Official figures for machine tools turnover are likely to be understating the problems facing British manufacturers and distributors of machine tools for metalworking but not for much longer.
The Office of National Statistics is to create a separate category for metalworking machines, which make up only about a third of the overall machine tools turnover, worth some £2.8bn per year, recorded by the ONS.
Most of the rest is portable power tools such as DIY drills and hedge trimmers. Of these, only 40% are exported, compared with around 60% of the metalworking machines. As a result, the impact of falling exports appears less dramatic on the aggregated figures than it would be for metalworking machine tools alone.
The Machine Tool Technologies Association’s full-year export and import figures for metalworking machines, out next week, will show exports continuing to slide, while domestic demand remains healthy.
Market researcher CIMdata forecasts a fast take-up of product data management systems over the next four years. PDM systems keep track of data required to design, manufacture, and support products and plant.