Roberto Vago



First published in ILM’s Milan 2023 Innovation Showcase supplement

Assomac – the association of manufacturers of technologies and machinery for leather goods, footwear and tanning industries – has looked at the challenges of innovation across its various market segments through the trade fair Simac Tanning Tech and its organisation of the 21st UITIC International Congress.

The past few years have been complicated for companies, including those based in Italy. Coping with the succession of geopolitical shocks puts a strain on business strategies to cope with the rapid pace of global changes. Manufacturing companies find themselves having to innovate continuously to remain competitive, adopting solutions that research projects and technological progress make available to them via the integration of more efficient and sustainable production strategies.

The framework that emerges is characterised by a very high level of organisational, managerial and production complexity that the events of recent years have accelerated. This has led Assomac to promote the Simac Tanning Tech trade fair, held annually in Milan alongside Lineapelle and the UITIC Congress (the international union of footwear technologists’ association’s international congress) to promote integrated solutions for production processes related to technology and strengthen the community of footwear technologists around innovation, digitisation, sustainability and the enhancement of human resources.

Simac Tanning Tech

Simac Tanning Tech 2023 is the only international event with the latest physical machinery present. The international and Italian visitor can easily look and touch the solution closest to their needs such as artificial intelligence, digital communications, flexibility, traceability and recycling solutions. These are just some of the process application proposals resulting from the innovative capacity of companies, and all proposals are aimed at supporting the sustainability objectives at the frontiers of sustainable productivity.

The 21st UITIC International Congress 2023 will allow footwear technicians to deepen their understanding of the main issues related to the shoe production, learn about the main process solutions, visit companies and research centres to learn business models. The International Congress (taking place in Milan from September 20-22) will be an opportunity for discussion and exchange between the main players in the sector, including footwear makers, suppliers, researchers, institutions and associations. Identifying the challenges and opportunities that the footwear market presents in a context of digital transformation and to environmental and social sustainability aligned with “Made in Italy”.

The leather supply chain, together with textiles after the difficulties related to REACH, is facing issues around sustainability reports for processes that have now become an essential element for the non-economic evaluation of a company’s performance. Considering this sector framework, Assomac, as the technological base of the supply chain.

The Targa Verde was the first step that allowed machinery manufacturing companies to voluntarily certify the carbon footprint of machines during operation. The next step, which has already begun, will define a recyclability index at the end-of-life of any machinery and help measure the life cycle of an entire process as well as for the product.

All the information collected by these Assomac proposals falls within the great scope of digital management of processes. To support these changes, Assomac has been organising training courses on competence (experience and legacy), technology (digital automation) and sustainability (data management) of Italian made equipment. In fact, Italy has a competitive advantage and reaffirms Italy’s historic industrial tradition as a world leader in the production of machinery for many production sectors including footwear, leather goods, textiles and synthetics and leather.

In conclusion, the role of Assomac is of fundamental importance in the promotion and development of such a strategic sector for the Italian economy. Through the means of associations, Assomac represents a point of reference for companies operating in the sector, providing them with support and promoting technological innovation.