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2021 Best Year for Machine Tool Orders, AMT Says

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Machine tool orders totaled $5.9 billion in 2021, making the year the best for orders, AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology said today.

The figure represented a 55 percent jump from $3.8 billion in 2020, according to McLean, Va.-based AMT.

“It is difficult to describe 2021 as anything other than exceptional,” Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT, said in a statement.

The year ended with five consecutive months of orders above $500 million. “Since 1998, one-quarter of all months exceeding $500 million are now in 2021,” Woods said.

The group said the improvement in orders was widespread across industries as the economy improved from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the year concluded, AMT said there was increased demand for grinding machines, used to produce drill bits and other tools. Orders also rose from metal valve, hardware, spring, and wire manufacturers, the group said. The end of the year also saw increased demand from manufacturers of engines, turbines, and power transmission equipment.

December orders fell 6.5 percent to $597 million from an adjusted $638.7 million in November. However, the December figure was 33 percent higher than $449 million in December 2020.

The statistics are from companies participating in AMT’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program.

AMT said orders may slow in the early months of 2022.

“We do expect to see some pullback in the first few months of the year,” Woods said. “Expanded backlogs, shortages of key components, and unfilled positions will hamper our strong growth rates of late 2021 but will smooth as the year progresses.”

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