After a very positive 2017, manufacturers of machinery and technology for footwear, leather goods and tanning industries look ahead at 2018 in a positive and confident mood. Such optimism was quite widespread amongst exhibitors at Simac Tanning Tech, the trade industry fair ended yesterday in Milan. For the records, visitors increased by 18% compared to 2017 edition. Two elements have been driving the business in the past year, and prospective business will rely on them in the new year as well: automotive and industry 4.0. Machinery for bodywork are still a secure guarantee, as they are consistently modernized and updated, in terms of technology, to meet a very demanding final clientele. Simultaneously, the government has allocated new funds for industrial innovation (9,8 billion euros, in addition to 20 more formerly allocated in 2017), aiming to boost several actions that are bound to be specifically focused, starting from this year, on those issues. “Undoubtedly attendance of visitors was good”, remarks Mauro Bergozza, president of Bergi, while highlighting that “the whole business is getting moving and all players are actively involved”. “Benefits and subsidies coming from the Industry 4.0 plan remarkably supported Italy; yet, during the exhibition, we also met several visitors coming from the rest of Europe, South America, Middle East and Africa – he adds -. In contrast, Indian visitors decreased, as well as Chinese, owing to the national New Year’s Eve; not to mention, as well, the upcoming Hong Kong fair, due to open in a few weeks”. Likewise, good vibrations at the chemical companies’ stands, in terms of attendance and optimism. “We encountered visitors coming from China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, then Nicaragua, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, where things are currently going very well, and Italy of course”, points out Massimo Gotti from Silvateam, while listing visitors who came and see the latest product lines suggested by his Tuscan company, a worldwide top manufacturer of vegetable extracts. Moreover, we noticed positive curiosity about new suitable solutions for metal-free manufacturing, as “companies want to be ready should aldehydes get actually banned”.