U.S. cutting tool consumption held steady during July, but ended the month still well below pre-pandemic levels, according to the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute and the Association for Manufacturing Technology.
Their Cutting Tool Market Report collaboration showed that July consumption totaled $173.2 million, down 1.5% from June and up 6.7% year-over-year. It followed a 0.3% uptick from May to June. Year-to-date consumption ended July at $1.2 billion, up 7.7% compared to the first seven months of 2021.
While July’s total was a solid gain from a year earlier, consumption still trails pre-pandemic levels by a wide margin.
Costikyan Jarvis, president of Jarvis Cutting Tools, spoke on demand by saying: “The July 2022 cutting tool results continue to show demand is still well off 2019 levels. 2022 dollar volume is still running about 15% lower than 2019, and when inflation is considered, total unit production is even lower. This data is supported by 2022 vehicle sales being around 13 million units versus 17 million units in 2019 and the lower production in commercial aerospace.”
Jarvis added that the industry can expect to see improving cutting tool demand well into 2023, driven by increased aerospace production — Jarvis noted Boeing’s report that its 737 production returned to 31-per-month rates in June — and a reduction in automotive supply chain issues. He also noted that North America’s premier manufacturing technology industry event, IMTS, (Sept. 12-17 in Chicago) has returned for the first time since 2018 and its attendee numbers and interest will be a good gauge for future demand.
“The slowdown in shipments seen in the second quarter of 2022 continued into July, although they remain well above last year’s totals,” commented Mark Killion, director of U.S. industries at Oxford Economics, in the report. “This is in line with the deceleration recently seen in new orders and a moderating pace of activity in key client markets.”
The report graph below includes the 12-month moving average for the durable goods shipments and cutting tool orders. These values are calculated by taking the average of the most recent 12 months and plotting them over time.