Exhibitors report demand is rising

COMEBACK FOR MACHINE TOOLS

April 08, 1993|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

After several years of recession, things are looking up for the machine tool industry, salesmen said yesterday at Baltimore's first machine tool exhibition in four years.

Kevin Kilgallen, a Maryland salesman for Mid-Atlantic Machine Co., blamed the cutbacks at defense contractors such as Westinghouse Electric Corp. for hurting demand for machines that make machines -- generally viewed as a bellwether for American manufacturing as a whole.

But now, demand is picking up from some large companies with consumer products, such as Harley-Davidson Inc., which has a factory in York, Pa., and some small local machine shops.

Many of the 50 exhibitors gathered at the Baltimore Convention Center for the two-day exhibit, which ends today at 5 p.m., said they were starting to see tentative signs of an improving economy.

Kerry Wormwood, who co-founded a software company to help manufacturers meet new European Community quality standards, said many of his business prospects seem to be waiting for investment tax breaks discussed by then-candidate Bill Clinton last year.

"The economy has been dormant a little too long," said Mr. Wormwood, president of CAM Assist Corp. of Annapolis.

Chris Kapczk's high-pressure sales techniques had gotten him several leads yesterday.

Mr. Kapczk, who helped demonstrate his company's high-powered water pressure cleaning machines, said that, though he hadn't made any sales, he was hopeful.

Mr. Kapczk's company, Glen Burnie-based Atlantic Pressure Washers, has seen growth in demand for its spraying machines and Atlantic is trying to branch out beyond just cleaning boats and buildings to cleaning other people's machines. "Somebody's got to clean up these machines," he said, gesturing at other exhibits.

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