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Cutting Tool Demand Shows Manufacturing Up 13.9%

U.S. manufacturing activity continued to expand during August, based on cutting-tool consumption totals

U.S. manufacturing activity continued to expand during August according to data provided in the latest Cutting Tool Market Report. The result is significant because summer months frequently reveal flat or diminished manufacturing activity. “August results posted double digit increases from the previous month, previous year to date and previous year over year. August also set a new record for total monthly sales,” according to Phil Kurtz, vice chairman of Wetmore Tool and Engineering, a producer of standard and specialty cutting tools.

Cutting-tool consumption rose 11.2% from July, totaling $223.47 million during the month. That represented a 13.9% expansion in activity from August 2017 ($196.23 million), and increased the year-to-date cutting-tool consumption total to $1.636 billion, a 12.0% rise over January-August 2017 consumption.

“The volume of cutting tools being consumed reflects the good backlogs in metal cutting tool shops across the USA,” Kurtz continued. “While the increases may cool off through the fourth quarter it appears the run rate will remain very strong.”

AMT / USCTICTMR chart Aug 2018

The Cutting Tool Market Report presents cutting-tool consumption as an indicator of U.S. manufacturing activity, comparable to durable goods shipments. The graph includes the 12-month moving average for durable goods shipments and cutting tool orders.

The monthly CTMR presented by AMT – the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology and the  U.S. Cutting Tool Institute documents actual sales totals for cutting tools by participating manufacturers. Cutting-tool consumption is offered as an indicator of manufacturing activity because cutting tools are a primary consumable product in the production of manufactured parts.

The Cutting Tool Market Report is different from AMT’s monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report, which tracks new orders for machine tools as an indicator of future manufacturing activity.

Companies participating in the CTMR represent the majority of the U.S. market for such products. Because cutting tools are a basic consumable product for manufacturing activities, the consumption data is further evidence of the ongoing strength of the manufacturing sector.

Chris Kaiser, president and CEO of cutting-tool supplier BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling, said, “Our year-to-date sales reflect what we have seen from the data until August with a 12% plus increase. More machine tools have been sold this year than last. Everyone is equipping their new machines with cutting tools and tool holders. We’ve seen increases in aerospace, defense, and fracking pumps. Automotive, mining, construction and agriculture are good, but not as strong as the previous industries.”

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