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 2017 (the year to which the latest data are referred), 50% of the machine tool manufacturers invoiced less than 12.5 million euro and 64.5% of them employed less than 100 people.

Nevertheless, the highest contribution to production and exports was given by the most structured companies: those with more than 100 employees, representing only 35.5% of the total number of units operating in Italy, produced 80.4% and exported 82.5% of the total. Analogously, the enterprises that invoiced more than 25 million euro (accounting for 30% of the total number) manufactured 76.5% of production and covered 78.4% 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 companies to be close to those of customers and suppliers: most production facilities of the sector are in Lombardy (41.4%), Triveneto (21.8%), Emilia Romagna (18.4%) and Piedmont (12.6%).

The total turnover was covered by Lombardy (38.4%), Triveneto (23.1%), Piedmont (22.9%) and Emilia Romagna (14.4%). The companies from Emilia Romagna showed the highest propensity to export (64.7% versus a sector average of 57.6%). The main user industry of machine tools was the industry of metal products - which includes production and first processing of metals, subcontractors, building components and other products different from machinery (38.7%) - followed by the automotive industry (30.9%).


In 2017, the breakdown between large-sized companies (turnover higher than 5 million euro) and small/mid-sized enterprises (up to 5 million euro) highlights that the robotics sector is made up of large-sized enterprises representing 91.7% of the total; in 2016, the percentage of big companies was 75%.

Piedmont and Lombardy are the regions with the highest density of companies operating in the robotics market, with 41.7% and 33.3% of the enterprises respectively. Piedmont still showed the highest turnover percentage (74.8%) and the highest number of employees (77.1%).