Cutting tool association gets upbeat news about economy

October 18, 2017 - 04:15pm

Good news about the manufacturing economy was shared with members of the United States Cutting Tool Institute who attended the trade association’s fall meeting, held Oct. 7-9 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

In a presentation to the group, longtime industry analyst Scott Hazelton projected that U.S. manufacturing output in 2017 would rise 2%. That would represent the highest percentage increase since 2012, said Hazelton, a senior consultant at IHS Markit Inc.

He said he “sees no recessionary danger, as was obviously the case in ’05, ’06 and ’07,” and expects output to increase 3% next year.

Hazelton also reported that manufacturing orders for the first half of 2017 were up 5.6%, and durable-goods orders for the same period rose 5.1%. 

Another welcome bit of news came from institute members. According to a USCTI-conducted survey, 86% of members expect their company’s revenue to rise in the next 12 months.

Eighty-six percent of USCTI members expect their company’s revenue to rise during the next 12 months. Illustration courtesy USCTI.

The founder of Global Business Advisory Services LLC, David Burns, told the group he expects the use of 3D-printing devices to continue to rise. Burns, former president of Gleason Corp. and co-founder and ex-president of a 3D-printing company, said builders of high-accuracy 3D-printing equipment cannot meet demand from certain industry sectors.

Burns cited the aerospace industry and, specifically, GE Additive. It has spent billions of dollars the past few years acquiring companies that build 3D-printing equipment and related technologies so that GE can manufacture certain aerospace parts internally.

“GE is developing additive-manufacturing technologies because we (equipment builders) aren’t providing the technologies for them,” said Burns. “They’re not waiting.”

GE Additive is making a 3D-printing machine with a 1m x 1m x 1m build envelope. Reportedly, it will be the largest laser-powder additive-manufacturing machine in the world. Photo courtesy GE Additive.

Burns added that 3D printing use is growing in applications other than aerospace. Two weeks before the USCTI event, he attended the 2017 EMO show and spoke with manufacturers that were exhibiting 3D-printed cutting tools.

Other speakers at the 3-day event were two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez;  3M Abrasive Systems Division Marketing Manager Nick Orf, who spoke about the company’s recent round-tool-grinding seminar; and the administrator of the Gene Haas Foundation, Kathy Looman. The eponymously named foundation, begun in 1999 by the founder of machine tool builder Haas Automation, awards millions of dollars annually to support manufacturing-related educational efforts.

Hotel ‘room with a view’ of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Photo by D.Nelson.


Related Glossary Terms

  • abrasive


    Substance used for grinding, honing, lapping, superfinishing and polishing. Examples include garnet, emery, corundum, silicon carbide, cubic boron nitride and diamond in various grit sizes.


Former Publisher

Don Nelson served as publisher of Cutting Tool Engineering from January 2001 through May 2018.


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