A report by EIFI secretariat
The European Industrial Fasteners Institute (EIFI) 2018 Conference was held from 24th – 26th May in the beautiful seaside city of Split, the second largest city in Croatia.
The programme started on Thursday 24th May with a welcome cocktail and dinner at the Hotel Le Meridien Lav, where delegates from the major European manufacturers of fasteners, members of EIFI, and special guests from the Fastener Associations of China, Taiwan, and the USA, met in a friendly atmosphere. he full day meeting programme started on Friday 25th May. EIFI Automotive Group Chairman Paolo Pozzi presented an interesting overview of the European and global automotive sector. Global vehicles sales showed a very good trend in the first four months of 2018: +9.6% in Europe, +48% in China, +19.7% in Brazil, +20.5% in Russia, +19% in Argentina; stable in the USA, while a small downturn was registered in Japan (-1.3%). For 2018 a general worldwide sales growth of +2.1% in the automotive market is estimated. Considering the electrification trend, in 2017 average European emissions were 117.3g/km, down from 132g/km registered in 2012. However, many countries do show a negative trend, including the Netherlands, Greece, Luxembourg amongst others. The production of battery electric vehicles is expected to increase by 8% in the next seven years (2018 – 2025) worldwide. Mr Pozzi also analysed in detail the new mobility services, the most important impact of which will not be on vehicle sales volumes, he explained, but rather on how customers interact with vehicles, their expectations and uses for them.
The meeting continued with a very interesting speech from Zoran Legac, co-owner of the Croatian company – Feroimpex automobilska tehnika d.o.o, which produces bearings and parts for automotive and other industries, including wind power and railway. His presentation: ‘Innovative Croatian solutions for the global automotive industry’, explored three main company goals. The first is an innovative scrap metal breaking technology, which reduces the scrap volume to make its handling easier. The other two are, ‘innovative measuring’, based on designing innovative technology for dimensional measurement and control of metal parts, and ‘robotisation, automation, digitalisation’ aimed to maximise customer value while minimising waste. Put simply, lean means creating more value for customers with fewer resources.
The EIFI President Anders Karlsson, thanked the speakers and opened the first part of the General Assembly. Following the presentation of the EIFI balance sheet for 2017 and budget for 2018 by the secretariat, it was the turn of Stefan Beyer, general manager of the EIFI Executive Committee. He presented an update on the many activities carried out during the year and future projects, which include: An updated PPM document ‘Mechanical fasteners – quality of technical characteristics’; a new survey on electricity and gas tariffs at the European level; and the amendment of EN nomenclature for CN codes 7318.
The open part of the General Assembly started with the presentation of the EIFI Board Score 2017, which includes production, import, and export, figures collected from EIFI Members and a general economic outlook in Europe.
In 2017, the European economy grew at its fastest rate in 10 years, as recovery spread to all member states. It was supported by high-levels of confidence, as well as by synchronised global expansion, low financing costs, improving private balance sheets and brightening labour market conditions.
The European economy should continue growing for some time, with unemployment falling further and inflation increasing only very gradually. GDP growth in the Eurozone was 2.4% in 2017, and forecast at 2.3% in 2018, easing to 2% in 2019.
Ramón Ceravalls, chairman of the General Fasteners Group of EIFI, focused his report on trends in the European and global building sector. The world construction outlook for 2018 – 2022 is expected to be good, with an annual increase of 3.9%. Estimated growth by 2030 is more than 50% in China, the USA and India. European Construction output in 2017 was €1.5 billion, +3.5% in comparison with 2016.
Josip Tica, full professor at the University of Zagreb, faculty of economics and business, provided a deep outlook on the worldwide economic performance in the period 2000 – 2020. His general comments were: Global growth forecast is 3.9% (0.2% above the October forecast for 2018 – 19); the USA, Japan, the Eurozone and China are growing above expectations as are the emerging markets of Brazil, Mexico and central & eastern Europe.
The General Assembly closed with speeches from the EIFI special guests who have a general overview of their fastener associations with particular reference to the fastener industry in their country. EIFI gave its best thanks for their attendance to: Florian Seidl, member of the executive board at EFDA; Ivan Lin, chairman of the international committee at TFTA, Taiwan Fasteners Trading Association; Xue Kangsheng, chairman of the China fastener industry association; and Emanuel DeSantis, vice-chairman of the Industrial Fasteners Institute of the USA.
The gala dinner was the occasion for President Karlsson to mention Robert Lench, EIFI honorary president, who has always joined EIFI events but this year was unfortunately unable to come. He then awarded the Robert Dicke Award to Christian F. Kocherscheidt, CEO of Ejot, with the compliments and applause of those present, who also took the occasion to wish ‘Happy Birthday’ to Sergio Pirovano, who kindly offered his prosecco to all attendees.
Saturday 26th May was entirely dedicated to a pleasant excursion to Šibenik, the oldest native Croatian town on the coast, built completely in stone between 1431 and 1536, in both Gothic and Renaissance styles.
EIFI especially wishes to thank its friends at DIV Grupa for the excellent organisation of the event. The next annual EIFI convention will be organised by Artema in France, with dates to be confirmed.
Having held senior management roles in leading automotive and fastener businesses, Phil joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine as editor in 2002. Convinced there is no substitute for ‘being there’, over 15 years of visits and interviews around the world means he has accumulated an extraordinary knowledge and perspective of the global fastener industry, reflected in his incisive and thought provoking reporting.