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Home / Restore, Renew, Refresh, Reconnect

Restore, Renew, Refresh, Reconnect

Uncertainty is subsiding as the pandemic recedes, heralding business revival.

Posted: July 12, 2021

A Midwest supplier of titanium aerospace structural components took delivery of a 400-ton Beckwood Press hydraulic hot-forming press in April — its second such press investment since 2017.
Sharpe Products of New Berlin, Wis., bought an eighth Unison tube bender, an 80-mm Breeze model that meets the strict tolerances specified for parts used in the aerospace, automotive and medical industries.
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EDITOR’S FORUM

As I write, winter is releasing its grip on Chicago and half of Americans are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19. I’m one of them. As I contemplate the rest of the year, the words “restore,” “renew,” “refresh” and “reconnect” — our 2021 media kit’s theme — has new meaning.

No, we’re not out of the woods yet. Recessions take time to overcome. However, signs bode well for manufacturers of metal parts, components, and assemblies.

In March, the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) logged the tenth consecutive month of growth at 64.7% (the highest was 77.5% in July 1950; the lowest, 29.4% in May 1980). Orders, production and employment are up. Of the 18 industries the PMI tracks, Fabricated Metal Products showed the second-strongest growth.

As of March 1, more Precision Metalforming Association members anticipated improved economic activity, orders and shipping levels over the next three months. Layoffs are virtually nil and customers are paying their invoices.

Companies brought work back to the U.S. in record numbers last year, driven in large part by the pandemic, according to the Reshoring Initiative. One-fifth of middle-market manufacturers plan to reshore, according to BDO’s 2021 Manufacturing CFO Outlook Survey, and half plan to identify secondary backup suppliers. While reshoring’s not the first line of defense against faltering sales, the U.S. has the opportunity to reclaim markets — such as the semiconductor chips our automakers can’t get enough of — from overseas competitors.

The one cloud on the horizon is the steel shortage that’s squeezing profit margins by driving up raw-material prices. The 30,000-member Coalition of American Metal Manufacturers and Users and other groups are urging the Biden administration to roll back steel and aluminum tariffs, but whether that will happen remains to be seen.

AND TRADE SHOWS ARE BACK!

Well, almost. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait for FABTECH in September. Many vendors held impressive virtual events over the last year, but nothing builds relationships like face-to-face contact. While safety remains a concern, I think we’re all ready to physically interact with equipment and tools instead of watching them on a screen.

Do you plan to go? If so, as an exhibitor or attendee? What’s your No. 1 goal for the show? And in the meantime, stay well.

Calendar & Events
SOUTHTEC
October 26 - 28, 2021
Greenville, SC
The Assembly Show
October 26 - 28, 2021
Rosemont, IL
The Quality Show
October 26 - 28, 2021
Rosemont, IL
SEMA
November 2 - 5, 2021
Las Vegas, Nevada
AMCON
November 9 - 10, 2021
Detroit (Novi), Michigan
WESTEC
November 16 - 18, 2021
Long Beach, CA
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