Machine Tools, Metal Forming Type

SIC 3542

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This industry covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing metal forming machine tools, independent from the hands of a human operator, for pressing, hammering, extruding, shearing, die-casting, or otherwise forming metal into shape. The industry also includes the rebuilding of such machine tools and the manufacture of repair parts for them. Establishments primarily engaged in the manufacture of electric and gas welding equipment and soldering equipment are classified in SIC 3548: Electric and Gas Welding and Soldering Equipment; those manufacturing portable, power-driven hand tools are classified in SIC 3546: Power-Driven Hand Tools; and those manufacturing rolling mill machinery and equipment are detailed in SIC 3547: Rolling Mill Machinery and Equipment.

According industry reports, 983 establishments operated in this category for part or all of 2010. The U.S. Census Bureau reported industry-wide employment of approximately 6,223 workers in 2009, down from 7,177 in 2008. Of these 2009 employees, an average of 3,700 worked in production. Overall shipments for the industry were valued at nearly $1.11 billion, down from $1.48 billion in 2008. The vast majority of companies in this industry were small or medium sized, with less than 3 percent of firms employing more than 100 workers.

Industry leader Gleason Corp. of Rochester, New York, founded in 1865, had 2010 sales of $203.2 million and 2,508 employees. In the early 2010s, Gleason had customers around the world and locations in 25 countries. Ingersoll Machine Tools Inc. (IMTA) of Rockford, Illinois had 2010 sales of nearly $56.4 million and employed 331. After filing for bankruptcy in 2003 under its former name Ingersoll International Inc., the company rebounded after it was acquired by Camozzi Group of Italy in conjunction with Rockford-based IMTA. Haas Automation of Oxnard, California, another leader in the industry since entering the market in 1983, is privately owned by founder Gene Haas. Haas was the largest computer numerical control (CNC) machine tool builder in the United States in the early 2010s. The economy of the late years of the first decade of the 2000s negatively impacted the industry, and many firms experienced contracted sales. The industry also experienced ongoing consolidation as larger companies bought out smaller and struggling firms.

The metal forming machine tool industry is closely related to the metal cutting industry. Many machine shops employ both types of machine tools. The primary difference between metal cutting and metal forming concerns the way in which the finished product is removed from the raw metal. Metal forming is a process by which a piece of metal, generally a flat sheet stock or a rod, is forced into another shape by means of pressing the material beyond its present yield strength condition. Because most metals can be formed in this way, the metal forming industry is significant to many major industries throughout the United States.

Since the metal forming industry is linked so closely to the automotive industry, growth in the industry is closely linked to the health of domestic car manufacturers. Consequently, the metal forming machine tool industry did not enjoy extraordinary success in the 1970s and 1980s. Public demand for American-made products, however, encouraged automakers--even those held by Japanese firms operating in the United States--to purchase American-made tooling whenever possible. Metal forming equipment manufacturers in the United States hoped to benefit from this movement.

Most metal forming companies were concentrated around the Great Lakes region and some northeastern states. Another smaller concentration of metal forming interests is located along the West Coast and Alaska. In the mid-1990s, the number of domestic shipments outweighed foreign shipments of complete metal forming tools. Foreign competitors rallied for a share of the metal cutting tool market rather than the metal forming tool market. In 1994 U.S. machine tool production--cutting and forming--was valued at $3.7 billion, Japan's production was valued at $6.7 billion, and Germany's was valued at $5.3 billion.

In the mid-years of the first decade of the 2000s, new cutting methods were becoming more widely used, such as Gleason's bevel gear cutting machine that features a monolithic column design. As with many manufacturing industries, trends in technology in the metal forming machine tools sector were closely tied to computer and electronic innovations, including those for design and control. Due to the need for technologically advanced products, competition was keen and computers played a large part in the development and refinement of new products for the industry, particularly those geared toward the automotive industry. The job shop industry was expected to help buoy this industry through increased product demand. Flexibility was key, with the decade's trend toward innovative products for individual needs and desires.

Employment for machine setters, operators, and tenders was dismal in the early 2010s, with job demand expected to decline by over 13 percent between 2008 and 2018. Overall, manufacturing in the United States continued to struggle, with four of 10 industries having the largest wage/salary reporting declines in manufacturing. The metalworking machinery manufacturing industry as a whole was expected to decrease significantly each year through at least 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For the specific machine tools (metal forming types) manufacturing industry, the number of employees dropped by 33 percent from 2001 to 2004 (11,660 to 7,764 jobs). The job count continued to decline, falling to 6,223 in 2009. However, output for the metalworking machinery manufacturing industry was expected to rise slightly each year during the same timeframe, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This increase would result from the computerization and automation of the industry, as well as such labor-saving innovations as machining centers, which condensed production time and increased efficiency.

According to a 2011 market report, the machine tool (metal forming types) manufacturing industry generated revenues of $1.3 billion in 2010. Gross profit was estimated at 19.89 percent. The United States imported $1.1 billion in products from this industry sector from 66 countries and exported products valued at $1.5 billion to 149 countries.

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