Industry and training at MECSPE Bologna 2024


The reference exhibition for the manufacturing industry will be held in Bologna from 6 to 8 March with a renewed focus on the preparation of talents, the integration of sustainability in industrial processes, and innovation as driving forces for the sector.

The Italian manufacturing sector is constantly on the hunt for professionals and new resources. In fact, Unioncamere-ANPAL data indicate that manufacturing will need as many as 500,000 employees by 2027 and at least 50,000 ITS graduates per year.[1] These data clash with the difficult time the sector is experiencing in terms of resource availability: it is estimated that almost half of the profiles sought (45%) will be unavailable. The positive trend in manufacturing employment over the last year (with 957,000 entries, +22,000 over 2022) is in fact not enough to bridge the gap between the world of training and industry, which continues to have difficulty finding specialised workers. The mismatch between the needs of companies and market supply reaches 60.3% and increases further (reaching 65.5%) for ITS graduates, a percentage that peaks in the case of specialised technicians in the mechanical area (74.3%).[2]
In this context, MECSPE, the most important exhibition for the manufacturing industry organised by Senaf, will be back at BolognaFiere next 6-8 March. Today more than ever it is a reference point to create a bridge between training and work, providing ideas and initiatives to prepare young people for their entry as professionals in the manufacturing world. An edition focused on training that will be realised with the presence of several Demonstrative Units and with MECSPE Young&Career, an area that offers young visitors and students the opportunity to take part in training appointments organised by exhibitors and to meet companies looking for professionals and new resources. The area aims at highlighting the professional skills that are sought after in the sector, highlighting the skills that can be acquired with the aim of increasing more and more the interest of young people towards the manufacturing world.

The programme of the new edition
The rich programme of MECSPE will give ample space to the theme of training, that together with innovation and sustainability, not only represents one of the three directions along which the exhibition develops, but also follows the main macro-trends that are changing the labour market, with a particular impact on manufacturing. The three souls of the event will be realised within the “Cuore Mostra”, the central area animated by demonstration units with working machines and reproposed again this year, which with workshops and conferences throughout the three days of the Bologna event will give life to projects specifically dedicated to the involvement of young people. Young talents will also be highlighted in the “Piazza Stampo”, where ample space will be given to the DEMU project, a challenge posed by a group of six international companies to second-year students of the degree course in Design organised in Vicenza by the Iuav University of Venice in collaboration with the Fondazione Studi Universitari di Vicenza. The challenge was to exploit the potential of advanced injection moulding through the design of a small object made of polymers from renewable sources with a use value. The winning project among the 23 presented by the students is “Jaketa”: a folding travel hanger, awarded for its immediacy, usefulness, and ease of communication, which, in recognition, will be produced and distributed at the show. With this square, MECSPE further highlights the close synergy between companies and university students.

Sustainability focus with an international outlook
The focus on sustainability will be emphasized by the Sustainability Objective Path, a historical appointment of MECSPE that commits itself to reward the virtuous companies that implement sustainability in their company strategies, in all its three declinations: environmental, social and governance. Sustainability is more and more fundamental for companies as it represents an unavoidable choice to face global challenges, answer to market requests and gain a competitive advantage not only on the national market, but above all on the international scene.
Exports in fact represent a driving force for the Italian economy and guarantee the health of the industry every year. According to the last data of MECSPE Observatory, in fact, more than a quarter of the companies that export generate from 46 to 70% of their turnover abroad, while 15% of the entrepreneurs get to invoice more than 70% abroad.[3]
In this sense, to ride the theme of internationalisation, the Italian-German Forum is back at MECSPE for the second edition, an appointment dedicated to the industrial transition in the automotive sector and to the great changes that are impacting on the whole supply chain. The second edition of the Forum, organised in cooperation with the Italian-German Chamber of Commerce and the international association VDMA, will take stock of the current situation of the sector at international level and will examine all the technological aspects that the industry is introducing (including new ecological fuels, digitalisation, electrification, and autonomous driving) with the aim of a low environmental impact mobility.

“We are coming back to Bologna with a new edition of MECSPE rich in contents and novelties, emphasizing more than ever the need to bring young people closer to industry”, said Maruska Sabato, Project Manager of MECSPE. “By working on the main guidelines of the show, such as sustainability, training and innovation, we favour the creation of synergies among the different stakeholders with the aim of creating useful value for the country system. Manufacturing is one of the country’s most driving sectors and is on the verge of a turnaround on several fronts. Thanks to the insights that will emerge during the fair, we will be able to bring our contribution to the international level as well”.
March will also see the second edition of the Aluminium Energy Summit, a panel dedicated to this fundamental and infinitely recyclable material, 42% of which is used in Italy by the transport sector alone. A summit to explain what the possible future of primary metal production could be, the preservation of energy content through recovery and recycling, and what is the position of our country compared to foreign competitors.
There will also be initiatives dedicated to the theme of innovation, one above all the Competence Center Area, a space created with the aim of favouring a matching between the MECSPE community – exhibitors and visitors of the event – and the Competence Centres and Digital Innovation Hubs, that will be able to share orientation, training, and innovative projects in the sphere of Industry 4.0. Finally, also this year MECSPE proposes the Solution Award, prize for innovation in robotics and prestigious acknowledgement for companies of the robotics and automation sector.

59,845 visitors operating in the trade sector (+52% compared to 2022), 92,000 sq m of exhibition space, 2,034 participating companies, 2,000 sq m of the Exhibition Core “Energy Transition and Mobility of the Future”, and 20 special initiatives.
Machines and Tools – Machine tools, Equipment, Tools and Design Software; Machines, Materials and Sheet Metal Working – Bending, Stamping, Cutting, Assembly, Welding, Materials and Software; Digital Factory – Industrial Informatics, IoT, Industrial Sensing, Cloud-manufacturing, Automatic Identification Technologies, Applications, Devices, Instrumentation and Intelligent Components for Process Interpretation and Interconnection; Logistics – Packaging, Handling, Material handling, Lean manufacturing, Warehouse management software, Supply chain management, Safety systems, PPE, Outsourcing; Mechanical Subcontracting – Precision mechanical processing, Metal carpentry, Mechanical construction, Fasteners, Foundries, Small parts, Wire processing, Contract industrial processing, Micromachining; Electronic subcontracting – Cem (contract electronics manufacturer), Wiring harnesses, Ems (electronics manufacturing service), PCB (printed circuit board manufacturers), Engineering and design offices; Eurostampi – Plastics, rubber and composites – Plastics, rubber and composites processing, Machines and plants, Auxiliary equipment, Innovative materials, Moulding, Extrusion, Packaging, Blowing, Moulds, Models, Standardized components for molds, Design, Simulation and design software, Micromachining; Additive Manufacturing – 3D printing, Rapid prototyping, Rapid Manufacturing, Systems and services for reverse engineering, Additive technology, Materials, Services, Hardware: 3D printers and scanners, accessories, Simulation and design software; Treatments and Finishes – Surface Treatment Plants, Furnaces, Electroplating, Chemical and Electronic Processes, Washing, Metallization, Enamelling, Galvanizing, Products and accessories for treatments, Heat Treatments, Painting; Non-Ferrous Materials and Alloys – Processing of non-ferrous materials (Aluminium, Titanium, Magnesium, Light Alloys), Die Castings, Foundries, Contract Industrial Processing, Technologies, Design, Engineering; Automation and Robotics – Automation and Robotics, Assembly, Mounting and Handling; Control and Quality – Certification and quality control, Metrology, Measuring instruments, Laboratory testing, Calibration, Analytical equipment, Vision; Power Drive – Mechanical power transmission devices, Hydraulics, Pneumatics, Mechatronics, Motion control, Maintenance, Compressed air.

[1] Source: Unioncamere-ANPAL, Sistema Informativo Excelsior, 2023

[2] Source: Unioncamere-ANPAL, Annual Bulletin of the Sistema Informativo Excelsior, November 2023

[3] Osservatorio MECSPE 3rd quarter 2023