Machinists Ready to Invest in New Tools, Spurring Industry Growth in 2014


machine_shopThe revival of the U.S. manufacturing sector has led to the natural increase in machine tool demand, says a new survey by MNI. Manufacturing machine executives are indicating that the forecast is good for 2014, even if the severe winter months hindered sales and demand early in the year. In all, industry economists are expecting 10% growth.

That trend lines up, if not perfectly, with a recently-released report from Research and Markets. The “Machine Tools Market in the U.S. 2014-2018” expects the market to grow at a CAGR of 2.32% until 2018.

Many manufacturers and machine shops waited to upgrade their equipment or replace old items until after the recession finally faded. Now, with growth and security more common, they are willing to invest in new products and tools.

“We don’t see gangbuster growth, but the market is holding up,” said Scott Melamed, director of marketing for Haas Automation of California. “Our distributors around the country are all very positive.”

Orders in January and February were about the same as the year before, Melamed added. However, he also posits that, had the winter months not been so harsh, particularly in the Northeast, sales might have been even higher.

“With the amount of quoting that’s going on, we’re hopeful about what’s going to happen this year,” he said.

Demand is also being pushed by foreign investors, said AMT President Doug Woods.

Automotive, technology, and other companies are all investing in factories in the U.S. because, “They’d rather be closer to the consumer, with access to universities, to capital and venture money,” he said. Woods is also excited about the fact that trend of reshoring — the process of bringing manufacturing jobs back to U.S. soil from overseas — is growing, even if it is still modest.

“There’s a lot less reluctance to buy,” Melamed said. “I think the U.S. economy is doing better than many people think. Our dealers are saying so.”

If Melamed is right, that should mean growth is on the horizon for the machine tool industry, and experts will be proven correct.

“The first quarter of 2014 appears to be steady for American Manufacturing,” explains Chris Nuccitelli, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Parlec. “Machine tool sales also are predicted to remain at the current pace. While many economists are talking about a slight slowdown in the second half of 2014, Parlec’s blistering pace of innovation and product introductions assures excellent market growth for our products well into 2015.”

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