The Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA), Chicago, released 2007 year-end sales data for distributors and manufacturers of power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) products, showing distributors and manufacturers in North America experienced overall growth in sales in 2007. However, confidence in the market (measured 1 to 10 with 10 as most optimistic) has eroded slightly, holding a current neutral position between 5.0 and 5.8 vs. 5.1 to 6.6 at year-end 2006.
While still positive, sales growth of PT/MC products is slowing. Following three years of double-digit growth, U.S. distributors saw a 6.8% increase in PT/MC product sales in 2007. The annualized sales-to-inventory ratio for 2007 was up to 7.6, compared to 7.3 in 2006.
U.S. manufacturers of PT/MC products experienced year-to-date sales growth of 3.7% vs. a more robust growth rate of 7.1% in 2006. The same trend holds true for year-to-date orders of PT/MC products for U.S. manufacturers, gaining 1.1% in 2007 as compared to 3.8% in 2006. The annualized sales-to-inventory ratio increased to 10.0 at year-end 2007 from 9.0 in 2006.
For sales growth on a product-by-product basis for 2007, product categories for U.S. manufacturers showed an overall growth in sales with only two product categories experiencing declines — variable speed drives and positioning systems/linear motion products. Canadian manufacturers, on the other hand, showed an overall reduction in sales with only three product categories showing sales growth — unmounted bearings, clutches and brakes, and industrial motors.