First of all I’d like to say that, in order to optimise our guests’ experience,we have decided to structure the fair over eight halls, dividing the area up based on the business communities of the exhibiting companies or the specific products. We will be focusing on areas such as: pasta, bakery, milling,and confectionery; food processing and packaging, with special emphasis on fresh and convenience products; non-food, cosmetics, and industrial goods in particular; liquid filling; labelling, coding, and tracking technologies, end-of-line technologies, and automation. We will also be launching Ipack-Mat, a new satellite show dedicated to innovative materials and premium packaging. Meat processing technologies, ancillary equipment, and ingredients, meanwhile, will take centre stage at Meat-Tech.
The key issues we aim to highlight include the circular economy and sustainability (which will be a central theme in the area managed by the Conai association) and the products in the running for the Packaging Oscar (in the area managed by the Italian Packaging Institute). Digitalisation and e-commerce issues will be making up the agenda at the conference organised in association with Italian e commerce consortium Netcomm, while solutions designed specifically for online sales channels will also be showcased by exhibiting companies. Specific manufacturing aspects linked to ‘free-from’foods, sanitary design, and private labels will also be part of the offerings aimed at members of the food and beverage industry. Finally, we will be hosting the international Save Food congress, where speakers from various countries will be discussing vital issues linked to the prevention of food waste and the improvement of packaging, logistics, and manufacturing processes, in order to promote food preservation worldwide.
The highly strategic partnership established between Italy’s largest exhibition centre Fiera Milano and UCIMA, the national association of manufacturers of packaging machines, marked the beginning of a development and internationalisation process within the industry. The exhibition centre will benefit from UCIMA’s international relations network and the assistance offered by member companies for the creation of an event that meets the expectations of its international customer-base.
IPACK-IMA and Meat-Tech will also gain from the fact that other fairs are due to be held at the centre at the same time, as part of the ‘The Innovation Alliance’ project, including: Plast, Print4All, and Intralogistica Italia. Occupying exhibition space totalling over 140,000 square metres, these combined events will ensure the Fiera Milano exhibition centre is virtually full. We are also expecting approximately 1000 profiled buyers, who have been invited thanks to the support of Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development and the country’s Trade and Investment Agency.
Just as vital is the strategic agreement between interpack and IPACK-IMA,on the basis of which the two ventures will provide mutual support for their own packaging fairs (held in Düsseldorf and Milan), while UCIMA will be assisting with the international Messe Düsseldorf events organised as part of the interpack alliance. Confirming IPACK-IMA’s growth,this allegiance will mean the event is close to becoming the industry’s go-to fair.
Our fair will undoubtedly be a fundamental showcase for consolidating the international leadership of Italian machinery manufacturers. For 2018, our research centre has forecast greater international penetration and an average growth of five percent. The best performance is expected to be recorded in Asia and Africa, with increases of between six and 6.5 percent.
Inherent strengths of Italian industry
An extensive presence on the international markets is one of the main strengths offered by Italian technologies, which are competing with German companies in terms of innovation and market leadership. It is worth remembering that Italian machines make up one in five of all sales made around the world.
Huge investments in R&D are another aspect of our industry and in the battle for global competitiveness, it is increasingly necessary that our companies understand the importance of dedicating increasing resources to innovation.
At the same time, there are challenges to meet. The international market calls for increasingly interconnected technologies, which shorten processing time,reduce the footprint of equipment, and provide increasingly accurate information on production capacities and any failures. To achieve this, we need to provide our designers with the skills they need and ensure all the conditions are right for them to work to their best, including having the most appropriate tools at their disposal. Naturally, if this positive trend continues throughout the industry, we are likely to see a further increase in R&D investments, especially by medium to large companies. That’s why the average company size is a fundamental aspect of my policy and why we have to find tools with which to foster partnerships between companies and raise awareness about M&A.
The excellent response registered via pre-bookings makes me very confident about the number of visitors we can expect to see at the event. The number of trade members requesting entry tickets continues to grow. These results can be put down to the extensive international promotion campaign put in place over recent years, which includes participation in approximately 50 exhibitions worldwide and five press conferences in important markets, partnerships with 230 national and international publishers, social media activities, and partnerships with associations and international bodies, which generated over a million leads.The delegations of buyers from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South America,and the United States also guarantee visitor quality. I expect a truly international fair that reflects the strength of the Italian system and generates an abundance of leads.
Speaking as CEO of Aetna Group, we will be using IPACK-IMA to showcase our most recent innovations, with a view to consolidating our position as suppliers of innovative end-of-line solutions that curb packaging costs and guarantee maximum safety of palletised loads. It will be the ideal occasion to confirm our mission as global partner for the leading system integrators, serving the most exacting international clientele and offering customised solutions and outstanding service worldwide. The day before the fair opens, we will be officially opening our technology and manufacturing hub in Castel San Pietro (Bologna), which is strategically located in the heart of the Italian Packaging Valley and houses - apart from the entire Robopac range - the revolutionary TechLab, that is, the industry’s most advanced research centre, dedicated to continuous innovation in the field of packaging, palletised load stabilisation, and customer advisory services.
The fair also offers the opportunity to continue our integration process with Ocme, a manufacturer based in Parma which focuses on primary and secondary packaging machines and end-of-line and logistics solutions. Our aim is to build a more systematic approach that combines the strengths of each company, working in line with a local for local strategy that is already producing exciting results.By bringing together our joint experience and skills, we hope to achieve the critical mass needed to ensure a strong hold on the international market.