Machining Industry Scuttlebutt

By Lloyd Graff

Business is improving for shops, but it has not filtered down to the machine tool companies. UCC filings, which track the pulse of machinery sales, indicate that the sales during the first quarter are quite sluggish. On the used machinery side it is a “catfish” market. The bottom feeders are finding a lot to munch on.

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The spare parts business for high production turning—screw machine and Hydromat—is trending up and accelerating. The size of individual orders is expanding as well as the number of orders.

Tony Maglica of Mag Instrument

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We understand Tony Maglica of Mag Instrument Inc. (MAGLITE) is interested in purchasing the bankrupt assets of Eubama, the German rotary transfer company. Mag has a sizable investment in Eubama machines which have a solid reputation for quality and productivity. The weakness of the company has been indifferent, often arrogant treatment of customers. Mag would use Eubama people and technology to produce equipment for the Ontario, California, flashlight plant’s use.

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Sources have leaked that there is a lot of horse trading going on for IMTS space. I hear that Haas sublet some space to YCI to lighten their load. I hear that Doosan will take the premier front position in front of Haas.

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Gary Traisman is a shrewd South African Californian machinery dealer turned auctioneer. His firm Machinery Network Auction has teamed with a fellow South African, Infinity Auctions to liquidate the leftover stock of machining centers of Fadal. Traisman timed the liquidation to coincide with WESTEC, the SME’s yearly machinery exposition in Los Angeles being held March 23-25.

Gary tells me that the action has been furious so far and he expects to move a lot of iron. A Fadal may become an orphan machine, but it will have thousands of siblings.

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Alan Beaulieu of the Institute for Trend Research believes that this is an ideal time to lock in a long-term lease. In his view, real estate has hit a historic bottom and the next six months will be the time to take advantage.

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Who would have believed it last St. Patrick’s Day? GM is cautiously predicting a profit this year. Ford outsells Toyota in the U.S. in February. Eleven and a half to 12 million cars produced is a reasonable expectation for 2010. Chrysler recently tried to buy back its ultra modern heavy stamping plant from bankruptcy, but didn’t offer enough to beat an auctioneering group. Unpredictable times.

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