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Internationalization: certifications for mechanical exports

Internationalization: certifications for mechanical exports

In the field ofinternationalization, the mechanical sector is confirmed as one of the fundamental pillars for many Italian companies.

Despite a general weakening of markets and production, the Italian mechanical industry, which represents 60% of total turnover, kept its exports substantially stable in 2023. According to data from the Research Office of Confindustria soul, exports recorded a slight decline of 0.2% in 2023, influenced by the collapse of the construction sector due to the end of tax breaks. However, other mechanical sectors have shown a positive trend in exports.

The sector of machinery and systems for energy production and for the chemical and oil industry saw an increase of 0.4%, reaching 9,834 million euros. The logistics and goods handling sector recorded growth of 1.1%, with 2,698 million euros exported. Other sectors with positive results include technologies and equipment for food products (+1.4%), technologies and products for industry (+1.1%) and machinery and systems for human and environmental safety (+2, 1%), with 3,576, 2,780 and 937 million euros respectively.

In light of these data, what are the prospects for mechanical exports? And what are the most used certifications in the sector?

mechanical internationalization

 

Mechanics: the main certifications used in an internationalization process within and outside the EU

To export in the mechanical sector, it is important to obtain certain certifications that attest to the quality of production, respect for the environment and safety at work. These certifications not only ensure compliance with international regulations, but also enhance the company's reputation in the global market. Here are some of the most used certifications for exports in the mechanical sector within the European Union.

CE mark

The CE mark it is necessary to demonstrate that the product meets all the European directives in force, allowing free circulation in the European market. The process includes identification of relevant directives, conformity assessment, technical documentation and EU declaration of conformity. Once these steps are completed, the product can be marked with the CE logo.

ISO 9001 certification

This certification demonstrates tight control over company activities and continuous monitoring of internal processes, encouraging high quality standards. For companies in the metalworking sector, ISO 9001 not only ensures operational efficiency but also helps reduce costs. Furthermore, it significantly improves relationships with customers on a path of internationalization, increasing trust and satisfaction thanks to high-quality products and services.

ISO 45001 certification

This certification specifies international standards to ensure worker protection, helping companies assess risks in the workplace. By applying ISO 45001, businesses can improve their health and safety performance, reducing accidents and achieving safer working conditions.

ISO 14001 certification

Another important certification for companies exporting mechanical products to the EU is that relating to environmental management. This certification, often requested by companies committed to reducing the environmental impact of their activities, focuses on the sustainable and responsible management of environmental resources.

IATF 16949:2016 certification

This certification is crucial for companies that produce components, assemblies and supplies for the automotive industry.

Supported by automakers and industry associations through International Automotive Task Force, it aims to ensure high quality products and reduce waste along the supply chain.

mechanical export

 

Export of machinery outside the EU: the case of the USA

For export machinery mechanics outside the EU, it is essential to obtain further certifications, which vary depending on the target market. In Canada, CSA certification is required. In Eurasian Economic Union countries, EAC certification is required. In Japan, the products must comply with JIS standards. Obtaining these certifications not only ensures compliance with local regulations, but also improves company reputation and facilitates access to international markets.

The United States they represent one of the main markets for Italian machine tools, with a 22.1% increase in exports after the health crisis. However, exporting machinery to the USA requires attention and can be done in two ways:

  1. Obtain specific certification from a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).
  2. Export without certification, possible only after having passed specific tests of compliance with the safety regulations in force in the country

These rules apply to both new and used machinery. For older machinery, it is recommended to carry out preventive maintenance or evaluate replacement with certified used machinery.

NRTL certifications

The entities NRTL, accredited by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), are private organizations that perform independent safety testing and certification. These laboratories verify the compliance of products with safety standards. When the tests are passed, the NRTL issues a certificate and authorizes the application of its certification mark on the machinery to be exported. Additionally, they carry out periodic inspections to ensure continued product compliance. Among the most used certifications are UL, ASME, IEEE, ISA, NEMA and NFPA.

Each NRTL specializes in specific product categories. It is therefore essential to interact with US offices to identify the correct entity and receive assistance in complying with regulations which may change from state to state.

Export without certification

Although the CE mark is not recognized in the USA, it is possible to export a machine without UL certification, provided that the buyer guarantees maximum safety for operators. US laws are very strict, and machinery must follow both federal and local regulations.

In an internationalization process towards the USA that involves machinery, it is therefore essential to check the regulations of the state and province of destination, since local regulations may apply which are different from federal standards and may require further certifications.

Mechanical export, the prospects of the sector

Italy stands out in international markets thanks to the sophistication of its exports of capital goods. Italian companies are particularly appreciated for their precision, implementation of the latest technologies and ability to offer tailor-made solutions.

The opportunities forinternationalization of the mechanical sector remain attractive thanks to this reputation. However, you will need to keep up with the international competitors, especially in customization and after-sales assistance.

Furthermore, Italy must make the most of the PNRR funds to further grow in the digital sector and encourage innovation. Companies must demonstrate the sustainability of their production processes, improve efficiency and promote circularity and reuse of industrial machinery.

Operating on international markets therefore requires continuous updating and innovation. Octagona supports this process, providing targeted internationalization strategies for Italian companies that export in the mechanical sector. Contact us for more information.

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