Lights and Shadows on the Second Half of 2019

Brexit and the European political and economic scenario, uncertainties of the automotive industry, the increase in price of raw materials and the development of additive manufacturing: these are the hot topics discussed at the 53rd F.A.R.O. Meeting hosted by SKF Industrie’s Solution Factory

by Mario Conserva

The F.A.R.O. Club’s 53rd Meeting was held on April 11th and 12th in a very special location, the SKF Solution Factory in Turin Moncalieri. The agenda included very hot topics, such as Additive Manufacturing and global trends for the automotive industry, as well as the current topics regularly monitored by F.A.R.O., from the macroeconomic setting to the scenarios for commodities, especially metals.
The introduction to the works by F.A.R.O.’s founder Paolo Kauffmann in front of a particularly large audience, eager and willing to know and understand, blended into the fading notes of Puccini’s Turandot, which were the delicate soundtrack of the meeting’s opening: “let nobody sleep”, the country is experiencing degrowth, the utmost attention should be paid to market analyses, dynamics and balance, excellence should be acknowledged and the ingenuity, culture and entrepreneurial spirit of those wishing to keep the flame of the manufacturing industry burning and to seek all possible development opportunities should be encouraged. The clearly marked way of the Old Continent’s deindustrialization will lead to deep changes, definitely, in the natural dynamics of things, industrial concerns which will manage to remain on the scene will be condemned to survive or will in any case have this responsibility. Hope, according to Paolo Kauffmann, is entirely in the hands of entrepreneurs capable of placing community welfare above their own interest.
The macroeconomic scenario of Europe, America, Asia, China with a focus on Italy, which emerged during the debate with Arrigo Sadun (president, TLSG International Advisors) and Giorgio Arfaras, director, Economic Letter (Centro Einaudi) moderated by Paolo Kauffmann, concerned the economic and political themes which took centre stage during the last difficult years: the mistakes made by the Fed, which excessively tightened the US’s monetary policy, with a consequent deceleration of growth from 4 to 1.5%; the war on tariffs which not only demolished a system which at least was a global reference point but also turned out to be, as expected, a relevant ballast on the USA’ GNP; again in the US, the permanent political warfare climate which will probably prevent the realization of serious support provisions for the economy; an EU with no identity, role or leadership, as was evident in the case of sanctions against Rusal; Brexit, a peculiar tragedy of errors which risks compromising the unity of the United Kingdom; finally, worries about what is happening within our boundaries, with the Government’s static choices, the exasperated contradictions between North and South, the absolute lack of strategic vision in a framework of a disheartening cultural poverty. In this very uninspiring context , the global deceleration of the automotive industry is a logical consequence and a likely warning signal for the hard ties which are showing up along the horizon.
In order to seek, as good F.A.R.O. members should, all the possible positive signals to prevent excessive demoralisation, there is evidence of good industry provided by SKF’s presentations in the splendid location of the Solution Factory and the vivid enthusiasm for Additive Manufacturing solutions proposed by Luca Canepa, who moderated the Focus dedicated to innovation with the interesting speeches by Jacopo Guzzoni (Vice President & CEO, FOMAS Group), Nicola Sala (Metal Fabrication Project Manager, SIAD Spa) and Paolo Calefati, Vice President Additive Manufacturing Business Development, Prima Industrie Spa.