MILAN – It has been a difficult year for the mechanical engineering industry, boasting the prestige of Made in Italy but affected by the many months of closure in the hospitality sector. A year in which we suffered but also prepared for the challenges of the relaunch, says Marco Nocivelli, president of Anima (Federation of Italian Associations of Mechanical and Engineering Industries) Confindustria Meccanica Marco Nocivelli. “The crisis has been felt, but in 2020 the mechanical industry managed to hold the drop in turnover below double digits (-9.4%). The sectors that held up the best are those related to the energy efficiency of buildings and comfort, also thanks to the Superbonus”.
Now is time to think about a relaunch: “Companies are being moderately optimistic about the future. These first months of 2021 are showing a few positive signs, with effects that will become visible in the second half of the year. We expect a slow and gradual recovery over the next two years, before returning to 2019 values.”
As always, with every challenge comes great opportunity: “The funds made available under Next Generation EU represent a historic opportunity to get out of the crisis, but also to achieve the modernisation objectives of the country pending for years.
Great challenges await the out-of-home sector in particular, as Andrea Salati Chiodini, President of Assofoodtec , the Italian Association of Machinery, Plant and Equipment Manufacturers for Food Production, Processing and Preservation, part of ANIMA, explains. “In Italy, eating out is often experienced as a moment of sharing and conviviality: when the health emergency ends and government regulations allow it, catering will go back to the way it was before, after a ‘safe’ transition period”. Which technologies are best suited to this relaunch? Those involving the sanitisation of equipment and environments, some of which are manufactured by Assofoodtec member companies for the sanitisation of knives, cutlery and other kitchen equipment.
One hot topic is undoubtedly sustainability: “As Assofoodtec, we have continued to work on standards and the advancement of legislation regarding MOCA, foodstuffs materials and items. Our companies are paying significant attention to SCIP, the database of high risk substances in products, which will be operational from January 2021, and are obligated to submit information on items and products to ECHA, in particular on substances deemed harmful. In the refrigeration sector, the year 2021 will see the introduction of the energy label and we are working with agencies and institutions to update the F-Gas legislation to develop ever greener technologies”.
ANIMA will be at Host2021 from 22 to 26 October, what do you expect from the “in-person” expo? “We already know that many Assofoodtec companies will be attending, and this makes us excited and positive. We all know the importance of the trade fair and the key role it plays for the industry. We are counting on the ability to attract foreign buyers, perhaps with facilitated vaccination passports at our embassies, to give some breathing room to orders from foreign countries. We are certainly positive, knowing that the protection of the expo workers, exhibitors and participants will come first. We are banking on the fact that Host will take place at a time when people will want to get out and about and attend events and trade fairs, especially Host Milano2021, a must-see event for food lovers, industry professionals and visitors from all over the world,” says Salati Chiodini.