New orders for manufacturing technology totaled $398.9 million in September 2023, according to the latest US Manufacturing Technology Orders Report published by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology. September orders were down 2.8% from August 2023 and 23.4% from September 2022. Year-to-date orders reached $3.64 billion, down 13.8% from the first three quarters of 2022.
“Although 2023 orders have declined, activity is still above long-term historical averages, indicating relative health overall,” said Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT. “We continue to see strength in key industries, with contract machine shops, the pharmaceutical industry and the automotive industry continuing to invest heavily in manufacturing technology.”
Contract machine shops increased order value by almost a third, while units ordered grew much less. Similarly, manufacturers of medical supplies dramatically increased their overall spending. The automotive sector also continued to increase orders. Due to the longer production horizon as well as a sustained increase in the demand for new vehicles, the car manufacturers made investment despite labor challenges.
“The variation in manufacturing technology investment across industries indicates that not all are reducing capital expenditures at the same time,” says Woods. “Industries that spend healthily on manufacturing technology appear to be shifting spending toward highly automated machinery, as evidenced by rising unit values.”
Although year-to-date orders are down from a strong 2022, order levels are above historical averages and there are pockets of strength in several industries.
“Industries supported by high consumer demand and benefiting from long production times continued to be reliable customers of manufacturing technology,” says Woods. “We are detecting a shift in investment in capital goods towards improving productivity through the adoption of automation of manufacturing technology.”