Italian Scientists and Scholars of North America Foundation
Home > USA > Focus On
A Passion For Engines
Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - The first reason for pride is that it is one of the very few European areas where there are the technical skills and the industrial capacity necessary to cover the whole industrial process for the construction of engines. In fact, it is only in the Bologna district, together with the Munich and Stuttgart districts in Germany, that these production areas exist, concentrated in a limited area where engines are designed, together with their specific components, and prototypes are produced, developed and tuned, right up to the final product, and assembled from every individual component. The industrial district for design and engineering in Bologna, in fact, has a remarkable vertical integration, able to manufacture the whole range of mechanical components and the necessary components for the construction of an engine, whether it is destined for a runabout rather than a van, a super-car rather than a motorcycle.
Effectively the Bologna industrial district is not in traditional style, confined within a limited area and specialised in one or two industrial processes, but rather it is an extended productive complex which has a specific concentration of activities in the construction of engine components, with a total number of almost 5 thousand firms, including artisan firms dedicated to segments of niche production, right up to those of a medium size, having a leading role in their sector of the market. Employees number 40 thousand, with overall annual sales above 14 billion euro, of which more than 40 percent on international markets.
Not only design and engineering but other segments have developed, giving Bologna its role as an industrial centre of excellence on a European scale. In fact there are at least another four areas in which the Bolognese firms are particularly competitive: agricultural machinery, transport vehicles, machine tools and the oil-pressure sector. In the agricultural machinery sector, the Bologna industrial district has a widespread presence, above all in the production of small motorised machinery and components (tractors, diggers, mowers, cultivators, garden machinery).
Around 40 percent of Italian national production in this sector is produced by these Bolognese firms. With regard to transport vehicles, the major part of the firms in the district are of small dimension, but almost always use high technology and staff of a high technical profile, dealing basically with the production of specialised components. In this type of environment, consolidated traditions and quality stand out in the motorcycle sector, which has an overall number of 150 active firms, with more than 4,000 employees. Ducati and Malaguti, the two famous motorcycle producers well-known and recognised at world level, make the Bolognese district among the leaders in this sector.
The firms in the oil-pressure sector produce materials of different types, destined for the most part to the sector of moving machinery (for agriculture, the mining, construction and manufacturing industries) and in a significant way also for fixed applications, such as machinery used for wood-working, machine tools, automatic machinery. These are gear pumps, radial-piston pumps, cylinders, valves and distributors, axial-piston pumps and blade pumps. The Bolognese firms in this productive sector carry out more than 60 percent of national production in a sector where Italy plays a leading role on international markets. Lastly, alongside the productive activities in the design and engineering sector, the Bolognese district also has a very important number of industries specialised in the design and production of machinery, robots and flexible automation systems, electronic and various mechanical components.
Area: Province of Bologna
Specialised production: mechanics and engines
Number of municipalities: 60
Area covered: 3,700 sq km
Population: 900, 000 inhabitants
Number of firms: 5,000
Export quota of sales: over 40 percent