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Supply-Chain Consolidation in Europe--Oxford + Wagon

Thursday, March 16, 2006
Oxford Automotive ApS, Paris, France, has signed a definitive agreement to combine with Wagon plc, Birmingham, England. Oxford supplies modular automotive body structures and mechanisms, including large stampings, fineblanked components and weldments, to the European automotive industry. Wagon manufactures car windows, doors and impact-protection systems. The combination will be accomplished by the exchange of the outstanding Oxford shares for a total of up to 62.15 million Wagon common shares, representing 53.1percent of the combined company's fully diluted common. Herve Guillaume, CEO of Oxford, said, "The combined company will be one of the largest European manufacturers of engineered structures and will have a broad base of technical skills, equipment and manufacturing locations.” Wilbur Ross, the leading shareholder and a director of Oxford, added, "We expect the enlarged group to be among the five largest in the European industry. This transaction is therefore another important step toward the consolidation of the auto supply industry."

Georgia to Welcome New Kia Motors Plant

Thursday, March 16, 2006
Kia Motors Corp., Seoul, South Korea, will set up its first U.S. plant in West Point, GA. Production will begin in 2009 and the $1.2-billion factory will employ 2500 workers. The facility, near the Alabama border, is expected to produce 300,000 vehicles per year at maximum capacity. The Korean carmaker also said that five to six auto suppliers are expected to set up nearby, resulting in the creation of an additional 2000 jobs.

January Machine-Tool Consumption Up 11.3 Percent

Wednesday, March 15, 2006
January 2006 U.S. machine-tool consumption totaled $225.94 million, according to AMTDA, the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association, and AMT--The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total was down 31.9 percent from December 2005 but up 11.3 percent from the total of $202.94 million reported for January 2005. “This signals another promising year of continued momentum within the U.S. manufacturing economy, as companies continue to recognize the benefits of investing in new machine-tool technology to improve productivity,” says John J. Healy, AMTDA President. “Although parts of the Midwest continue to experience the struggles of the automotive industry and the South continues to deal with the aftereffects of Katrina, many U.S. regions have shown strong double-digit growth spurred by aerospace, defense, energy and medical-manufacturing activity.”


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