This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 10/24/2018


Italy is the second most important manufacturing country in Europe with an extraordinary know-how in strategic sectors such as machine tools, fashion, foodstuffs, automotive and pharmaceuticals. Manufacturing accounts for 23.6 per cent of the GDP of Italy. In the current phase of moderate economic recovery, Italy continues to maintain the fifth highest manufacturing trade surplus in the world, amounting to approximately $63.2 billion.

The Italian term "Industria 4.0" can be thought of a synonym for Advanced Manufacturing. When describing, "Industria 4.0" issues, Italian media and stakeholders are in fact focusing on a variety of advanced manufacturing technologies, including Internet of Things (IoT); additive manufacturing; cloud computing; robots and advanced machine tools; digital industry; cyber security and so on.

A recent survey found that over 64% of Italian metalworking and machinery companies are now actively applying at least one of the advanced manufacturing technologies mentioned above. A recent estimate by Accenture found that 82% of Italian entrepreneurs firmly believe that automation is key to the future of the Italian manufacturing sector. There are large discrepancies among highly advanced manufacturers and many who instead have not upgraded their technologies in a long time and are losing market share. Also, there is a need for Italian manufacturers of machine tools to increase the connectivity of such machines, namely by incorporating more sensors.

Leading Sub-Sectors

The value of the Italian machine tools market is projected to be $5.84 billion in 2018. The U.S. Market Share of the Italian machine tools market it is 2.2%. Italian market demand for "robots" proper, considered to be a highly automated subset of the machine tools category, is estimated to be approximately $745 million, a +8% growth over 2016, placing Italy as the 7th largest world market for new installations of robots. For instance, in 2016 there were 110 installations of collaborative robots (i.e. "cobots") in Italy, which grew to 230 in 2017. The Italian market for IoT accounted for $4.2 billion in 2017, with an increase of 32% compared to 2016.


The advanced manufacturing technologies with the best chances of success in Italy fall within the scope of the government of Italy’s advanced manufacturing plan, known as "Piano Nazionale Impresa 4.0". This plan is the latest among those developed by large European manufacturing countries and is considered by many to be the most advanced and comprehensive. The plan consists of €13.5 billion in tax breaks for investments to be performed until end – year 2018, to reach €20.4 billion cumulated with additional resources that span the 2017 – 2020 timeframe. It aims at "triggering" private investments worth €23.9 billion in the above-mentioned timeframe. Its beneficiaries are Italian firms and foreign firms that have operations in Italy, regardless of sector and company type and size.

Below is a summary of the technologies eligible for incentives. Opportunities exist for U.S. firms that can provide these types of technologies to the Italian market:

1) Advanced Manufacturing Solutions: autonomous, cooperating industrial robots with numerous integrated sensors and standardized interfaces;

2) Additive Manufacturing: 3D printing, particularly for spare parts and prototypes; decentralized 3D facilities to reduce transport distances and inventory;

3) Augmented Reality: augmented reality for maintenance, logistics, and SOP; display of supporting information, e.g., through glasses;

4) Simulation: simulation of value networks; optimization based on real-time data from intelligent systems;

5) Horizontal/Vertical Integration: cross-company data integration based on data transfer standards; precondition for a fully automated value chain (from supplier to customer, from management to shop floor);

6) Industrial Internet: network of machines and products; multidirectional communication between networked objects

7) Cloud: management of huge data volumes in open systems; real-time communication for production systems;

8) Cyber-security: operation in networks and open systems; high level of networking between intelligent machines, products, and systems;

9) Big Data and Analytics: full evaluation of available data (e.g., from ERP, SCM, MES, CRM, and machine data); real-time decision-making support and optimization.

Trade shows:

BI-MU: September 10-13, 2018, Milan. Machine tools, robots, automation
Hannover Fair: April 1 – 5, Hannover. The world’s leading industrial technology show, with many Italian exhibitors and attendees.
World Manufacturing Forum (WMF): September 27 – 28, Cernobbio. 2- day conference that seeks to raise awareness and identify cooperative solutions to global manufacturing challenges through discovery, dialogue, and sharing of best practices between government, manufacturing, and innovation leaders. 

Web Resources

Key English language websites:
Italian Ministry of Economic Development document outlining Advanced Manufacturing
Plan in English

Fabbrica Intelligente (Italian National Technology Cluster on “Intelligent Factories”)

U.S. Commercial Service Contacts:
Federico Bevini, Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Consulate Milan
Tel: +39 026268 8520
E-mail: Website

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Italy Equipment and Machinery Trade Development and Promotion