The most recent numbers for U.S. machine tool orders are in, according to American Machinist, and it appears things are steady but not outstanding.
From September to October, the number of new orders for machine tools, which includes everything from arc welding equipment to milling tools, fell just 0.3%. In all, the industry made a total of $327.4 million that month, according to the latest data from the Association for Manufacturing Technology’s U.S. Machine Tools Orders report.
Compared to last year, though, the numbers show that orders may be slowing down for machinery. This October’s result was 28.3% lower than that of last October, and the year-to-date earnings ($3.45 billion) are 17.4% lower than they were in the first 10 months of 2014. That’s still a far cry, however, from the end of 2008, when revenues hovered around $100 million per month.
AMT president Douglas K. Woods explained that the general economy is growing at a steady pace, with the U.S. GDP projected to grow by 2.4% in 2015, mostly due to consumer spending.
“While the general economy continues to grow at a moderate pace, the manufacturing sector is struggling with the effects of a strong dollar, reduced commodity prices, especially oil, and struggles in key export markets like China,” Woods said. “As the broader industry faces this slowdown, manufacturers are not making significant capital investment in new manufacturing technology.”
Machine Shop Services
However, despite the lackluster sales on new equipment, there’s nothing that indicates that the machine tool industry overall is in trouble. Machine tool repair services are a necessity for any machine shop, no matter how new or old the equipment may be.
In order for machine tools to work properly, they already need to be hard and durable. That means they should last through the years, so high-volume machine shops and factories won’t have to slow down production. Yet that also means that such tools need regular maintenance and repairs, especially so they won’t result in costly replacements later on.
Repair or Replacement
Much of this responsibility, however, falls on the owners of such shops. Lathe operators and other manufacturing professionals should be able to predict if and when they need to call for machine tool repair services. Any grinding noises or other strange sounds coming from machinery are a clear indicator that something may be wrong and and inspection and/or repairs might be necessary. If it’s been some time since a machine has been lubricated, equipment owners should make sure that industrial machine parts rubbing together are well-oiled, so they don’t get damaged.
For some firms, it’s also necessary to determine if and when it may be time for new machinery. Anything that’s slowing down production, or will cost more to fix than it would to buy new, may not be worth the investment. While the new machinery orders may help the economy overall, though, they aren’t always necessary, especially for shops that need to save money. The best way to determine when it’s time for new machinery is to call for machine tool repair services and have a professional evaluate this equipment.
Do you have questions about your machine tools? Make sure to contact us for the machine tool services you need.