U.S. manufacturing technology orders increased 8% in March from the previous month to $301.2 million, according to the latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report published by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. New orders were 29.3% lower than in March 2019. Total orders through March 2020 were $863 million, 26.1% lower than YTD 2019 orders.
“We were anticipating an increase in orders from February since many companies’ fiscal years end in March, which typically drives up orders,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “Yet while orders in the first half of March were fairly robust, order volume decelerated rapidly in the second half of the month as stay-at-home orders were put into place
“Going forward, we expect April and May orders to be significantly impacted by the inability of salespeople to meet with new prospects and visit customers’ facilities. While videoconferencing is productive in some situations, it cannot effectively substitute for face-to-face meetings with customers at their facilities.
“This drop-off in quotations is most visible in the contracting machining sector, which represents nearly a third of the manufacturing technology customer base and is seeing a 70% to 80% drop in new quotation activity. If this rate of decline is representative of other key sectors, then much of the industry can expect a large drop-off in order volumes in the second and third quarters. Bucking the downward trend are defense, space, and medical equipment – and there are encouraging signs that automotive is slowing scaling back up as well.”
March 2020 U.S. cutting tool orders up 1% from February
March 2020 U.S. cutting tool consumption totaled $189.8 million, according to the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute (USCTI) and AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the Cutting Tool Market Report collaboration, was up 0.9% from February's $188.2 million and down 9.8% when compared with the $210.4 million reported for March 2019. With a year-to-date total of $574.5 million, 2020 is down 9% when compared with 2019.
These numbers and all data in this report are based on the totals reported by the companies participating in the CTMR program. The totals here represent the majority of the U.S. market for cutting tools.
According to Brad Lawton, Chairman of AMT’s Cutting Tool Product Group, “The Cutting Tool Industry has followed the 2019 trend line during the first quarter of 2020. However, it is anticipated that the second and third quarter of 2020 will show the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with recovery extending into 2021.”