMIT’s Transition 5.0 Plan—a measure that will be a turning point for companies on the innovation front—and the key role of Competence Centers in providing companies with useful tools and skills to take advantage of the economic resources offered by the NRRP.

Facts and figures of MECSPE BOLOGNA 2024

59,845 trade visitors (2003 edition), 92,000 square meters of exhibition space, 2,000 companies, 2,000 square metres of MECSPE LAB, – Spazio Innovazione along with 18 special initiatives and 72 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, 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 – Plastics, rubber and composites – Plastics, rubber and composites processing, Machines and plants, Auxiliary equipment, Innovative materials, Moulding, Extrusion, Packaging, Blowing, Moulds, Models, Standardized components for molds, 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 (Aluminum, Titanium, Magnesium, Light Alloys), Die Castings, Foundries, Contract Industrial Processing, Technologies, Design, Engineering; Automation and Robotics – Automation and Robotics, Assembly, Mounting 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.

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