A little more than 60 percent of U.S. tool and die makers are operating at near-full capacity, but nearly 3 percent have had to shut down, according to a new survey from the American Mold Builders Association.
The level of operations at companies varies widely depending on end markets, the survey noted. Nearly 85 percent of toolmakers supplying the medical industry, for instance, are operating at 75 to 100 percent of full business, but only 40 percent of automotive tooling suppliers are fully operational.
AMBA, based in Indianapolis, reported the results of a survey of 130 members on April 29.
Responding companies serve more than 15 industry markets, AMBA said. The most common was automotive, with 36 percent of respondents, followed by medical with 19 percent while aerospace and consumer goods ties for third with 7 percent.
The level of production at individual shops depends on each firm's customer base, the survey noted. Nearly 18 percent of those surveyed said none of their customers were shut down, reflecting the high number of those serving health care, AMBA officials said. However, nearly 14 percent of toolmakers said at least half of their customers were shut down, while 10 percent said that 80-100 percent of their customers were shut down.
In staffing, nearly 75 percent of companies said they were maintaining employment levels, while another 13 percent said they were about 75 percent staffed.
For auto tooling suppliers, 55 percent were at full operations with another 11 percent at 50-75 percent capacity.
On the medical side, 88 percent of companies said they were fully staffed and none reported their staffing was at less than 75 percent.
The Canadian Association of Mold Makers in its weekly survey also noted that layoffs were slowing, with 65 percent of its respondents reporting no layoffs, compared to the previous week when 46 percent reported no layoffs.
"With a likely re-start of production in the automotive industry in North America targeted for early May, the focus seems to have shifted on startup planning," CAMM reported.