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Renowned for its quality, innovation, versatility and flexibility, the Italian manufacturing and machine tools sector has witnessed a steady growth after an excellent 2017 and will continue its strong positive upturn in 2018 as well

MACHINE TOOLS The digital era of machine tools

Dec 4, 2018

Having demonstrated a strong performance in 2017, the Italian manufacturing and machine tools sector has continued to make a global impact this year. In this context, the 31st edition of BI-MU was recently held in Milan, focused on the latest technologies in metal cutting and metal forming machine tools, robots, automation, digital manufacturing, auxiliary and enabling technologies. A post-event report…

Renowned for its quality, innovation, versatility and flexibility, the Italian manufacturing and machine tools sector has witnessed a steady growth after an excellent 2017 and will continue its strong positive upturn in 2018 as well. According to the forecast data shared by the Studies Dept and Business Culture of UCIMU, production will grow by 9.3 per cent to over 6.6 billion euro. Exports will increase by 4.6 per cent to 3.5 billion euro and the consumption in Italy will go up by 13.6 per cent to over 5 billion euro, which signifies a double value when compared with the results from the last four years.

BI-MU exhibition

These figures only showcase the dynamism of the Italian machine tools sector, which is seeing renewed investments in new manufacturing technologies. Keeping this in mind, the 31st edition of BI-MU, the most important Italian exhibition dedicated to the industry of manufacturing metal cutting and metal forming machine tools, robots, automation, digital manufacturing, auxiliary and enabling technologies, was recently held in Milan, Italy. The biennial exhibition, also known as 31.BI-MU/SFORTEC INDUSTRY, is promoted by UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE and organised by EFIM-ENTE FIERE ITALIANE MACCHINE, enjoyed the full appreciation of the operators participating in the 5 days of the event.

A total of 65,000 visits were registered at the entrances of the exhibition that presented the product offerings of 1,056 enterprises, 40% of which were from abroad, representing 27 countries. The event covered an exhibition area of 100,000 square metres, 10% more than the 2016 edition. The renewed and expanded technological index of products, extended to the world of IoT and of digital technologies, to consulting services and to start-up companies, while enjoying the participation of the operators visiting the trade show.

Some of the key technologies that were demonstrated at the international exhibition included metal cutting and metal forming machine tools, robots, automation, digital manufacturing, auxiliary technologies, enabling technologies, additive manufacturing, fluid-power systems, mechatronics, surface finish treatments, tools, components, equipment and accessories, metrology, welding, IoT, Big Data, analytics, cyber security, cloud computing, augmented reality, system integrators, vision systems and software.

New areas of innovation

Besides the traditional product offerings, the trade show also hosted the following new innovation areas, which were dedicated to IoT (Fabbricafutura), robots (Robot Planet), consulting (Box Consulting), start-up companies (BI-MU Startupper) and Tool Space.

• Fabbricafutura was dedicated to host developers of software and technologies to allow each production stage to acquire a digital identity

• Robot Planet, supported by SIRI, was an innovation area focused on industrial and collaborative robots, integrators and automation systems

• Box Consulting was dedicated to the services related to the know-how, competence and certification along with encouragement of the creation of a common language shared by manufacturers

• BI-MU Startupper was an area reserved for new enterprises and for young innovators involved in the development of products and projects linked to the world of manufacturing systems and metal machining

• Tool Space was the innovation area dedicated to the entire tool production chain, which include manufacturers, agents and distributors

Foreign delegations

Another striking feature of this Italian exhibition this year was the international audience that it attracted, including delegates from 22 countries, namely, Algeria, Brazil, Canada, China, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Malaysia, Morocco, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, USA and Vietnam.

Commenting on the overwhelming global response received at BI-MU this year, Massimo Carboniero, President, UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, stated, “With its wide product offering on show, new initiatives and contacts established during the event days by the attending operators, 31.BI-MU/SFORTEC INDUSTRY was definitely the international leading exhibition for machine tools, robots and automation, capable of attracting exhibitors of neighbouring sectors that are more and more related to machines and appealing to operators representing all main manufacturing sectors.”

New additions

Apart from garnering a global response, the exhibition this year also added a unique new feature, known as BI-MUpiù, which was the arena of BI-MU available during the whole trade show for proposing meetings, one-to-one discussions, performances by the organisers and exhibitors. For the first time, the exhibition was combined with an in-depth cultural analysis of specific issues, developed with ‘classical’ conference programme and a well-structured schedule of side events. Organised in different thematic areas—machine tools, fabbricafutura, consulting, robotics, mechatronics, additive manufacturing and startups—the meetings took place throughout the trade show.

Furthermore, highlighting the close connection between cars and machine tools, 31.BI-MU hosted the special FCA-Alfa Romeo area with its division dedicated to the business world. It was characterised by various ranges related to it—from the sports car to the off-road vehicle, the work vehicle and the prestige car.

Strong global impact

With 65,000 amused attendees, the 31st BI-MU exhibition repeated its success story this year. Retaining some of its traditional aspects, this edition introduced new innovation areas while showcasing the latest technologies of the manufacturing and machine tool sector. The overwhelming response from foreign delegates proved that the advancements of the Italian manufacturing industry have a strong global impact, thus making it in the top 3 countries of the world. The next edition of the exhibition, 32.BI-MU, will be held on October 13 – 17, 2020.

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