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The State of the MT Industry

At the recent IMTS Workshop in Chicago, AMT President Doug Woods presented the economic outlook for the manufacturing technology industry, and the news is promising. Explore opportunities for industry growth, the forecast for reshoring, and more.
Mar 17, 2022

At the recent IMTS Workshop in Chicago, AMT President Doug Woods presented the economic outlook for the manufacturing technology industry. With the 2021 production numbers in, the industry has come off a record year, and the forecast bodes well for 2022. Here are the highlights.

The Economy

  • U.S. machine tool orders (USMTO) were up 52% in 2021 and initial forecasts are for slight increases in 2022

  • The GDP is predicted to grow at 4% in 2022

  • CAPEX is predicted to grow 7.7% in 2022 

  • And 15 of 18 manufacturing sectors are forecasting revenue improvement in 2022 – and this is coming from a very good year! 

There are a few potential derailers. Global supply chain issues are still causing pain and it’s not clear when things will get back to normal. Both interest rates and inflation are impacting the economy negatively, putting a damper on how much manufacturers can spend or invest. Lastly, geopolitical tensions including unrest in Ukraine, Taiwan, and the Middle East may worsen, which may negatively affect the global economy.

The Silver Lining North American reshoring and nearshoring represent the upside to the supply chain challenges of the past two years. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the United States has grown substantially and has increased domestic manufacture of many critical products – spurring critical American investments in semiconductors and batteries. 

The MT Landscape Several technologies continue to change the manufacturing landscape: artificial intelligence, advanced automation, additive manufacturing, and augmented reality – and that is just the As! 

Enterprising Entrepreneurs Novel ideas for platforms and business models continue to launch, including:

  • Manufacturing-as-a-service (MaaS)

  • Manufacturing-on-demand (MoD)

  • Equipment-as-a-service (EaaS)

Venture capitalists and other stakeholders have made heavy investments in the manufacturing technology sector, showing renewed interest in the transformative technologies fueling growth in the advanced manufacturing industry. 

Solutions Over Hype Woods cautions that some of us may be experiencing Industry 4.0 buzzword exhaustion. While these exciting new technologies are cool to talk about, our industry needs to keep in mind the value in the technology is in solving challenges for the end user. A focus on the technology application rather than the latest trend will be key in creating value for manufacturers.

Kathy Keyes Webster
Managing Editor – Content
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