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IndustryNet Blog

New trends in precision tooling

Posted by IndustryNet on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

100000314metal_fabrication_toolingPrecision tools are used to cut and shape metal into various products, while precision tooling refers to the molds and jigs used to form and shape objects of different materials such as plastics and composites.

This sector of manufacturing is heavily affected by the release of new products, new vehicles and other technological developments. Any industry that produces physical products has a need for precision tooling.

Producers of tech devices, medical implants, airplanes, motor vehicles and various appliances all consider these suppliers as integral to the creation and production process.

Forecast and status

The predictions for precision tooling are similar to those made for the overall manufacturing industry as the two industries are deeply intertwined. Reshoring has had a positive effect on the demand for precision tools and companies that perform tooling services.

The sector has seen an increase in total jobs over the last year of 3.59 percent, bringing the total number to 3,689. With 211 companies categorized as precision tooling, this equates to an average of 17.5 employees per company.

Total sales remained somewhat flat with only 0.22 percent increase over the previous year for a total of $1.93 billion. No companies reported a drop in sales while two percent reported an increase.

International reliance

Despite their similarities, there are some significant differences in the precision tooling market. Due to the demand for certain components used in electronic devices and vehicles, international distribution accounts for 40 percent of the market.

This is relatively high compared with other segments of manufacturing and in fact is twice the amount experienced by the sector as a whole.

This reliance on international trade means that the ripple effects of trade tariffs have affected this segment of manufacturing rather significantly. The current stalemate between the United States and China is in the form of a delay while both sides negotiate for a mutually beneficial end to the trade war.

However, this uncertainty has had a somewhat calming effect on tooling, as seen by the lower than industry average increase in sales numbers.


Most precision tooling companies are located in the Midwest with 45 percent of the industry residing there.

The West and South both share roughly 17 percent of the market each. The remaining 21 percent is stationed in the Northeast with 45 companies calling that region home.

The majority of these companies are privately held with only three percent being public firms.

The future

Technological advances are already affecting the way that tooling suppliers deliver services. Internet 4.0 now allows the wireless transmission of commands from the input device to the actual tool.

Data flows both directions, which will enables the operator to get real-time information on tooling performance during a process. Other machines feature sensors that tell owners when scheduled and unscheduled maintenance is required. This reduces downtime and lets operators plan production around these events.

IndustryNet has information on every precision tooling manufacturer in the United States. Also, they also have details on 400,000 manufacturers of all types. Utilize their free database to find the right tooling provider for your needs.

Take advantage of their market data to learn about industry trends, forecasts and technologies. Customers can also use IndustryNet to assist in their quote process by receiving estimates from multiple suppliers from one request.


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