A shot in the arm

Author Dennis Spaeth
July 26, 2021 - 11:30am

Business may not be back to pre-pandemic levels across the board, but the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute’s spring meeting and the latest economic indicators are a welcome shot in the arm for the industry.

Held in mid-May as state governments began rolling back mask and social distancing requirements, the USCTI meeting at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs, Florida, might not have been what the doctor ordered, but it certainly was what the 90-plus attendees needed: a chance to chat face to face—despite the fact that a major topic of conversation was the economic impact of the pandemic.

It turns out that many of the companies represented at the meeting had reason for optimism because the cutting tool industry overall had begun to rally by the end of the first quarter.

U.S. cutting tool consumption went from $149.5 million in February to $177.6 million in March and $170 million in April, according to the Cutting Tool Market Report produced by USCTI and The Association for Manufacturing Technology. Granted, April’s cutting tool orders fell shy of March’s totals, but year-over-year cutting tool consumption for April 2021 was up 26.3% over April 2020.

What’s more, year-to-date cutting tool orders through April 2021 reached $641.9 million, which is about 6.4% less than the YTD total for the same period in 2020. In February 2021, the YTD gap was at 20.2% compared with the previous year.

Although still trailing 2020 levels, the numbers from the CTMR reflect a healthy comeback in the making.

Machining Aluminum Webinar

Join CTE at 2 p.m. Central time July 15 for our “Ask the Experts” webinar exploring the difficulties associated with machining aluminum. We have invited industry experts to be on our panel to address common questions about machining aluminum, including:

  • How does one avoid forming long, stringy chips that can wrap around tools and parts and lead to re-cutting?
  • What advancements in machine and cutting tool technology have been developed specifically for machining aluminum?
  • How would machine and cutting tool recommendations differ for shops handling small-to-moderate-quantity jobs versus large-quantity jobs?

Webinar attendees also will get a chance to pose their own questions to our panel. To register, visit cteplus.delivr.com/2eswp.    




Dennis, who served as electronic media editor at Cutting Tool Engineering from January 2007 through May 2018, is now the owner and publisher of the magazine and CTE Publications Inc. Dennis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University, and has more than 40 years of media experience.