Nanotechnology in low-tech industries in Italy

Nanotechnology in low-tech industries in Italy A preliminary analysis of the Veneto Region Stefano Micelli Vladi Finotto TeDIS Center, Venice Interna...
Author: Silas Grant
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Nanotechnology in low-tech industries in Italy

A preliminary analysis of the Veneto Region Stefano Micelli Vladi Finotto TeDIS Center, Venice International University

Outline of the presentation


An introduction to nanotechnology in Italy: facts, figures and directions ✓


facts and figures the content of Italian nanotech: patent analysis

Italian policy - technology clusters: ✓

Veneto Nanotech

Nanotechnology in low- and medium- tech industries: ✓ ✓ ✓

The case of the Veneto Region: potential demand Research projects and activities Fields of interest for Made in Italy SMEs


Nanotechnology in Italy


Mapping Italian Nanotech: the results of a National Analysis


Nanotechnology in Italy, according to the National Census (Nanotec IT, AIRI): ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

169 organizations (124 in 2004) 64 companies, 105 public research centers (Universities, National Research Center, inter-department research centers) 4300 employees (researchers, engineers or equivalent, 1330 in 2004) Public (national) funding of nanotechnology research in Italy in 2005: 60 mln. euro (300 in Germany, 200 in France)


Organizations and employment (Source: Nanotec IT census)


The private sector: dimensions and employees ✓ ✓ ✓


70% are SMEs (R&D companies, university spin-offs) Private companies account for 45% of employees (12% in SMEs and 88% in large companies) ST Microelectronics alone accounts for almost half of the employees (1800 on 4300)

The public sector ✓ ✓

Universities and public research centers account for 55% of the employees Very Fragmented: only 7% of the organizations have more than 50 employees

Patents and publications ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

7000 articles in nanotech-related publications (scholarly journals) between 2002 and 2006 (95% public sector, 5% private) Patents: 92 USPTO, 131 EPO, 24 JPO 53% private sector, 47% public sector Large High-tech Companies: Fiat, Pirelli, Saes Getters, Fidia Farma, ST MIcroelectronics 5

A preliminary synthesis of Nanotechnology in Italy


Large companies operating in high tech industries are developing research projects on nanotechnologies and patent at the international level Data from different sources (our patent research, EC analyses and Nanotec IT census) evidence that NSE is perceived as strategic in high-tech industries (ICT, communication technologies, nano-biotech, oil and gas and pharmaceutical) Research and development on innovative materials for “Made in Italy” industries (Furniture, Clothing, Shoes) appear to be at an early stage


Nanotechnology and policy in Italy: The Veneto Nanotech Cluster


Italian Research Agenda: Technology clusters


The National Plan for Research 2002-2004 has aimed at contributing to Italy’s competitiveness through innovative policies based on technology cluster in hi-tech industries which could potentially benefit traditional industries The Ministry for University and Research launched three calls in 2002 for the constitution of regional Technology clusters. The criteria for the selection of projects were: ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Analysis of the territory and explicitation of the benefits of a technology cluster for the Regional economy Partnership between public and private actors (excellent public research centers and private companies) Development of a governance structure aimed at co-opting universities, companies, societies and local institutions Co-financing Long-term forecasts on the self-sustainability of the cluster


Technology clusters in Italy: National Research Plan 2002-2004

Lombardia: Biotech

Lombardia: ICT

Lombardia: Materials science

Veneto: Veneto Nanotech

Piedmont: Torino Wireless Liguria: Intelligent systems for logistics

Friuli VG: Biotech

Emilia Romagna: Hi-Mech Lazio: Avionics/ defense Campania: Innovative materials

Sicily: Micro systems 9

Why nanotechnology in the Veneto Region?


The choice for the development of a Nanotech cluster in the Veneto Region was determined by two main factors: ✓

presence in the Region of three important Universities with research centers and departments focused on NSE-related research activities (Universities of Padova, Verona and Venezia) the structural characteristics of the regional economy: strong presence of SMEs operating in medium- and low- tech industries which are supposed to benefit strongly from nanoscience and technology, especially in fields such as nanostructured materials and process technologies


Veneto Nanotechnology Cluster


cluster management activities and for the delivery of services to the cluster’s members


European Center for the Sustainable Impact of Nanotechnology



Science Park/Incubator 11

Consortium between the three founding universities (International master)

Nanofabrication facility

Nanotechnology perspectives in Veneto: a preliminary analysis


An analysis of companies interested in NSE projects: methodology


Analysis on the current awareness and demand for nanotechnology research and development Survey of the companies which have contacted and expressed interest towards the activities of Veneto Nanotech and Nanofab since 2005 ✓


300 contacts Companies, institutions, research centers and universities

The panel is composed by 171 companies, located mainly in the Veneto Region (and marginally in other regions such as Piemonte, Lombardia, Emilia Romagna)


Companies by turnover (2005 data)

Turnover classes (th. euros)

Companies under 100 mln. euros

1,75% 2,92% 1,17% 11,70%






10000< 10000-20000

8 61 8

30000-40000 40000-50000



2000 6%

200< 49%

1500-2000 1%

500-1000 1000-1500 1500-2000 >2000 ND

1000-1500 4% 500-1000 6% 200-500 15%






Within class 28 (Manufacture of fabricated metal products except machinery), several companies in the survey are providers of specialized small metallic components and metal treatments for the eyewear, the construction and sporting equipment industries Within class 29 (manufacture of machinery and equipment) the main areas of activity are industrial hydraulic and pumping systems, and industrial heating and cooling systems The treatment and processing of leather represents one of the most relevant group of companies within the panel Sporting equipment and apparel (classes 3640 and 18) are represented by medium-large companies which are leaders in the respective districts 18

Distribution of companies in the major industrial districts in the North East of Italy


Belluno Eyewear


Vicenza Jewellry Vicenza" Textile Belluno

Vicenza Leather"


Pordenone "

Udine Treviso " Plastics Gorizia" Trieste

Treviso "

Vicenza Verona







" Padova



Treviso Shoes and apparel

" Rovigo "

" "


Vicenza/Padova Mechanic/ Electromechanic

Padova Freezing and conditioning


Suppliers and service providers Analysis by area and Ateco code ✓ Vicenza (textile): 2 ✓ Vicenza (leather): 11 ✓ Treviso (shoes and apparel): 8 ✓ Padova and Vicenza (mechanic and electromechanic): 18 ✓ Vicenza (Jewellry): 4 ✓ Belluno (eyewear): 7 ✓ Padova (freezing technologies and air conditioning): 5 ✓ Treviso (plastic components and treatments): 4

Technologies and potential fields of application in the Veneto economy Technology PECVD, PVD

SOL GEL (surface chemical treatments) Chemical and biochemical sensors Nanoparticles (HVC Press)


Polymers Surface Treatments (Atmospheric plasma) Surface Treatments (Cold spray)




Plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition, deposition of a coating by means of a chemical reaction in gases (scomposition of atomic ties) to obtain specific mechanic properties

Mechanics, glass, plastics and polymers, automotive, industries using galvanic technologies (e.g. eyewear)


Production of thin films with several characteristics such as idrophoby, fotocatalitic

Applications in ceramics, precious metals, constructions, plastics


Sensors for diagnosing and monitoring purposes

Medical, environmental monitoring, pharmaceutical


Pressing of nano-structured powders (nanoparticles) for the obtainment of nanostructured alloys with enhanced mechanical resistance

Mechanic, Sporting goods components, Eyewear, Automotive, Aerospace


DNA Microarray, microscopic probes fixed on a solid surface Biotech, medical such as glass, plastics or silicon chips used to examine the expression profile of a gene or viruses, bacteria, ...


Development of nano-structured materials on a polymeric basis

Sporting goods, Plastics, constructions, ...


Surface treatments on polymeric materials and textiles, leather and fibers to deliver resistance and decoration properties

Clothing and apparel, shoes, leather, packaging 7

Coating process, a gun propels powder paticles at very high velocities to apply metal on metal or metal on polymers to realize thin or thick coatings with innovative properties

Medical Devices, Environment



Innovative materials for low-tech and medium tech industries


The analysis of the interests expressed by the companies reflects the specificities of the regional economy: ✓


Seven areas of potential research are focused on the realization of innovative materials and treatments (product characterization) which could potentially benefit companies in industries such as leather, sporting equipment, mechanics, textile and apparel Two areas of research (Biochemical and chemical sensors, Microarray) are directed towards high-tech industries (pharma, medical, environmental)

5 projects are under development, 8 are at the early stage, 30 are being evaluated Leading actors: Large companies and districts associations Industries: shoe manufacturing (sporting equipment), eyewear manufacturing, constructions, pharmaceuticals/ bionano


Nanotech in the eyewear district of Belluno: evidence from a case study


Project presented in 2003, aimed at developing a framework for the application of PECVD technologies to eyewear manufacturing The importance of PECVD technologies for the eyewear industry Potential substitute for galvanic treatments in the eyewear industry Benefits:

✓ ✓ •

environmentally sustainable (reduction of the use of water and thus of water disposal)

provides novel characteristics and enhanced performances (aesthetic outcomes and properties such as increased resistance, anti-scratch, anticorrosion)


Why CEPVD and nanotech in the Eyewear industry?


Italian eyewear manufacturers are world leader in the industry but face relevant threats to their position, especially by competitors in emerging economies To face such competition, Italian companies have focused their attention on the re-definition of their competitive strategy, mainly through ✓ ✓


development of distributive networks (e.g. Luxottica) consolidation of large portfolios of licensed fashion brands and strategic alliances with fashion companies

Although a mature industry, eyewear manufacturing could benefit from the introduction of novel technologies ✓ ✓ ✓

barriers to imitation and entry consolidation of brands strong differentiation


PECVD for the eyewear industry


Starting from these assumptions and analysis, companies and institutions in the eyewear district of Belluno developed a project aimed at evaluating the introduction of these technologies, which are not yet diffused and adopted industry-wide The project ✓ ✓ ✓


Certottica (Italian Institute for the certification of optical products) 12 companies in the industry (leaders and smaller players) Other players: Microcoat spa (MI) and Moma Srl (BG), INFN (PD), CIVEN (university consostium for nanotech in Veneto)

Certottica researcher have collaborated with researchers of companies, universities and research centres involved in the project ✓ ✓

Preliminary assessment of PECVD technology with INFN research staff Evaluation of the development process 24



During 2005 and 2006 Certottica researchers worked with Nanofab researchers to experiment the PECVD techniques Six sessions, each two weeks long The results: ✓ ✓ ✓


development of a film which displayed exceptional resistance to corrosion and a high degree of ductility potential industrial development the experimentations have shown that the development of a PECVD process for the deposition of the metallic layer and the protective layer is feasible

Critical issues ✓ ✓

High Costs Need for further developments of the technique in order to favor the adoption on a large scale


The impact of nanotechnology on low and medium tech industries in Italy: research directions


The impact of Nanotech on LMT: future research directions


Nanotechnology has generated a great deal of attention in Italy as in the rest of the world thanks to its potential in dramatically revolutionizing several industries Nanotechnology has become a strategic element in economic policy in competing countries, such as China (Appelbaum, Gereffi, Parker and Ong, 2006; MOST, 2001) Preliminary evidence from our analysis of the Veneto region and the Veneto Nanotech cluster show that the interest by SMEs in Made in Italy is high, though the pace of industrial diffusion of nanotechnologies seems to be slow and uncertain Interest towards nanotechnology by suppliers of components and providers of process technologies might be interpreted as a signal of upgrading in value chains


Future research directions


Who drives nanotech innovation in Italy and in LMT industries? ✓ ✓



Evidence on the demand for NSE R&D: SMEs, suppliers Evidence on current R&D projects: Medium-large companies, leader firms, district alliances

Local economy and global knowledge networks ✓

Nanotechnology was born global, thus a strong link to international networks of knowledge creation is crucial. What are the linkages between the local economy and international science and technology networks? The role of universities, specialized players, incubators and leader firms Attractiveness of the region for NSE researchers and scientists

Economic impact of Nanotech on LMT industries and made in Italy ✓ ✓

How does nanotechnology effectively determine upgrading? What levels of the value chains are interested? Sustainability: technology transfer policies and financing 28

Italian NSE Patenting 1995-2006: USPTO and EPO



USPTO: 58 patents 5%

EPO: 66 patents

2% 13%



29% 3% 38%


26% 24%


Y01N2/00= Nanobiotechnology

Y01N2/00= Nanobiotechnology

Y01N4/00= Nanotech for info. Processing, storage and transmission Y01N6/00= Nanotech for materials and surface science Y01N10/00= Nanooptics Y01N8/00= Nanotech for interacting, sensing, or actuating Y01N12/00= Nanomagnetics


Y01N4/00= Nanotech for info. Processing, storage and transmissio Y01N6/00= Nanotech for materials and surface science Y01N8/00= Nanotech for interacting, sensing, or actuating Y01N10/00= Nanooptics Y01N12/00= Nanomagnetics

Who patents in NSE in Italy?


Universities and public research centers ✓ ✓


CNR (National Center for Research) University of Catania (Catania is also home for ST Microelectronics) INFM

Private (Large and high-tech) companies ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

ST Microelectronics (10 patents in USPTO, 7 EPO): y01n4/00 CRF -CENTRO RICERCHE FIAT- (5 USPTO, 4 EPO): y01n4/00, y01n6/00, y01n10/00 AUSIMONT (4 USPTO, 6 EPO): y01n2/00 Saes Getters (3 USPTO, 5 EPO): y01n8/00 Bracco, Thomson electronics, Italcementi, Pirelli labs, Telecom, ENI