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IndustryNet Blog

U.S precision machining sector posts strong sales, employment growth

Posted by IndustryNet on Monday, June 5, 2017

100000042_Precision_engineering_researchServicing industry sectors and creating objects of every shape and size, precision machining is used to manufacture everything from the smallest of surgical instruments to the largest of aircraft parts.

In order to manufacture these parts, a precision machinist follows a set of blueprints that are created using computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). These designs are transferred to a computer numerical control (CNC) machine that creates each piece by removing material to precise specifications, enabling the machinist to produce any quantity of parts precisely as designed.

As technology improves, so does the ability of machines to create parts with greater precision. However, manufacturing has not yet reached a point where every job can be performed by a robot. While a CNC machine is robotic, a human interface is still required to enable programming and monitoring of the machine due to the complexity of processes involved in precision machining. Additionally, robots lack human dexterity and, more importantly, the innately human ability to collaborate and innovate.

By the Numbers

IndustryNet has compiled statistical information analyzing the precision machining industry in order to gain insight into current industry trends and compare company performance across a spectrum of data points.

For its most recent analysis, IndustryNet tracked 3,373 precision machining plants with 73,487 employees. Job growth has remained at a steady 4 percent in this sector over the past year. Average industry sales have grown nearly 5 percent over the past year to more than $6 billion.

Compared to the U.S. manufacturing industry as a whole, precision machining leads manufacturing in the number of companies reports sales growth, with 2 percent of precision machining companies reporting growth in sales, versus only 1 percent in general manufacturing.

Regional Differences

Regionally, differences emerge in the precision machining sector. The Northeast and the South trail the other regions. The South is at the bottom of the stack, with only 19 percent of the precision machining companies nationally and a mere 17 percent growth.

The Northeast fared only slightly better, with 23 percent of precision machining companies and 24 percent job growth.

The Midwest and the West are faring much better. The Midwest accounts for 30 percent of the companies and 26 percent of the jobs nationally. The West accounts for 28 percent of the companies and 33 percent of the jobs, suggesting that the Midwest may have higher rates of automation than does the West, as the Midwest has 10 percent more companies but 28 percent fewer employees.

It is also interesting to note that California alone contains half of all precision machining companies in the West.

As well as having higher employment growth (35 percent) than any other region, the West also enjoys the highest sales growth (30 percent).

The Northeast ties the West with sales growth of 30 percent, but lags with an employment growth of only 19 percent. The Midwest experienced sales growth of 23 percent and employment growth of 30 percent, and the South fell behind all of the other regions with sales growth of only 17 percent and employment growth of only 16 percent.

Top Companies

Some of the top precision machining companies reporting sales growth are Voss Mfg., Inc., based in Sanborn, NY; Arland Tool & Mfg., Inc. based in Sturbridge, MA; Accudynamics, based in Lakeville, MA; Prime Machine, Inc., based in Salt Lake City, UT; and Midwest Precision, LLC, based in Eastlake, OH.

Economists often note that small businesses are the engine of the economy. Each of these top five precision machining companies that are driving sales growth in the precision machining sector employ less than 100 individuals - far below the Small Business Administration's definition of 500 employees or less.

To delve more deeply into these and other industry analyses, to connect with precision machining companies throughout the United States, or for additional resources, start your search on IndustryNet. Join the thousands of companies that rely on IndustryNet to advertise their goods and services and to search for solid, accurate and current information on potential partners and providers.

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