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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

NC Software Sales Making a Strong Comeback

May 3rd, 2012 by Jeff Rowe

I recently read some encouraging news from CIMdata contained in its soon-to-be-published Version 21 of the CIMdata NC Market Analysis Report. They estimate, that based on end-user payments, the worldwide NC software and related services market grew by 14.4% in 2011. The estimated end-user payments grew from $1.333 billion in 2010 to $1.525 billion in 2011. The market growth rate in 2011 reflects strong overall PLM spending, continuing the recovery from the downturn in the global economy that manifested itself in dramatically higher machine tool sales into the manufacturing industry. Estimates are that worldwide shipments of machine tools increased by 35% from 2010 to 2011, which is directly related to the volume of CAM software employed to drive these tools. CIMdata projects that in 2012 growth in manufacturing will continue and end-user payments for NC software will increase by 12.4% to $1.714 billion.

Since 2002, the NC software market has shown modest but steady growth as global economies generally improved. There has been worldwide growth in the sale of machine tools and manufacturing output; greater emphasis has been placed on the efficient operation of machine tools as manufacturing firms have strengthened their competitive positions, and the overall PLM market, of which CAM software is a component, has continued on a strong growth path during this period. CAM software purchases are related to all of these factors—particularly machine tool sales.

Alan Christman, CIMdata’s Chairman and author of the NC Market Analysis Report said, “2011 was an excellent year for manufacturers and most providers of NC software. Most firms saw good growth in 2011, and CIMdata expects this growth to continue in 2012 and beyond. The continued strength and growing importance of global manufacturing powers like China and other emerging economies should result in increased investment in advanced technologies like CAD, CAM, and other segments of the overall PLM market. We have seen moves documented in the popular press to bring manufacturing back to the US, which will require still more investment in advanced manufacturing technologies to be competitive with economies with lower labor costs. The next few years should continue to be strong for NC and the broader PLM market.”

This is good news for not only the NC software market, because since 2009, when all engineering/technical software sales sucked, most manufacturing software sectors are today experiencing and enjoying a resurgence in sales. So, is engineering software for manufacturing really emerging from the depths of despair of just a couple of years ago? I’d have to say, yes. Not only are sales stronger, but a number of software vendors have socked enough cash away to make a number of notable acquisitions, making them stronger. Sales aren’t like the “old days” yet, but indicators are definitely moving in a positive direction.

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One Response to “NC Software Sales Making a Strong Comeback”

  1. Jon Banquer says:

    CAM Vendors have to pay for CIMData to review them. Here are direct quotes about how CIMData does business from the former owner of AlphaCAM, Sandy Livingstone who explains how CIMData works and what it was like to deal with them:

    “Be aware that the CIMDATA report simply quotes figures for the number of customers given to them by the vendors. The vendor has to pay a significant amount to be included in the survey and also supply most of the text published in the report about their system.. If the vendor chooses not to pay to have an entry in the report (as we do) Alan Christman makes a guess at what he thinks the figure for the installed customer base might be.”

    “I wrote almost all of the words for our ‘survey’. Not all of them – Alan Christman, who visited us for two days, added some of his own. But we paid for his air fare, his time with us, a charge for being included in the survey”

    “The sad news is that any organization that publishes surveys and reviews do it for the money. The vendors that they include in their surveys have to pay to be included, and have to write most of the words. We did this once, because it seemed like a good idea, but never again, now that we know the reality, having taken part in what I can only describe as an expensive scam. Little by little we learn more and more. It’s like a restaurant paying protection money to a gang that sends round a couple of guys with meat cleavers who offer to ensure that the place won’t be burned down, or the customers harassed, for just $1000 per week. In other words, it’s a form of blackmail – “Pay us to include your company in our survey or ……”

    Jon Banquer
    San Diego, CA

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