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Machine Tool Orders Rise Amid Broad Recovery

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Machine tool orders jumped in June as the industry enjoyed increases across various sectors.

Orders for June totaled $490.3 million for the month, AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology, said today in a monthly report.

That was an 8.9 percent increase from an adjusted $450.1 million in May, according to the report. The June order level increased 42 percent from $346.1 million in June 2020. In the year-earlier period, orders felt the economic impact from the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the year’s first half, orders totaled $2.51 billion, up 49 percent compared with $1.69 billion for the same period last year. The figures are from companies participating in McLean, Va.-based AMT’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program.

“The manufacturing technology industry has rebounded from the pandemic-induced recession in a phenomenal way,” Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT, said in a statement.

“The first half of 2021 is only 3 percent below 2018, when orders were at a two-decade high,” he added. “Not only has the industry recovered from the 2020 slump, but orders are now exceeding the pre-pandemic trend.”

Gains in machine tool orders came from makers of simple to complex parts.

AMT said industries that boosted machine tool orders included “manufacturers of hardware, springs, screws, nuts, and bolts.”

“These low-complexity, high-volume parts can be shipped within weeks of a machine being delivered,” Woods said. “Production of these commodity parts domestically appears to be an effort by manufacturers to diversify their supply chains.”

On the more complex side, orders have risen from makers of medical equipment, according to AMT.

“A massive rebound in demand is putting strain on producers and generating an economy-wide need for additional manufacturing technology,” Woods said.

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