LMT Italy: "EMO was important in this situation"
EMO was held in Milan in the midst of a commercial environment that Italy, like everywhere else, is finding difficult. Many discussions at the world's leading trade fair for machine tools and metal machining were – of course – focused on the crisis in the economy and on changes in the machine construction and automobile industry markets. "That was exactly why the event was important. We took the chance of talking to our customers about future developments and tasks. One thing became clear: it is precisely in the present situation that the part played by tools in many production sectors becomes more important," says LMT Italy's General Manager Fabrizio Molfino.
Whether in machine construction or in the metal processing industry – Italy, like every other country in Europe, has been affected by the general economic crisis. The indicative figures nearly always tell the same story: according to the trade association Federmeccanica, sales in the Italian metalworking industry were almost 32 percent lower in the first half of 2009 than in the same period of the previous year. Nor do industry analysts see any signs of revival in the second half of the year. Nevertheless, the Italian machine construction sector is looking optimistically towards 2010, according to a recent report from trade association ANIMA. It was in this contradictory atmosphere that EMO took place in Milan in October. LMT Italy General Manager Molfino commented that "In spite of the sharp downturn in the market, EMO presented an important opportunity to exchange ideas with customers about future technological developments and market changes."
Inconsistent Market Situation
The situation for LMT Italy is altogether inconsistent. Not every sector and its associated tool applications is affected by the generally negative market trends. "We must recognize that the situation is differentiated", says Molfino. The Italian energy sector, for instance, has developed better, and has helped to cope with the general trend. A wide range of LMT tools are, in turn, used for the associated production of pipelines or of gearboxes for turbines. Similarly, LMT is profiting from the generally better situation in rail transport and in the space sector. In terms of LMT's marketing departments, whose experts are specialized in tool applications for particular sectors, the die and mould-making field in Italy has shown above-average growth.
Some Optimism for the New Year
Molfino takes a balanced view: "My general impression after EMO is that there is room for a little bit of optimism about market expectations for next year." – An assessment that could also describe the situation for LMT Italy itself. At any rate, the tool experts are aiming for 20 percent higher sales than those for the year that is ending. All those involved feel that the chance of achieving this is quite good: anybody who wants to make sure that their production is working efficiently in the crisis must also keep a very close eye on their tools. They have a crucial effect on the whole process. This allows costs to be saved, and product quality depends on them very directly.