Manufacturing technology orders remain strong

May 21, 2013

The news is out and it’s good for manufacturing technology as March orders totaled $507.91 million, according to the Association for Manufacturing Technology, in their latest survey of companies participating in the USMTO (United States Manufacturing Technology Orders) program. That was up 30.4% from February and up 3.2% over March 2012.
While the year-to-date orders for machine tools and other manufacturing technology equipment was down 5% compared to the same period in 2012, Douglas K. Woods, AMT president, noted that 2012 was an extremely strong year for manufacturing technology. “Our members are doing much better than analysts projected in January,” Woods said. “With vehicle sales and housing starts on the upswing, we can anticipate that gains in the consumer economy will also mean buoyancy for the industrial economy, and manufacturing will remain steady for the foreseeable future.”
Orders for the six geographic regions were up as well, with the Western Region topping the charts with March’s manufacturing technology orders totaling $82.36 million, up 54.2% from February’s total of $53.41 million. The Northeast Region saw manufacturing orders totaling $71.99 million, up 31.8% over February’s.
Manufacturing technology orders in the North-Central West Region totaled $105.93 million, 31.1% higher than February’s $81.43 million. The North Central-East Region’s orders were up 29.4% to $145.53 million compared to February’s $112.49 million.
The Southeast Region saw manufacturing technology orders up 20.2% to 36.07 million in March, but down 38.7% when compared to March 2012 – a banner month for the region last year.  Manufacturing technology orders for March totaled $66.04 million in the South Central Region, up 15% higher than February’s total.

North American robotics companies post strongest opening quarter ever
Manufacturing automation technology saw a record quarter for Q1 2013, according to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). A total of 5,833 robots, valued at $341.2 million were ordered from North American robotics companies through March, “shattering previous opening quarter records for robots orders and shipped.”

Q1 2013 saw an increase of 14.5% in units over Q1 2012, and 10% above the previous record first quarter record set in 2005, said a release from the RIA. The biggest unit growth in applications came from arc welding (46.2%) and material handling (25.1%), both of which have historically been two of the strongest applications for robots, said the RIA.

“It is great to see the record demand for robots continuing into 2013, following our record-breaking year in 2012,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of RIA. “Which activity continue to be strong with automotive OEMs and tier suppliers, the real story is the resurgence of other industries. Non-automotive orders grew 15% over 2012.”

The RIA estimates that some 228,000 robots are now in use in United States factories, placing the U.S. second only to Japan in robot use. “Many observers believe that only about 10% of the U.S. companies that could benefit from robots have installed any so far,” Burnstein said, “and among those that have the most to gain from robots are small and medium-sized companies.”

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