December 27, 1965 Electronics
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Electronics,
published 1930 - 1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
This is the electronics market
prediction for Italy, circa 1966. It was part of a comprehensive assessment by the editors
of Electronics magazine of the state of commercial, military, and consumer electronics
at the end of 1965. Computers, military communications, numerically controlled factory
automation, and consumer electronics drove the Italian markets, as was the case for every
first-world nation. A bigger concentration on exports was becoming an important part
of the equation. Unless you can find a news story on the state of the industry, detailed
reports must be purchased from research companies like
Statista. Their website has a lot of charts on Italy's current electronics
market showing revenue in the consumer electronics segment amounts of US$2,948M in 2018.
Separate reports are included for
(the Berlin Wall was still up then), the
obviously not part of Europe, is also covered.
Industry emerging from recession
Italy's electronics industry should emerge in 1966 from an economic recession that
has dogged the entire country through 1965. Total domestic sales for the industry in
1966 are forecast at $760.2 million, about $80 million ahead of 1965.
Helping the electronics manufacturers shake off the recession will be a big boost
in military sales: Italy has just signed a $170 million contract with the United States
to buy 162 F-104's; the plane will be built in Italy.
The television market, though, is still in a slump. The gross national product is
expected to climb about 4.5% in 1966 but manufacturers of tv sets point out that sales
of consumer goods generally lag several months behind the over-all economic indicators.
One bright spot is the outlook for exports. Italian companies have recorded larger
increases in export sales than in domestic sales.
Another hopeful sign is the increased research and development. Although Italy is
far behind U.S. and Western European levels of research activity, a number of companies
- often affiliates of U.S. companies - are building up their R&D efforts. An Italian
company that might be a big winner in the R&D sweepstakes is Raytheon-Elsi, S.p.A.,
a subsidiary of the Raytheon Co. Elsi has signed a contract with Compagnie Française
de Télévision to develop the production processes to build a picture tube
for the Secam color tv system. If Elsi succeeds it could mean a bonanza because the company
would be the world's only producer of the tube.
Because of Italy's technological backwardness, the industrial electronics market -
stagnant over the past two years - won't make any spectacular improvement in 1966. Sales
of advanced controls and instrumentation are expected to gain little headway. Numerical
control (NC) for machine tools is a good example of what's happening. Although both Ing.
C. Olivetti & Co., S.p.A., and Costruzioni Elettroniche Automatismi-Perego make NC equipment, only
a handful have been installed in Italy. Guido Luccherini, Paregos commercial director,
says his company sold only nine pieces of NC equipment over the past two years, and expects
to sell no more than 10 in Italy next year.
"Italy's television industry is seeing a shakeout," says Mario Malerba, director of
Fabbrica Italiana Apparecchi
Radio (FIAR) - GE's Italian television-and radio-producing subsidiary. He points
out that although there are now about 58 producers turning out 72 brands, eight hold
61% of the market.
Italian electronics markets
(millions of dollars)
During the first nine months of this year, 869,220 new television sets were registered
with RAI, the government broadcasting monopoly; 774,500 were registered in the first
nine months of 1964. Malerba believes the Italian industry is about where the U.S. industry
was when its 1955-1958 shakeout came along. RAI is expected to start broadcasting in
color in 1967. Sales of receivers, however, aren't expected to react for several years
after that because tv set prices are expected to be high initially.
The telecommunications market totals about $32 million a year for electronics suppliers
and is increasing at the rate of 7% to 10% a year. According to Virgilio Floriani, president
of Telettra, the biggest purchaser of telecommunications equipment in Italy is the government's
Telefonica Per Azioni (STET) telephone group. But the Ministry of Post and Telegraph
is another big customer. The military makes other, but smaller purchases. Next year should
be a good one because the ministry is pushing a major expansion of its network.
Military business good
The industry is eagerly awaiting the signing of the F-104 Starfighter which is expected
to pick up the slack left by the completion of the Hawk missile and the F-104 Starfighter
programs this year. The new plane will be modified to handle the Sparrow air-to-air missile;
this will involve adding a very precise fire-control system to the plane.
Work on a $20-million air-defense system for Italy will start in 1966. Italy is also
expected to get a $15-million slice of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's air-defense
ground-environment system (Nadge).
The component market will expand from $157.8 to $176.7 million in 1966. A good market
for semiconductors is seen developing in television. Laurence Curry, manager of marketing
services for Societá Generale Semiconduttori, a Fairchild Camera & Instrument
Corp. affiliate, predicts that about 10% of the 1966 television sets will be transistorized.
Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken, N. V., the Dutch electronics giant, sees the most important
increase in semiconductor sales in Italy coming from power semiconductors, for such equipment
as motor controls, d-c converters and welding machines. A few companies have started
building prototype models of power converters using transistor power diodes instead of
Integrated circuits are slowly coming into use. For example, Telettra, using integrated
circuits in its pulse-code-modulation multiplex telephone equipment, is now conducting
field tests and expects to have the equipment in commercial use next year. Olivetti is
said to have constructed a small computer in its laboratory, using integrated circuits,
to measure transistor characteristics.
Exports becoming important
Hurt by the drop in the Italian market, a number of electronics firms have been trying
to improve sales through exports. FIAR, which has been exporting tv sets for two years
under other labels, now exports about 20% of its tv production. Magnadyne, another television
firm, also exports about 20% of its output, with Germany, Austria and France the principal
FIAR, which also enjoyed large exports because it built equipment for the Hawk and
Starfighter military programs, is now pushing hard to sell tv repeaters outside Italy.
It has already been working with government networks in Rhodesia and South Africa, and
is now talking with buyers in Australia, Spain, Portugal and South America.
Italy has become the main export base for several companies. Calosi of Raytheon says
that 50% of the sales of Selenia, another Raytheon affiliate and a major military supplier,
are outside Italy.
Computers are becoming a significant export item and International Business Machines
Corp. has decided to build a plant to produce its 360 Model 20 computer. Also in 1966
Olivetti-General Electric, S.p.A. - a company owned 75% by GE and 25% by Olivetti - plans
to build about 300 data processing systems around the 4115 computer, two-thirds of which
will be sold outside Italy.
Posted October 4, 2018