Machinery International Corporation to Sell Copper Tube Plant in Tunisia

Machinery International Corp?|?April 17, 2015
Machinery International Corporation (USA) has been selected to sell the plant and machinery of the Profil Desnoyer Copper Tube Plant in Tunis, Tunisia. This will be the 15th copper tube plant to be liquidated by Machinery International in the last 30 Years.

Copper Tube Plant in Tunisia

Profil Desnoyer is a full service copper tube manufacturer producing both water tube for the plumbing industry and air conditioning and refrigeration (ACR) tubing. The machines will be sold on an individual basis and include an extrusion press, drawbenches, vertical spinner blocks, horizontal drawblocks, six Schumag combined draw, straighten and cutoff machines, annealing furnaces and pointers.

The Finishing Department includes an automatic tube bundler, shot blaster and truck scale. In addition the sale will include a complete Copper Tube Fittings Department for the manufacture of copper tees and elbows. There are also approximately 6000 carbide dies and plugs to be sold ranging from 4mm to 50mm.

For information or to visit the plant contact:
John Conroy
Machinery International Corporation
20 Commerce Drive
North Branford, Ct. USA 06471
Email: [email protected]
Tel: (+1) 203-484-0400
Fax: (+1) 203-484-4499

How Machining Tools Are Used in the Aerospace Industry

Advanced machining

Most aircraft engines are primarily constructed of metal components, though there are now plastic composite materials that are being used for certain parts. For parts that require great strength, but light weight such as structural components, compressor sections and engine frames, various aluminum and titanium alloys are used.

For parts that need high heat and temperature resistance, chromium, nickel and cobalt alloys are favored. Steel is used in a variety of locations on aircraft.

In reality, almost every common metalworking and machining operation is involved in the manufacturing of an aircraft engine. The processes used include hot forging for airfoils and compressor disks, casting of all structural components and engine frames, grinding, turning, drilling, broaching, milling, shearing, sawing, threading, welding, brazing and thermal or plasma spraying.

The reason almost all machining tools are involved in aircraft manufacturing is that the materials used all have very high strength and hardness. There is also the need for complex shaping and precision tolerances that can only be achieved with computer controlled machining.

Apart from the common types of machining processes, the aerospace industry also uses some unique metalworking processes like chemical and electrochemical milling, laser drilling, electron beam welding and electro-discharge machining.

Chemical and Electrochemical Milling

These two processes are used when there is a need to remove metal from large surfaces in a way that either retains or creates a contour. Depending on the alloy, the parts are placed in acid, caustic or electrolyte bath that is high concentrated and controlled. The metal is removed by the chemical or electrochemical action.

These processes are most commonly used in the aerospace industry to work with airfoils after they have been forged to reduce wall thicknesses down to precise specifications while maintaining the contour of the airfoil.

Electro Discharge Machining and Laser Drilling

CNC machiningThese processes are utilized to make small diameter holes or very intricate contours in hard metals. Combustor and turbine components need these types of holes to ensure proper cooling.

Metal is removed by the high frequency thermo-mechanical action of electro-spark discharges. The process is done in a dielectric mineral oil bath.? The electrode works as the reverse image of the desired cut.

Electron-Beam Welding

Electron-beam welding joins parts where a deep weld penetration is required in difficult to access areas. A focused, accelerated beam of electrons in a vacuum chamber are used to generate the weld. The heat for the weld is generated by the kinetic energy of the electrons when they strike the work piece.

CNC Machining

CNC machining uses computers to control various machine tools. Some of the tools that can be controlled with computers include lathes, mills, routers and grinders. It is the computer’s software and control console that sets apart CNC machines.

Machine tools function by numerical controls. Each machine is customized to the precise measurements for the specific object being manufactured. The machine is programmed using a machining language that controls all activities including the feed rate, coordination, location and speeds. CNC machines can control the exact positioning and speed, and can be used with both metal and plastic parts.

The benefit of CNC machining in precision industries like aerospace and automotive manufacturing is that the process is much more precise than manual machining and it can be precisely repeated over and over again, making it especially cost effective for high volume manufacturing jobs. The other benefit of CNC machining is that it allows the production of very complex shapes that would be impossible with manual machining.


computer controlled machiningCNC machining is critical to the aerospace industry because of the extremely tight tolerances required. Manual machining cannot ensure that these tolerances can even be met, let alone met consistently.

The ability to program precise measurements and reproduce them in volume is essential to keeping down costs and meeting safety requirements, as well as manufacturing requirements for these extremely small allowable tolerances.

This is one of the key benefits of computer controlled machining. The direction for CNC machining is to partner the machines with extremely sophisticated measurement systems to ensure tolerances are met.


CNC machining has evolved over time and reached new levels of versatility with respect to the tools that they utilize. Machines can be assigned different tasks and use different tools so that they provide the aerospace industry with high levels of productivity. Both tools and networks can be switched without affecting the speed of production.

It is also possible for one machine to do more than one task simultaneously. This outperforms the capacity of any human. Another productivity benefit with CNC machining is that when one machine tool breaks, it can easily be taken off the grid, preventing it from affecting the whole production line. The tool can be replaced or repaired right on the production floor.


The aerospace industry faces many challenges in the production of their products, be it an airplane, or military equipment. With complex three-dimensional shapes, high volumes and tight tolerances, the ability to mass produce parts cannot be handled manually. The materials used in aerospace manufacturing are especially durable and strong.

For all of these reasons, CNC machining plays an important role because computer controlled machines and robots provide a greater capacity to cut complex shapes and form strong, hard materials with consistency to meet the high tolerance demands of the industry.

A Late Push Helps 2013 Machine Sales

Incredibly, U.S. machine manufacturers and distributor orders totaled more than $491 million in machine tools and related technology sales for the month of December in 2013. This allowed for a strong annual finish even though the yearly sales were less than the previous year. Although the estimated $491 million in sales might seem too good to be true, the strong ending remains consistent with the 12-month sale totals from previous years.

manufacturing orders

Due to the final month sales totals, the final machine tool order number for 2013 has been reported to be around $4.94 billion, which is actually a 5.1% decline from 2012. As the first quarter of 2014 quickly approaches, many machine tool manufacturers and distributors are anxiously awaiting the upcoming sales results.

Provided by The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), the final numbers are based on specific information that is compiled from fabricating equipment, cutting equipment and metal forming sales.While the actual 2013 sales numbers might be larger, the data has only been reported by participating businesses.

Since only certain machine tool distributors and manufacturers have provided their sales information, many industry analysts and critics strongly believe that the 2013 numbers are actually much closer to the 2012 numbers than the 5.1% decrease might indicate. The president of AMT, Douglas K. Woods, says that “With a strong finish to 2013 for manufacturing technology orders, plus strong reports for durable goods, capacity utilization, and PMI, there is plenty of favorable momentum for the industry going into 2014”.?Quoted from:

The comments made by Woods propose that there is a possibility of a strong finish in 2013 because of buying decisions by distributors and manufactures that strive to place new types of machine tools into specialized capital spending plans for the entire year.

Without question, many machine tool business owners are hoping that this trend continues to roll into 2014. By having the machine tool sales numbers continue to remain consistent for the first quarter of 2014, the final numbers for the year are sure to exceed 2012 and 2013. Continuing on the subject, Wood states that “The average age of corporate fixed assets is at almost 22 years, and interest rates are historically low.

This one-two punch is creating a ripe atmosphere for investment in capital equipment, which we anticipate will translate into more great news for manufacturing growth”. As interest rates continue to remain lower than ever and machine tools continue to age, the formula for increased sales in 2014 had quickly been developed. In fact, this is the perfect recipe for the highest machine tool sales in the past 5 years. Because of this, the machine tool industry is eager to see what 2014 brings in terms of sales figures.


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How Machine Tools are Used in the Automotive Industry

automotive industryThe automotive industry works primarily with steel. Steel is a very strong metal, but it is also lightweight. Its light weight makes it a smart material choice for use in automobile manufacturing. Vehicles are composed of many different shapes and components from engine components, axles and differential components, brakes and wheels, and the transmission and drive components to the body of the car itself.

The auto industry is all about how to cut, shape and join these various metal pieces together to form a functional vehicle. The challenge is how to do it with precise measurements in large volumes. To accomplish these tasks, the automotive industry has moved to a predominantly automated operation using CNC machining at the core of their manufacturing process. With machine tooling, the manufacturer has the ability to produce high volumes at fast rates with consistency.


In auto manufacturing, metal is generally cut by machine. The machine operator or loader machine places the working material or piece of metal on or into a computerized machine. The operator may be responsible for programming the machine with the precise measurements to cut and shape the metal unless preprogrammed by specialist.

The most common machining tools auto manufacturers use to cut metal are computer controlled plasma cutters, laser cutters and waterjets. This is because they can cut through large volumes of material very quickly and with computerized controls there are few mistakes, and therefore less waste, and reduced production costs.


Lasers are used to cut sheet steel up to 1/2 inch thick as well as aluminum up to 1/3 inch thick. Lasers work best on materials that are freeof any inconsistencies or impurities. Lower quality materials with a lot of impurities cause the laser to make ragged cuts and results in melted, or molten metal that splashes up and onto the laser lens.

Plasma Cutters

Plasma cutters use an ionized stream of gas that is blown past a negative electron inside the torch nozzle. The metal that will be cut is positively charged. When the gas makes contact with the metal, it results in a superheated area that ranges between 20,000 and 50,000 degrees F that effectively slices right through the working metal.


Waterjets use a different process to cut metal; it is called “cold supersonic erosion”.
A waterjet can best be described as a form of liquid sandpaper. A type of granular abrasive is used with the high-pressure jet of water to cut through metals and other types of materials up to 10 inches thick with a very high degree of accuracy that is critical in the automotive industry.


Whirling machines have increased in demand and in value for American car manufacturers. European car manufacturers have used whirling machines for more than a half-century for producing large worm gears and bone screws. Thread whirling machines have many benefits, especially when used in the machining of hard materials such as titanium and new stainless steel alloys.

American manufacturers are rediscovering the value of this machining tool because it delivers the high quality precision and quality finish required for EPS worms used in EPS steering technology commonly applied in high-end and mid range vehicles. Automotive industry whirling machines are specifically designed for high-speed cutting and multiple swivel angles to allow for almost any type of thread profile, or worm, to be produced.


High capacity grinding machines are used in creating gears for automobiles. They are designed to deliver high precision products with increased productivity and shorter cycle times that previously available. Many grinders can be incorporated directly into the production line.

Many grinding machinery is now fully automated and includes gantry loaders which make it possible to place them within an assembly line since no other machines are required to handle or shift the metal work pieces. Grinders use a grinding disc that removes a little material as the disc rotates over the material. It is used to remove material along the face or circumference of the work piece.


Drilling machines are used to drill holes for a variety of automotive components. Most deep hole drillers are designed for high-volume production of engine and transmission components and have CNC controls to ensure precision and accuracy. Drilling machines are used to drill openings in the work piece. The drilling machine uses a drill bit that is manually or automatically clamped. The rotation and speed of the drill bit can be varied or constant depending on the diameter and depth needed.


Milling machines are used to cut and drill material, most commonly metal. Millers can cut metal to create holes, smooth out sides, or create indentations so pieces of metal fit together. In the auto industry, both vertical and horizontal milling machines are used to cut and shape the body pieces as well as other components.

These mills utilize rotary motion. A milling cutter spins around an axis while a piece of metal advances through it in a way where the mill shaves off chips with each pass through the machine. Computer controls define the precise measurements required.


Presses are machining tools that are able to change the form or shape of a work material by applying pressure. Typical types of presses include press brakes that bend sheet metal into shape. Punch presses are used to form holes and a stamping press shapes or cuts metal by using a die. Each type of press is used in an auto manufacturing production line to perform different tasks.


Machining tools have made it possible to automate almost the entire automobile manufacturing process. The tools are needed to ensure the quality, consistency, precise measurements and the high volume production of parts in the automotive industry. Automation with machine tools has made automobiles easily available and much more affordable to a greater number of people throughout the world.

Post Industrial Revolution: The Dawn of a New Industrial Era

Since the dawn of the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century, man’s manufacturing paradigm has remained largely unchanged. Prior to this, artisans manufactured goods by hand or with very basic machines. These craftsmen produced a modest supply of similar albeit unique pieces, rather than the slew of identical instances of the same product we are so accustomed to. This sort of manufacturing requires a great deal of problem solving at the hands of the artisans– without standardized parts, each piece presents its own unique challenge. These “wildcard” problems and the skilled workers required to solve them, have historically served as the major limiting factors to the supply of manufactured goods.

With the advent of new technologies, and a surplus of unskilled workers at its disposal, industrialization set about meeting and exceeding the current demand for manufactured goods through a number of key shifts to the philosophy of production. By utilizing powered machinery, a higher number of interchangeable parts, and expansive industrial facilities, unskilled workers could replace the artisans. This allowed nearly anybody to manufacture goods without prior knowledge or even physical strength. The need for the comparatively slow hand of the artisan was beginning to fade.

Modern Manufacturing

Today, the manufacturing industry may seem a far cry from the factories of the 1800’s but it has only changed and evolved in superficial ways. The assembly line, the factory, and the interchangeable worker remain central to mass production. While these are simply accepted as the very nature of industry, the requiem bells have already begun to toll for what is slowly becoming an entire industry of anachronism.

post industrial era machines

We find ourselves situated on the precipice of the information revolution that has only just begun and will prove to be the end of our current manufacturing philosophy. Information, just as in humans, has made our tools smarter than ever before. Take for instance some of the staples of modern manufacturing; CNC mills, Laser Cutters, 3D printers, etc. these machines are able to break down the barriers that once stood between a man’s vision and the reality of a final product.

In many cases artisan quality can be replicated, or even exceeded with mechanical precision quality that had been mostly absent from mass-produced products since their inception. This is particularly true about industrial equipment, tools, machines, and their ilk. ?They have benefitted immensely by the more exacting specifications that components can meet compared to older techniques which may sometimes lead to stacking tolerance issues.

Modern Machinery – Thanks To The Industrial Revolution

In the past decades, society has begun to accept that an immensely profitable web startup can simply take the form of a few determined individuals with lap tops in a garage. In the coming decade we will begin to see the same trend emerging in physical manufacturing as well.

Take for example both the Laser Cutter and the 3D printer. Both have tremendous applications for manufacturing especially on the small scale. Both are recent technological developments, both were once cost prohibitive and yet both have become widely available to the d.i.y. market at an affordable price point either? from retailers or the many widely available internet build guides. Now they allow passionate people to create the products they have always dreamt of with nearly no overhead cost and no scaling.

This is only the beginning; in fact, the concept of smart tools is truly a stepping-stone to smarter materials. Materials that can assemble themselves within exacting tolerances have immense implications for the quality of mechanical goods and are assuredly the next evolution of industry towards energy efficient, zero waste, crowd sourced network in much the same manner that information, software; the intangible, have made a home on the internet.

Buy and sell modern machine tools here.

The New Age Technology of Vertical Machining Centers

Mazak vertical machining center The visionary Mazak Corporation has invited more than 2,000 different industry experts to the North American Technology Center, allowing them to take part in their Discover 2013 spectacle.? The much anticipated event will provide each tech professional with various trade discussions and business related metalwork demos that promote a large assortment of innovative Mazak machinery.? Considered to be the biggest machine based seminar in the business, this event will totally amaze its participants.

Mazak Has Outdone Themselves

Commonly known to entertain a variety of industry meetings, the president of Mazak, Brian Papke, has been noted as stating that this years’ event will offer an elevated adventure for visitors. In fact, Papke is quoted as saying that, “It’s no longer practical to just have an open house. The time of people is so much more valuable that, in order to have an event like this, it has to be technology drive”.

Realizing that a vast majority of other businesses are not on their same operating level, the president of Mazak has even gone as far as saying that his company is “representing what manufacturing will be”.

While this might come off a little arrogant at first, it is the truth. Aggressively sustaining their investment in assembly technology, Mazak has quickly become a top industry producer in machinery creations that offer top of the line, dependable merchandise.? Held in their beautiful Florence venue that manufactures over 100 different prototypes of vertical machining centers, turning centers and multi-tasking machines, Mazak is definitely an industry leader is machine technology.

New Equipment Includes Vertical Machining Centers

With 37 newly created machines available for demonstration during the Discover 2013 event, there are a total of 5 products that have already been invented for specific customers.? Additionally, out of the 37 machines, each one of them has at least one new specific characteristic while other models have been completely reinvented.

Some of the new models have been exclusively re-calibrated with advanced specifications and accessories that can manufacture at an incredibly high production rate.

Not stopping there, Mazak has also developed 11 new machine tools that have been specifically designed to assist in their Florence expansion. They also produced 7 more prototypes to help with individual parts of the creation process. Teaming up with some of their VIP helpers, Mazak wants to go further than exhibiting their different machine models.

The company president has said that “It adds another dimension of technology to some of the things we do.? We are in the final stages of putting this show together and the technology is incredible”.

Realistically, the Discover 2013 event is the perfect way for Mazak to promote and create an industry buzz in regard to their new line of vertical machining centers and other machinery.

Tube & Pipe Bending Machine From Unison Is Optimized For Speed

Tube and Pipe Machines

Tube & Pipe Machine Tools
Tube & Pipe Machine Tools

Tube and pipe bending machines have provided a way for manufacturers to efficiently form parts. This type of machinery is used to form furniture, instruments, vehicle components and more.

The quality of parts created from pipe and tube has improved greatly due to modern technology. One concern that remains for mass production plants has been the speed of the output of completed parts. More so, improving output speed without sacrificing quality.

Recently, Horn Machine Tools released a pipe and tube bending machine with improvements which greatly improve part production speed. Unison is the brand name under Horn Machine Tools in which the all electric bending machine line is manufactured under.

Tube Bending Machinery: Improved Mechanical Design

This new pipe bending machine tool is electric powered and available in multiple models. The machine is available for tube and pipe diameters from 5/8” to 8.5”.

The most major improvement is software which is mainly responsible for the reduction in pipe or tube bending times. This software has been known to reduce the amount of time it takes to bend complicated or semi complicated patterns by as much as 40%. In fact, making several bends in one application is no problem for this pipe bending machine tool.

Another major aspect which improves bending times is an improved gearing mechanism. Changes have been made to the auxiliary axes of the machine including optimization of their size and shape. A reduction to their mass and inertia has allowed them to be driven at a higher rate of speed by applying more torque. This allows them to accelerate and decelerate at more efficient rates which allows bending to be performed faster without increasing machine cost.

Other Pipe Bending Machinery from Unison

Unison has become a trusted name in electric tube and pipe bending machine tools. In fact, they recently received an order for the worlds largest all electric tube and pipe bending machine. The order was placed by a company who produces aircraft carriers for the U.S Navy.

The CNC machine tools will be capable of bending up to 8 inch tubular stock. Custom software will be created to operate the machines movements to allow for the complexity and size of their material bending needs.

The new machine will also include a unique laser guided measuring system. This system automatically takes measurements and makes corrections. It compensates for the metals natural ability to spring back after being bent and makes the proper corrections to ensure the accuracy of the finished product.

This new bending machinery is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

Electric vs. Hydraulic Tube and Pipe Machinery

Hydraulic tube and pipe machinery has historically been used in production facilities. However, there are some advantages of electric powered pipe bending machines tool over hydraulic powered tube benders.

First of all, they are simple to operate. They can be automatically configured over a network using parts data saved on the database. They are also very quiet as compared to hydraulic machine tools.

Automatic parts measuring and compensation is another major benefit not offered by hydraulic tube and pipe machines. The automation of bending processes using the computer numerical controls and stored presets eliminates operator error and ensures product quality.

Dozer Machinery Unveiled

Dozer vs Bulldozer

The bulldozer is a frequently used piece of heavy equipment.

Commonly known as the bulldozer, the large dozer machine has been around for centuries. ?These machines have assisted construction workers in breaking ground and moving around large, heavy piles of dirt, metal, rocks and other large masses.

Initially used by engineers, construction crews and architects, many companies began producing their own version of the heavy machinery. These companies include: the Caterpillar Tractor Company, John Deere, CAT, Terex, Fiat-Allis, Liebherr, Komatsu, International Harvester and JCB.? Previously much louder, larger and much less efficient, the dozer quickly became a necessary piece of equipment used to complete a wide array of earthmoving projects.

The Dozer: A Rich History

First invented in 1923 by James Cummings and Earl McLeod, the first dozer

was originally modified to resemble the Holt farm tractors.? By the late 1920’s, the enormous piece of equipment was greatly improved and reintroduced to the construction world by the now global company, ?Caterpillar Incorporated as the Caterpillar 60.

Greatly advancing its technology by the 1940’s, the bulldozer adopted rubber tires enabling it to dig large canals, raise broken dams and move large mounds of earth.? As technology continued to advance, so were the capabilities of the dozer.

Now, coming fully equipped with automatic transmissions, razor sharp hydraulic cylinders and electric motors, there isn’t much that the powerful dozer can’t do.? In addition to these immense improvements to machinery, certain manufacturers like Leica Geosystems, Trimble, Inc. and Topcon Positioning Systems now enable bulldozers with GPS tracking capabilities.

The Different Blades of a Dozer

Possibly the most important component of the dozer is its blade plate.? Made from a thick metal, the blade is used to move things like rocks, sand and different particle masses. Depending on the type of bulldozer, there are three different blade shapes; the ‘S’ blade, ‘U’ blade and a combination of both the ‘S’ and ‘U’ blades.

The most common blade, the ‘S’ blade, is a relatively straight, short edge that has no arch and no side attachments.

Another blade type that is somewhat common on new age dozers is the Universal blade or ‘U’ blade.? With an all-together different shape than the Straight blade ‘S’ blade this type is tall and extremely curved.? Developed with large side wings, the Universal blade is used to move larger mounds of material.

Finally, the most common blade option is the ‘S-U’ combo.? Generally smaller than the other two blades, the ‘S-U’ combination has smaller side divisions that are used to push large piles of debris.

Regardless of the blade that is being used, the bulldozer part typically attaches to the frame of the piece of machinery either straight across or at a slight angle.

For more advanced attachment options, some blades require an extra ‘tilt cylinder’ to provide more of a curve.? Interestingly, the bulldozer’s blade can actually be sharpened using a special sharpener that allows various objects to be cut down like tree stumps.

When deciding on the appropriate part to use, it’s extremely important to know what the piece of equipment is being used for.

Happy Independence Day: History of Machine Tools From 1776 – 2013

History of Machine Tools From 1776 – 2013

As the United State of America celebrates Independence Day on the 4th of July, it’s important to observe its history. This annual holiday is a celebration of our independence from Great Britain in 1776. The key document which made this possible was the Declaration of Independence signed by our founding fathers.

In honor of the national holiday, we are will be taking a look at machine tools used in 1776. Looking at the history will help us to understand how machinery has advanced to what it is today.

Machinery in the 18th Century

In the 1700’s, wooden plows were used as the primary method of farming. These early machines were powered by horses or by oxen. Other farming tools included hand tools such as hoes for cultivating, sickles for cutting of grain and flails used for threshing.

Other farming machines were developed during this era including the cradle and scythe. Other machinery inventions include the cotton gin and the very first cast iron plow.

Machine tool development boomed during in the 18th century due to the industrial revolution. While the industrial revolution was primarily in England, America was just as responsible for it. The difference was that in England, there was an abundance of skilled workers, which began using machines to make their work more precise. During this time, America was sparsely populated, but had a huge demand for rapid and simple means of production.

Thus, newly developed machines were used by Americans to make workers more productive.

Machine Tool Evolution

Americans were responsible for solving the issues of mass production and speed during the industrial revolution. In 1798, American Eli Whitney used his “Uniformity-System” of production using inter-changeable parts to produce 10,000 army muskets for the U.S. government.

He was able to prove the workability of the inter-changeable parts concept to President John Adams. He showed President Adams that a whole working musket could be created from randomly selected parts. Whitney then took action by single handedly designing and building all machinery required to produce these weapons. Not one single worker entered the factory until he was finished.

He was also responsible for the invention the first milling machine in 1818. Later that year, Thomas Blanchard invented a rifle stock turning machine, which was used to create duplicate parts.

Other Americans responsible for inventions of new machinery include: Elias Howe and Isaac Singer who developed the sewing machines, Cyrus McCormack who created the harvester and Henry Ford who produced the first automobile.

The first boring machine was developed by James Watt as a way to bore the first steam engine. Many more machines were developed using Whitney’s example of interchangeable parts and mass production.

Modern Machines

Independence day marked the start of a machinery development boom for Americans with their new-found freedom. Several centuries have passed since this important point in U.S. history and the development of more advanced and more productive machinery has followed suit.

As demand for the production and construction of products and buildings has consistently increased, American ingenuity has continued to respond with amazing machine tools.

Decline In Aggregate Equipment Demand May Cause Lay Offs

CAT announces layoffs.

Caterpillar’s Aggregate Equipment Plants Affected

Aggregate equipment is suffering from falling demand just as many other types of construction machinery. These declines are following industry trends, which can be attributed to a suffering U.S. economy and continue to place pressure on machinery production workers and equipment operators alike.

Mining equipment, in particular has seen a sharp decrease in demand, causing Caterpillar to announce the layoff of one third of its aggregate machinery production workforce. The layoffs affect workers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – which primarily produce electric powered shovels used in large-scale open pit mines. This means an indefinite layoff of approximately 260 workers to begin on June 24th, 2013.

Although, the layoffs are not coming as a surprise to aggregate equipment production workers, this will put a hardship on those affected. Workers were notified previously that as many as 40% of the 770 production workers in these plants were at risk of being layed off.

Mining Equipment Demand To Blame For Layoffs

While the entire aggregate equipment industry has seen a trend of decreasing machinery sales, the decline in mining equipment demand is to blame for the upcoming layoffs at Caterpillar. Mining equipment demand has dropped significantly in recent months as mines are forced to scale back investing in new equipment due to lowering prices for mined materials such as copper and iron ore.

Caterpillar initially acquired their two Wisconsin equipment assembly plants as a portion of an $8.8 billion purchase of Bucyrus International Inc., a mining equipment manufacturer, in 2011. This purchase was largely to thank for a portion of Caterpillar’s profit and sales growth in previous years as mining companies expanded production causing greater demand for equipment purchases.This demand was cut short as mining operations have not expanded at the rate previously expected.

Lasting Effects Of Aggregate Industry Layoffs

The laying off of one third of the aggregate equipment production workforce is a huge deal, but what is in store for the remaining two thirds of the workers? The United Steelworkers Union has come to an agreement with Caterpillar to freeze hourly wages for remaining workers for six years and to lower the pay scale for new hires. Fortunately, Caterpillar also agreed to give annual bonuses based on performance in place of hourly raises.

Even employee pensions are affected as they will have a cap and be replaced by a pension plan similar to a 401k. These changes will limit the stress felt by Caterpillar to rising pension costs, which is hoped to save remaining jobs and help prevent future layoffs.

Caterpillar is just one major aggregate equipment manufacturer hit hard by a struggling economy. Everyone in this industry and other construction industries, are feeling the squeeze of dropping prices and decreasing demand. However, mining companies are optimistic that there will soon be an upturn in the economy. Hopefully it will relieve many of the hardships faced by this industry including manufacturers of mining and other types of aggregate equipment.