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
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 2020.
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
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
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 Societá Finanziaria 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 tubes.
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 customers.
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 26, 2023
(updated from original
post on 10/4/2018)