Italian leather processing and high fashion industries, pressured by an increasingly fiercer global competition, have turned to nanotechnology to preserve their stamina and competitiveness, local media reported on Saturday.
United Colors of Benetton, a well-known fashion group with strong Italian characters, has recently signed a cooperation protocol with Singular ID Italia, a nanotechnology company existent for only 16 days whose pillar business was to commercialize magnetic tags for the protection of brands.
General manager Stefano Gallucci of Singular ID Italia, encouraged by the deal, was confident about his company's growth potential.
"Quite a number of small and medium-sized companies have responded to us positively," he said.
Italian firms have to take measures to secure their advantages in design and production technics, he noted.
After 30 year's of rapid growth, Italy's small and medium-sized companies have begun to struggle uphill with rivals from developing countries where production costs are low and productivity is high.
These companies, each with no more than 250 employers and an annual turnover less than 50 million euros, have been the power house of Italian economy and also bear the most brunt of the country's economic slowdown.
Last year, Italy's aggregated industrial output fell 1.8 percent year-on-year. In a break-down, the leather and shoe-making sector went down 7.7 percent, the highest among all industries, while the textile and apparel industry dropped 6.5 percent.
So far, nanotechnology-based renovations developed by scientists of VEGA have been applied to sunglasses, automobile glasses, sports suits, water faucets, ice cream makers, golf balls and cosmetics.
To speed up nanotechnology research, the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research has planned to provide a fund of 26 million euros to support promising programs in VEGA, the first nanotechnology research facilities of Italy.