Friday, October 13, 2000

Industry notes: Manufacturing

Machine tool orders up 4 percent

By Mike Boyer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        August orders for machines that cut and form metal increased 4.4 percent from a year ago, two industry trade groups report.

        Estimated machine tool consumption, a widely watched economic indicator, totaled $480 million in August, compared with $460 million in August 1999.

        The estimates are compiled monthly by the Association for Manufacturing Technology and American Machine Tool Distributors Association, from reports submitted by participating manufacturers and distributors.

        The August estimate was up 6 percent from the revised estimate of $453 million in July. For the year, total machine tool consumption was estimated at $3.8 billion, up 4 percent from the year-ago period.

        The associations said the increase in August orders was a good sign for what is typically a slow period prior to the industry's annual show, held last month in Chicago.

        Export orders jumped more than 700 percent in August to $191.9 million, from $23.5 million a year ago.

Hill-Rom wins award fourth straight year

        Hill-Rom Inc., the hospital bed and equipment unit of Batesville's Hillenbrand Industries Inc., was named best in class at providing contract support, service and quality improvements to hospitals and health-care providers in a survey of procurement and group purchasing executives sponsored by NCI, an industry consultant.

        It's the fourth consecutive year Hill-Rom was named best in class. The award was presented last month at the 10th Annual Health Care Executive Forum in San Diego. Hill-Rom said the award was significant because it represented the judgment of its customers.

Part of Ashland unit sold to Fla. contractor

        Ashland Inc.'s APAC highway construction unit has sold part of its operations in Jacksonville, Fla., to J.B. Coxwell Contracting of Jacksonville.

        Terms weren't disclosed, but Atlanta-based APAC said the sale included site preparation and utilities operations and is part of its previously announced plan to sell nonstrategic businesses acquired in last year's Superfos purchase.

        APAC said it will continue to employ about 50 in its Jacksonville division making and laying asphalt. Coxwell is expected to employ about 250 workers in Jacksonville doing heavy construction, underground utility work, concrete work and site preparation.

ColchesterCNC signs four distributors

        ColchesterCNC, the newly established U.S. division of Colchester Lathe Co./600 Group, one of Europe's largest lathe builders, has signed its first four distributors.

        ColchesterCNC, which has opened offices in Blue Ash, said the distributors are: FEPCO of Noblesville, Ind.; Reynolds Machinery of Melrose Park, Ill.; Erickson Machine Tool of Story City, Iowa; and Machinery Sales Co. of Los Angeles.

Meeting to deal with environmental risks

        Assessing community environmental risks will be discussed at the Alliance for Chemical Safety meeting at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Avon Woods Nature Center. The alliance is composed of industries, agencies and citizens interested in chemical safety. For information, contact Deb Leonard at 612-3074.


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- Industry notes: Manufacturing
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