U.S. manufacturers in July registered new orders for machine tools and related products worth $399.34 million, upholding the steady volume of capital investment that has characterized the current business cycle. In fact, the July total the result represents the second consecutive decline in new orders, a 3.0% drop from the June result, “reflecting the start of the typical summer slowdown,” according to the U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report.
But, in the broader picture, the July orders represent a 19.7% increase over July 2017 orders, and the total brings year-to-date new orders to $2.95 billion, a 22.4% expansion over last year’s January-July total.
AMT – the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology, issues the monthly USMTO report based on data supplied by participating companies that produce and distribute metal-cutting and metal-forming and -fabricating equipment. The report includes data for domestically manufactured and imported machinery and equipment, and the results are based on actual order totals, nationwide and in six regional markets.
“The current growth rate in manufacturing technology orders is outstanding in the face of market uncertainty due to trade tensions,” stated AMT president Doug Woods. “This unusual strength during the summer months reflects the market’s confidence in the continued growth in manufacturing, the need for additional capacity, and the challenges in putting that into place in a timely manner due to strain on key component supply chains.”
AMT - Assn. for Manufacturing Technology
AMT offered that current machine-tool purchase patterns imply that manufacturers are placing orders so that the equipment will be available in time to meet anticipated industrial demand growth, as well as to qualify for the current year’s tax advantages.
The association also noted that the year-over-year growth in demand for precision machines (EDM, precision grinding, metrology and laser equipment) were better than the average for July. “This (has been) in addition to the strong showing that automation and newer technologies like additive and hybrid machines have posted throughout the past seven months relative to 2017,” according to AMT’s announcement.
In line with that observation, AMT noted that mold-and-die shops and suppliers to medical equipment manufacturers increased their capital investments by more than 25% during July. This followed a +20% June increase in orders by aerospace industry supplier.
Only two of the six regions tracked in the USMTO report registered month-over-month increases (Northeast, $89.91 million, +21.0%; North Central-East, $95.88 million, +9.9%), while all six regions reported double-digit year-over-year increases in metal-cutting machinery new orders.