The structural characteristics

The structural characteristics of the Italian machine tool, robot and automation manufacturing industry are the same as those of the national manufacturing system: small-sized companies, strong propensity to export and high-quality product offering.

Machine tools

According to the survey conducted by UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, in 2016 (the year to which the latest data are referred), 51.1% of the machine tool manufacturers invoiced less than 12.5 million euro and 65.5% of them employed less than 100 people.

Nevertheless, the highest contribution to production and exports was provided by the most structured companies: those with more than 100 employees, representing only 34.5% of the total number of companies working in Italy, produced 79.8% and exported 82.2% of the total. Analogously, the enterprises that invoiced more than 25 million euro (accounting for 30% of the total number of companies) manufactured 76.8% of production and covered 78.7% of Italian machine tool exports.

The geographic distribution of the sector was consistent with that of the Italian manufacturing system, proving that it is essential for the machine tool manufacturing enterprises to be close to their customers and suppliers’ companies: most production facilities of the sector are in Lombardy (43%), Emilia Romagna (20.9%), Triveneto (19.8%) and Piedmont (12.8%).

The contribution to the total turnover was provided by Lombardy (38.6%), Piedmont (23.2%), Triveneto (20.8%) and Emilia Romagna (16.2%). The companies from Emilia showed the highest propensity to export (64.1% versus a sector average of 61%). The main user industry of machine tools was that of metal products - which includes production and first processing of metals, subcontractors, structural building components and other products different from machinery (30.3%) - followed by the automotive industry (27.5%).


In 2016, the breakdown between large-sized companies (turnover higher than 5 million euro), mid-sized companies (turnover between 2.5 and 5 million euro) and small-sized companies (turnover lower than 2.5 million euro), remained unchanged compared with the previous year.

On the whole, the sector was dominated by large enterprises (75%). Lombardy and Piedmont are the regions with the highest density of companies working in the robotics sector, with 33.4% and 25% of the enterprises respectively. However, Piedmont showed the highest turnover percentage (63.8%) and the highest number of employees (60%).