With exhibitor harmony restored and a growing market once more, Italy’s top event for furniture and joinery manufacturers seems vibrant and focused – once again ready to welcome visitors back to Rho with a more positive and optimistic outlook. John Legg looks ahead to Xylexpo.

Milan every other May has usually been a welcome fillip on the exhibition calendar for furniture and joinery business across Europe, but it is fair to say that the event has had a difficult few events over recent years. Against the backdrop of global recession and fractured relationships among the top Italian firms, Xylexpo has struggled.

But all that now seems consigned to history and once again the Italian industry is open for business and set to welcome visitors from across Europe and around the world.

“We really feel that the next Xylexpo will be an essential stage in the success story of our exhibition,” says Lorenzo Primultini, president of the exhibition. “We are doing all we can to create a big event, an excellent review of innovative technology featuring all the leading actors of this industry. And I am proud to say that all Italian companies will be there!”

But what can visitors expect at the next edition of the international biennial trade fair scheduled at FieraMilano-Rho from 24-28th May 2016? Here are a few figures. So far, about 300 exhibitors have registered, 22% of which are international companies.

Looking closer, there is a huge number of first-time exhibitors in Milan which suggests that the figures of 2014 will probably be exceeded and visitors will be able to see lots of unique machinery and equipment in addition to the welcome return of the major international firms.

“We expect at least 500 exhibitors, up on 440 in 2014, while the exhibition area will be around 30,000m2, more than the 26,000m2 covered two years ago. We are even more optimistic on the visitor side. In 2014 we recorded 15,250 unique visitors; this year, everything seems to suggest that we will do even better,” says Lorenzo.

Of course an exhibition is not just figures, but most of all ideas, challenges, capacity to handle situations, preserving the role − despite the problems of recent editions and thanks to the professional approach by Cepra − of an exhaustive showcase of made-in-Italy technology and the best solutions offered by manufacturers from all over the world.

“Our optimism is supported by several factors,” Lorenzo adds. “First of all, our exhibition will represent the entire industry: all the key firms of the industry will be in Milan and this is a major achievement.

“I am not referring only to big groups, to the fact that Barberan, Biesse, Cefla, Homag, Ima, SCM and Weinig are finally back to Milan, all together, but also to so many small- and medium-sized businesses from all over the world with their capacity to find creative solutions – they will all be in Milan, an exhibition where technology is at home, both process technology for big production volumes and tailor-made solutions for very specific needs.”

Lorenzo stresses that this year’s Xylexpo will be an exhibition of innovations – because that’s what the industry asks from reference trade fairs today – and the mirror of a much better economic season.

The Acimall president then announced that, starting from this year, entry to Xylexpo will be free for all operators who register online at www.xylexpo.com; without pre-registration, an entrance fee will be applied starting from this edition of €15 for one day, €25 for the entire period.