According to AISEM, The Italian Association of Lifting Systems, Elevation and Handling, the estimated turnover for this sector in 2009 was EUR 6.5 billion with a decrease of -18% compared to the previous year due to the difficult economic situation. The Italian material handling sector ranks fifth worldwide, after the United States, Germany, Japan and France, and half of the domestic production is for export. Although it is considered a rather mature sector, there are subgroups of development.
The area linked to production logistics is relatively “young” and growing and the goods handling/moving and distributing integrated systems are still in a development stage with good growth prospects. Small and medium-size manufacturers are moving more and more towards offering complete turn-key solutions. Ongoing automation and enhanced integration of logistics systems are in demand together with IT solutions and energy saving technologies.
The growing importance of environmental and safety issues are a key trend as reported at 2008 CeMat German trade show and in other European venues. Energy efficiency and alternative energy generation systems will represent an important technological improvement, which in Italy will require more time to be developed but that nevertheless will gain importance. The new energy saving solutions for lift trucks allow a great performance improvement, a production increase and an energy saving of 25% on the same work done. Fuel Cell technologies, hybrid technologies (electric and internal combustion combined together) or similar alternative energy generation systems could find interest in the market.
More and more manufacturers and wholesalers in Italy are modernizing their warehouses with highly automated systems. Therefore, demand for more sophisticated and more efficient products is high: IT solutions for logistics like RFID systems, “Voice-picking” systems and WMS (warehouse management software) and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV).
According to AISEM, in general the sector will continue focusing on safety – both active and passive - ergonomics, reliability and product cost reduction.
By Kira Migliorini