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Italian Machine Tools dinner

Wednesday 17 September, 2008

Machine tools for dinner?  That doesn’t sound very tasty.  No, the Italians weren’t serving machine tools for dinner, they were celebrating them.  Here’s what I learned:

The Italian Trade Commission in Chicago, which hosts Machines Italia, (promotes Italian manufacturing) in the US, hosted this lovely dinner together with UCIMU-the Italian Machine Tools, Robots, & Automation Manufacturers Assn. & EMO Milano.

Pasquale Bova of ITC-Chicago opened the evening with a summary of how the US machine tool market is doing, which is not well.  He questioned whether an all-service economy is healthy, while noting US imports of machine tools are up 14% vs. a year ago & the Italians are up 50% to #3 supplier.

Giancarlo Losma, Pres. of Ucimu, informed us that Italian machine tool exports to the US are up 74% over the last 5 years, despite the escalation in the Euro, driven by interest from the automobile & aviation sectors which rose 16% to 583M Euros in 2006.

John Byrd, Pres. of the Association for Manufacturing Technology let us know that 20% of the visitors to IMTS come from outside the US, with of 92,450 registered is over 18,000 foreign visitors from 119 countries.  That’s quite a tourism gain.

Pier Luigi Streparava of EMO 2009 invited all attendees & exhibitors to EMO Milan 5-10 October, 2009.   There they’re expecting 155,000 viistors from 104 countries to see 1600 exhibitors, 1/2 of which will be coming from abroad from 85 countries.  He also showed a very cool video.

Ralph Carruth, Director of Materials & Processes laboratory @ the Marshall Space Flight Center provided an update on NASA, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.  He shamelessly made a plug for NCAM-the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing & less shamelessly for US government support.  The space shuttle will be retired in 2010 when the international space station is finished. He showed a less cool video.

Rita Athas, Executive Director of World Business Chicago, accepted the innovation award for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley as the 1st non-European to receive it.  Richie was gallavanting is Switzerland @ the time.  Rita noted that Chicago is still the #2 city in manufacturing, which accounts for 583,000 jobs here.  They also gave out the Italian Machine Tools Technology awards to students & their professors @ Arizona State University & Michigan State University.  1 student, Adrian Teo won a free ticket to EMO-Milan from Alitalia.

This was a beautiful evening @ the wintergarden @ the Harold Washington library.  I sat @ a table in the back with 3 Italians from UCIMU, an Italian machine tool area manager, & a woman over from China.  It was well-done, informative, & entertaining.  I can’t think of a better way to explore machine tools, even after sipping a few glasses of wine with a friend of mine over from Germany beforehand.

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