formers, stampers and tool-and-die makers seem to have emerged
from the summer doldrums.
There was a marked
gain in the proportion of those predicting higher incoming
orders and greater economic activity over the next three
months, according to the latest survey by the Precision
Metalforming Association (PMA), which tallied responses from
123 companies nationwide.
measurably better than three months ago and a year ago," the
owner of an East Coast stamper of red metals for electronic
parts told AMM. Her company has won new business and
is extracting higher volume from existing customers.
"One of our old
standard products is now selling like hot cakes," she said. In
addition, exports to Europe have not slowed as she had
Preparing for the
future, the company recently ordered a new CNC machining center
to replace one that was 18 years old.
During a recent
regional PMA meeting, "most people said they were busy; several
said theyre working overtime. Nobody said theyre
having a terrible year," she said.
"We are seeing a
slight upswing in our business with OEM (original equipment
manufacturer) customers," said a sales executive at a Great
Lakes maker of deep-drawn metal parts. "Our order book for the
third quarter will be ahead of the first half. It will probably
lighten up again in the fourth quarter, but thats
"Things are picking up
substantially," the sales manager for a Great Lakes fastener
producer said. "Ford (Motor Co.), GM (General Motors Co.) and
Chrysler (Group LLC) all have overtime schedules. Demand is
high right now. We hope it continues."
In addition to winning
strong orders from domestic automakers, his company is
expanding and diversifying its product line and "stretching
out" to capture global business opportunities. He said his
company has set up sales and engineering offices in China,
Mexico and South Korea, and because of its streamlined and
innovative manufacturing process it will be able to keep
production at home and still be competitive.
More than a third of
PMA members this month forecast an uptick in economic activity,
compared with 22 percent in July. Thirty-eight percent of those
polled expect orders to rise (up from 28 percent last month),
while 10 percent foresee orders declining (down from 19