World Fasteners Overcome the Crisis
by courtesy of UPIVEB and Marco A. Guerritore (Editor in Chief of “Italian Fasteners”
Over five-hundred delegates from many countries of the world crowded into the conference room of Hotel ATA, located in the neighbourhood of EXPO 2015, where on Monday, September 14, 2015 the First World Convention focused on Fasteners was held. The event was promoted by UPIVEB (the Italian Association of Fastener Manufacturers), with the sponsorship of Carlo Salvi SpA, Editoriale UPIVEB, NOF Metal Coatings Group, Ori Martin, SACMA and Voestalpine, and the support granted by Banca Mediolanum and the Ministry of Economic Development. A real success, which has rewarded the commitment lavished by Sergio Pirovano, President of UPIVEB and President of the company F.lli Pirovano SpA, who conceived and wanted that this important event were held during the period of EXPO 2015.
“For the first time in my life I have seen so many persons at the same time who are interested in the fastener industry – cried out Anders Karlsson, President of EIFI (European Industrial Fasteners Institute). This large participation of qualified professionals involved in our area of activity fills my heart with happiness and confidence in the future.”
The fastener industry is an industrial sector with its specific dimension and characteristics. Though it is a less striking and eye-catching industry than that of consumer goods, nonetheless it plays a very important and strategic role.
According to an estimate presented during the Conference by Enio Fontana – CEO at Fontana Luigi SpA and Vice-President of EIFI – in 2013 the global demand for fasteners totaled about 72.6 billion USD, divided (by geographical regions) into: APAC (Asia-Pacific) 30 billion USD, NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) 16.5 billion USD, LATAM (Latin America) 3.3 billion USD, and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) 22.8 billion USD. Forecasts concerning the next decade expect an average growth rate in the fastener industry all over the world by +6.3%. Obviously, this growth will be different in the various regions, as it will be greater in the Asian area and more limited in the American area. According to the analysis reported by Enio Fontana, the global demand for fasteners should reach in 2023 an amount of 140 billion USD. “Therefore, we expect a rosy future for the fastener industry - Enio Fontana said at the end of his report. The world market continues to grow, even if at a slightly slower pace than in the past.”
This optimistic view for the future was also shared by Ennio Doris, President of Banca Mediolanum SpA, as regards the financial aspects. “If we consider the trend of the world GDP, we can see that it is continuously growing over time, ranging from 4.5 to 5% in the most favourable cases, and from 3 to 3.9% in the less favourable ones. Negative years are now very rare.”
The state of health of the fastener industry is undoubtedly strictly associated to the automotive industry trend, as Peter Weiss, in charge of the FCA Group Management, underlined. The automotive industry is undergoing some important changes, in terms of concept and product functionality, which are imposed by the ever-increasing and pressing constraints imposed by the current protection of the environment standards. “Motors are becoming more and more technological with reduced fuel consumption – Andrew Brumley, Chief Engineer FoE Engine Programs, Global Engine Engineering, Ford Motor Company, said. We are trying to build a light motor capable to use a wider range of fuels. We are also considering an electric motor for cars, but there are still many difficulties to overcome, such as a sufficient battery operating time, and a widespread distribution of energy refueling points”.
But if a theoretical success of electric motors in the automotive industry would mean great losses for the fastener industry, new horizons seem to be opening for these products, as for example the area of structural architecture. In his report, Massimo Majowiecki, Professor of Structural Architecture at the University of Bologna, illustrated new planning and design methods that were inconceivable until yesterday, which thanks to the developments underwent by planning science and the aid of computers, allow to build incredible structures in which fasteners play a leading role.
One of the most critical aspects in the field of fastener production is the organizational setting of production with a predominance of automation, which provides for the spreading and application of electronics carried out through a variety of processors with different application possibilities. Bernhard Gehlert, Vice President at Bosch, underlined the importance of electronics not only in our everyday life, but also and above all, in what the ever-evolving production philosophy of the future will be.
At the end of the reports, a round table was opened, in which the debate focused in particular on the situation of the Chinese market, where the current state of crisis should predictably weaken over time. Thus, China is supposed to restart its way to growth even if in more restrained terms. Egidio Stefano Brugola (President, Brugola OEB SpA), Ramon Ceravalls (President, EIFI General Fasteners Group, and Vice-President, ASEFI – Spanish Association of Metal Fastener Manufacturers), Ming-Jou Chen (Former President TIFI, Taiwan Industrial Fastener Institute), Dan Di Sebastian (Vice –President, North America Operations, Fontana Group AGT), Anders Karlsson (President, EIFI), Fernando A. Gomes Martins (Vice-President, SINPA, Brazilian Fastener Institute), and Paolo Pozzi (President, EIFI Automotive Group, and CEO, Agrati Group) gave their contribution to the round table.
The aim of the Convention promoted by UPIVEB, was to analyze, at a global level, the possible future for fasteners through a variety of themes of interest and spur for all participants.
The Convention laid down the guidelines for an in-depth analysis of the strategies aimed at developing the fastener industry that should be put into effect in the forthcoming years.
As President Sergio Pirovano pointed out, UPIVEB is a reality that may seem small in terms of size, but is nonetheless provided with great proactive power. The Italian fastener industry includes 230 large, medium, and small manufacturing companies, which are all highly specialized and employ over 7,500 persons, with an overall yearly sales volume of approximately 2,300 billion Euros.