Rarely does a year close with a such a general sense of relief, but there will be no regrets or nostalgia when 2020 ends. The new year cannot arrive soon enough, for manufacturers, develop- ers, commercialand financialenterprises, distributors, or consumers. If no other lesson has been learned it isthat dynamic economy depends on strong and functioningsupply chains – and that some disruptions in the supply chainmay not be simply or satisfactorily reestablished.
The annual FORGING Business Outlook Survey exploresconditions in North America’s forging industry according tothe knowledge, insights, and impressions of the people whoare actively engaged in the business and operations of forging.Our primary goal is to give FORGING readers the focusedcoverage of their market not otherwise available.
For anyone unfamiliar with “forging”, simply understand
that the basic elements of modern life — cars, trucks, planes,
engines, energy exploration and production apparatuses,
power systems, industrial machinery, precision tools, even
some surgical devices and medical implants — could not ex-
ist without the work of forgers. And, because of this, extensive
and critical supply chains are incomplete without the work of
Each October FORGING conducts a month-long surveyof readers by email to collect and evaluate their knowledgeand impressions about the current year’s business conditions,how their operations have fared over the preceding months,and about their expectations for business conditions and theirown plans for the year ahead.
We aim to document North America’s forging operations
through the eyes and senses of those who understand it best,
its strengths and liabilities, and to identify the critical issues
that our respondents recognize. We hope to learn forgers’
opinions about the economy, their markets, and their business
prospects. For example: “The thinking is that 2021 will likely
be flat-to-slightly down in regard to revenue,” according to
one respondent, “due to the slow-down in commercial aircraft
Beyond all this, we want to learn what plans forgers are
making for the coming business cycle, and to understand bet-
ter how their expectations for the year ahead are shaping deci-
sions for capital investments or expansions.
A further goal of the survey is to give dimension to the extraordinary circumstances at work in 2020, and how these developments have affected forgers’ operations and prospects.“2020 is the most difficult year we have experienced sinceWWII,” one respondent confessed.
We want to know how and why that’s so.
Who says so?
To properly appreciate the survey results we must know
who is being surveyed. First, let’s describe what forging is and
what forgers do.
Forging is the industrial process of shaping metal parts using heat and force or pressure, using mechanical or hydraulicpress machinery. Many of these operations use dies to definea component’s shape, while “open die” forgers rely on forceand technique to shape the part.
Forgers’ operations also rely on a range of other processtechnologies, including thermal systems to heat billets or ingots prior to forging; and heat-treating systems to set metal-lurgical and mechanical profiles after forging. There also are arange of material handling systems at work, die developmentand repair technologies, grinding and finishing machinery,and simulation software to define and evaluate forming andheating processes.
The survey respondents are executives, plant and divisionmanagers, and operators at North American forging businesses. They forge or form all major types of metal, in many casesworking with multiple materials, to fill large-volume orders
2021 BUSINESS OUTLOOK
Estimate the total tonnageof shipments lost by youroperation due to the COVID- 19pandemic.
10,000 tons or less 60.94%
Between 10,000-50,000 tons 12.50%
Between 50,000-100,000 tons 4.69%
100,000 tons or more 1.56%
More than $5 million 4.69%How many days of productiondid your forging operationlose due to the COVID- 19pandemic?
15 or less 11.94%
Between 15-30 22.39%
Between 30-40 14.93%
Between 40-60 8.96%
60 or over 16.42%
No days of production lost 25.37%
Executive, managers, and decision-
makers in one of manufacturing’sessential market segments providenew insights about the past yearfor their businesses and supplychains — and offer impressionsabout the state of the industry,now and in the year ahead.