Some prices finally fall

Regular readers of this column may notice that the demand data in the Plant Engineering operating materials and supplies table have been revised downward. In some cases, the revisions are significant. For example, in the 12 months ending July 2001, end-market demand for lubricating oils was revised from 7.


Regular readers of this column may notice that the demand data in the Plant Engineering operating materials and supplies table have been revised downward. In some cases, the revisions are significant. For example, in the 12 months ending July 2001, end-market demand for lubricating oils was revised from 7.7% to 4.8%. Demand for abrasive products like grinding wheels was revised from 12.5% to 7.4% and end-market growth for adhesives and sealants was adjusted from 11% to 6.4% over the same 12-month period.

The growth in U.S. end-markets that we report is based on industrial production data from the Federal Reserve Board. The updated measures reflect the incorporation of newly available, more comprehensive source data and the introduction of improved methods for compiling a few series.

Overall, industrial output is now reported to have increased at a slower rate in 1999 and 2000 than previously reported. Despite the downward revision, the general contour is the same as in the earlier estimates. After having picked up in the second half of 1999 and after having posted rapid gains in the first half of 2000, increases in industrial output abated noticeably at mid-year. According to the revised data, however, industrial output was weaker in the second half of 2000 than in the earlier estimates. In 2001, industrial production declined at about 5

With these revisions impacting factory operating materials and supplies, end-market growth now are slowing or falling more rapidly in our near-term forecasts. Prices for factory operating supplies, meanwhile, will show even stronger deflationary trends in the months ahead.

Price/cost/demand roundup

Industry SIC Average Product Prices Average Product Prices Direct Mfg. Costs Direct Mfg. Costs Growth in U.S. End Markets Growth in U.S. End Markets
Average product price changes are calculated from the producer price index for each 4-digit SIC (standard industrial classification) industry from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Analyses of each industry's direct manufacturing cost changes are from Thinking Cap Solutions, Inc.'s proprietary Industry Cost Escalation (ICE) model. The "grade" indicates that recent price/cost changes have produced record high (A+) margins to average margins (C) to record low (F-) margins for the average producer in an industry. Grades of A to A+ mean plant engineers may be able to strike a better bargain with suppliers and better control plant costs.
Growth in U.S. end markets data are from the ICE model and are estimates of output for the domestic end markets which purchase a given industry's products. All data prepared and presented by Thinking Cap Solutions, Inc., Port Angeles, WA (telephone: 360-452-6159; e-mail:
Wood pallets and skids24480.540.56FallingA+-1.92-4.17
Polishes and sanitation goods28421.000.93FallingB2.001.62
Surface active agents28432.842.69FallingC-3.12-3.95
Adhesives and sealants28913.043.36FallingB6.391.55
Lubricating oils and greases29927.707.29Falling FastB4.781.19
Rubber and plastics hose and belting30522.313.20StableA0.95-2.00
Abrasive products3291-0.090.09StableD7.361.08
Steel wire and related products3315-1.07-1.42StableF3.221.84
Copper rolling and drawing33511.07-2.52FallingC21.218.55
Nonferrous wire drawing and insulating33571.84-0.72FallingB22.2810.20
Heating equipment, except electric34331.241.24StableA1.470.49
Fabricated plate work, boiler shops34431.061.01FallingA2.78-0.65
Bolts, nuts, rivets and washers34520.060.07FallingC3.482.10
Industrial valves34911.691.77StableA1.470.06
Fluid power valves and hose fittings34921.441.34StableA1.470.06
Other valves and pipe fittings34942.783.91FallingA1.470.06
Miscellaneous fabricated wire products34960.130.31FallingC5.120.66
Fabricated pipe and fittings34981.911.37StableA1.470.06
Ball and roller bearings35621.460.91StableA3.77-0.76

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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