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The Manufacturing Sector Stays the Course

Sentiment remains optimistic regarding demand as the industry gathers for the largest manufacturing technology show in North America.

Posted: July 19, 2022

Industrial Welder With Torch and Protective Helmet in big hall welding metal profiles
Discover the latest innovations in digital and traditional manufacturing at IMTS, a gathering where you can view more than 15,000 new machining technologies. Image courtesy of IMTS.

Excitement is building as the manufacturing sector prepares to assemble at McCormick Place in Chicago from September 12-17 to view exhibits filled with advanced machinery and products, all arranged according to specific industries, technologies and solutions. Event highlights include 12 conferences co-located with the show, and new events including IMTS Women Make Manufacturing Move.

The conference returns four years after the last event was held, which attracted more than 129,000   registrants. (IMTS takes place every two years and was not held in 2020 due to the pandemic.) The return couldn’t happen at a better time as manufacturing companies are looking for machinery, products and services that will assist them in innovating their processes. Companies are ready to collaborate with industry suppliers, their peers and others to successfully navigate today’s challenges.

What’s on the Horizon?

While the June Manufacturing PMI issued by the Institute of Supply Management was down 3.1 percentage points to 53% from 56.1% in May, the figure marked the 25th month in a row of industry expansion. Fifteen industries reported growth in June, which included machinery, and fabricated metal products. What’s more, the six biggest manufacturing industries registered moderate-to-strong growth in June, which includes machinery, and transportation equipment.

“The U.S. manufacturing sector continues to be powered — though less so in June — by demand while held back by supply chain constraints,” said Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “Sentiment remained optimistic regarding demand, with three positive growth comments for every cautious comment [from committee members].”

Regarding June’s business climate, supply chain executive respondents from two sectors replied:

  • “Our suppliers are experiencing a softening of orders. We are still running at the same high level we did throughout 2021 and in early 2022.” – Machinery industry respondent
  • “Business is still steady. Some customers are pushing orders out because they have too much inventory. We are able to backfill the pushed orders from customers that want theirs earlier, so we aren’t losing capacity.” – Fabricated metal products industry respondent

“There’s no indication on the manufacturing side that a recession is looming,” Fiore told reporters during a conference call. Survey respondents indicated they “are continuing to hire at similar rates as in previous months, but they are still struggling to get people on the factory floor,” Fiore added. “If there were worries, you’d see comments about hiring freezes because of uncertainty about interest rates or fuel costs. They wouldn’t be hiring at the rate that they are.”

As an example, O’Neal Manufacturing Services has recently opened a 130,000-square-foot custom steel fabrication plant in Fayette, Ala. The company is investing $4 million in the project and will create 80 jobs. The company has nine North American locations, and the Fayette plant will include robotic and manual welding stations, a beam cutting line, a wet paint booth, press brakes, laser cutting, and saw cutting to support medium- to heavy-gauge steel fabrication. The company’s customers build equipment and manage projects that include locomotives, bulldozers, forklifts and power generation equipment.

O’Neal Manufacturing Services, an affiliate of 101-year-old O’Neal Industries, is just one organization in the United States expanding its operations to meet customer demands.

The strong pulse of the manufacturing sector is a good indicator that attendees to IMTS can expect a thriving, informative and solution-filled event. What will you find at IMTS? A premier event that connects and inspires creators, builders, sellers, and drivers of manufacturing technology.

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Calendar & Events
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