PROPOSALS FROM A SECTOR Competitive technology, marketing expertise, the ability to listen (and respond) to the needs of users: these are the keywords of Italy’s printing and converting offer, as proposed by the members of Acimga.

At Drupa 2012, the Italian manufacturers of converting machines and systems (Acimga represents both those serving the packaging industry and those working for publishing and commercial printing) will form a sizeable and experienced team of strongly export-oriented concerns, that occupy strategic positions on the international market.
They give rise to a segment consisting mainly of small-to-medium-sized companies, which have made specialization in production and technology as well as flexibility of approach and service to the user their main strengths.
Today – in dynamic equilibrium on the difficult terrain of the globalized economy – they turn their gaze to the liveliest markets, showing the notable capability of competing on an equal footing with larger competitors (and the "new entries" in emerging countries).
Recent Acimga figures show the developments and orientations of the same, which the association president Felice Rossini underlines in this interview.
How is the international printing and converting market evolving?
The sector is developing in a diversified manner: the publishing graphics industry appears on the whole stable and mature, while that associated with the packaging industry is experiencing a growth phase and shows good prospects.
What are, in general, the most lively geographic areas?
Compared to the previous year, in 2011 the areas where Italian exports registered the best performance are North America – in the United States in particular they grew by 45% – and Europe, with the most important markets, starting from Germany, France and Spain holding their own well; among the countries outside the EU Russia, Turkey and India are showing an increase. Also noteworthy the sharp recovery of Brazil set against 2010.
And the types of machines-products most requested?

Flexographic and rotogravure printing as well as coating and laminating machines, slitters – winders and rewinders – and more generally equipment for converting flexible packaging.
How is the Italian industry placed in this scenario and who are the Italian producers main competitors?
Our manufacturers are at the absolute top of the international markets. Two examples shine forth: in gravure printing and coating machines Italy is first in the world, while as regards flexography it is on the same level as Germany.
What are the main products in which the Italian industry excels?

In 2011 converting and printing machines enjoyed the most success, with an increase of 14-15% of sales in both areas, followed by paper industry technologies.
Which sector suffers the most from the competition of the emerging countries?
Competitivity here is still fairly tame: the technological level of the Italian production is on a significantly higher level than that of the typical "newcomer". The type of offers are indeed not comparable and meet different needs.

More generally, what are the strongpoints that Italian industry might enhance to consolidate their leadership? And how can the main elements of weakness be managed?
In addition to the ingenuity and effectiveness of technical solutions fielded, the Italian companies "win" in terms of flexibility and customer orientation, points that now more than ever make the difference.
The small size of our concerns though certainly constitutes a structural weakness, something that ought to be solved. One possible way forward is that of corporate networks, of which the association is committed to evaluating the feasibility.

What are the most important projects in support of the segment, and, in particular, the company’s operativity abroad?
In addition to working on corporate networks, to understand their characteristics and capabilities, we are committed on the training front, which represents a further strategic element. In this regard we have started a project to create courses on various aspects of after sales service, that can provide our companies with an important competitive tool.
Who are Acimga’s political and institutional partners? The Italian Institute for Foreign Trade is working with reduced resources: how are you addressing this limitation?
As for as ICE is concerned, we fought for its reopening along with the Italian Paper and Graphics Federation and Federmacchine.
Indeed our dialogue with ICE has never stopped, to the point where to organize the attendance of foreign delegations visiting the Acimga at Ipack-Ima 2012 we availed ourselves of their cooperation and we are already planning new actions which we will undertake together.
Acimga will be at Drupa, as tradition has it, at Eingang Nord, a strategic point at the fair. With a new feature: a purpose-built APP will enable visitors to identify members’ stands by consulting ones mobile phone. And on the evening of May 8th there will be a party at the Steigenberger Hotel: an international night reserved for members, their customers and exhibitors at the coming Grafitalia and Converflex 2013.