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U.S. Machine Tools Orders Surged 77.3% in September

Nov. 10, 2014
Paced by IMTS, domestic manufacturers push 2014 manufacturing technology orders past year-ago total Latest month rises to $647.63 million January-September total up to $3.74 billion “Exceptionally strong” IMTS effect
September 2014 new orders did not reach the volume peak set in September 2012, the last time IMTS was staged, but the month’s impressive increase broke through the lackluster pace for 2014 machine tool demand.

U.S. manufacturers and machine shops ordered $647.63 million worth of new machining and cutting equipment, a rise of 77.3% over the $365.18 million recorded for August, and 61.4% over the total of $401.18 million reported for September 2013. The data is drawn from the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report, a monthly summary of actual data prepared by AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology.

USMTO figures are actual data reported by participating manufacturers and distributors, and cover demand for metal-cutting equipment and metal forming and fabricating equipment, both domestically sourced and imported products, with the combined figure representing the monthly total.

The latest monthly result brings the 2014 new-orders total to $3.74 billion, a 5.2% improvement over the 10-month total for 2013.

The dramatic improvement during September, following months of lackluster results, had been anticipated to some extent because of the timing of IMTS 2014, the biannual trade show for machine tools and related manufacturing technologies. The Chicago event drew 114,147 attendees over six days.

In September 2012, coinciding with the last staging of IMTS, machine tool orders totaled $667.47 million, rising 40.7% over the previous month.

“We now have data to back up the anecdotal reports that IMTS was an exceptionally strong show. This is a great sign that manufacturers are eager to invest in equipment that will boost their productivity,” stated Douglas K. Woods, AMT President. “But, Washington’s cooperation will be essential to continuing our momentum going forward. With the midterm elections just passed, Congress now must focus on passing tax extender legislation during the lame-duck session, and then taking on comprehensive tax reform once the new Congress convenes in 2015.”

The monthly USMTO report also presents orders for metal cutting equipment and metal forming and fabricating equipment in six geographic regions, all of which appear to have improved markedly during September. However, because AMT revised its geographic references in the past year, and the reporting accounts for changes in the survey participants, it notes that comparisons for Metal Forming and Fabricating equipment orders are not an accurate reflection of the current data. AMT further explained that data is adjusted to reflect this change, but some categories remain unreported.

East-to-West Improvement

In the Northeast region, AMT found total new orders for September rose to $115.94 million, up 84.9% from August, and up 86.5% from September 2013. The Northeast region’s January-September total is 614.09 million, up 3.4% from the comparable period of 2013.

The Southeast region had metal cutting equipment new orders totaling 66.62 million during September, up 60.0% from August and 86.0% from September 2013. The total for new orders in the region stands at $356.43 million through 10 months of 2014, up 9.3% over the comparable period of 2013.

The North Central-East region had total manufacturing technology orders of $133.9 million during September, 46.6% higher than the August result and 27.1% higher than the September 2013 result. For the year to date, the region has new orders totaling $983.23 million, up 7.2% compared to January-September 2013.

New orders in the North Central-West region during September rose 101.3% over August, to $136.76 million, which also is an 85.2% improvement over the September 2013 total. From January through September, the North Central-West new orders total is $647.27 million, which is down 1.4% compared to the same period of 2013.

New orders for metal-cutting equipment in the South Central region during September increased 106.8% from August, to $98.31 million, and that figure is 63.1% over the September 2013 result. For the year-to-date, metal-cutting equipment orders in the region stand at $576.84 million, a 6.6% improvement over last year.

Finally, in the West region, September new orders for metal-cutting equipment rose 85.0% from August to $94.05 million, which also is 60.6% higher than the September 2013 result. Compared to the first 10 months of 2013, the West has seen an 8.1% rising in metal-cutting equipment orders to $547.77 million for the year-to-date.

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