"It is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of nature." Nikola Tesla's prediction from over a century ago is not far from reality. The man who designed the modern alternating current supply system that runs modern machines and powers the U.S. economic engine saw the impact of machinery on humanity. We rely on machines to keep the economy running across all facets of life, from farming equipment that keeps food on the table and power tools that help shape buildings to air-conditioning units that keep people cool: humanity relies on machines as second nature. An entire industry is dedicated to designing, developing, and manufacturing machines.
The machine manufacturing industry's importance is demonstrated in some key 2021 figures:
- The industry employs 1.1 million people.
- 3D additive manufacturing machines have grown by over 30% in ten years.
- The U.S. machine market is over $66 billion, with the global market exceeding $485 billion.
Industrial machinery is crucial for infrastructure needs and the success of numerous other industries, such as agriculture, food processing, and paper. As in all industries, there are hazards faced by those who work in the machine manufacturing industry. Forging, stamping, and bending sharp metal pieces are all necessary processes in manufacturing machines and equipment. This means workers are prone to cut injuries. In this blog, we provide an overview of the machine manufacturing industry and the associated safety hazards, explicitly concerning the manufacturing of engine, turbine, and power transmission equipment, or NAICS 336, under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).
The official machinery definition is a collection of mechanical apparatuses. Overall, the machine industry is a subset of the manufacturing industry that produces and maintains machines for numerous industrial manufacturing operations, such as agricultural machinery, farm machinery, food processing, heavy construction machinery, and packaging machines.
Below is a breakdown of the different subsets of machinery manufacturing, organized by NAICS number:
|| Agriculture, Heavy Construction Machinery, and Mining Machinery
|| involves equipment used to grow and harvest crops, machines used to construct buildings, and mining operation equipment
|| farm machinery, lawn and garden equipment, tractors, oil and gas machinery
||involves producing machinery designed to make other industrial operations function
|| food processing equipment, paper machinery, sawmills, woodworking equipment
|| Commercial and Service Machinery
||involves creating machines designed to service users and businesses
||vending machinery, dry-cleaning equipment, optical instruments, lenses
|| Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration Equipment
|| involves manufacturing the machinery necessary to maintain temperatures in refrigeration units and buildings
||commercial fans and blowers, air-conditioning units, heating equipment
|| involves manufacturing metal and plastic goods used in other metalworking applications
|| industrial molds, die, and tools, machine stamping tools
|| Engine, Turbine, and Power Transmission Equipment
|| involves machinery used to generate, transmit, and distribute electrical power
|| gears, speed changers, generators
As you can see, each sub-industry focuses on niche industrial machinery that helps produce output in various U.S. sectors. Agricultural machinery helps feed America. Heavy construction machinery is used to construct buildings. This industry's oil and gas equipment produces much of the nation's energy. Meeting many of our everyday needs without the machine industry would be impossible.
This image highlights which types of machinery and equipment are produced.
The massive machine industry pumps an estimated $140 billion into the U.S. economy annually. Here are some of the top machinery manufacturing companies in the nation:
- Caterpillar – With 2017 sales and revenues of $45.462 billion, Caterpillar is the world's largest machinery manufacturer and the number one manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. It is also a Global Fortune 500 company with satellite offices worldwide.
- Deere & Company – No one tops Deere & Company in agricultural equipment. They manufacture agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery, diesel engines, and drivetrains (axles, transmissions, gearboxes) used in heavy equipment and lawn care equipment to $39.54 billion in 2020.
- AGCO Corp. – This agricultural machinery manufacturer delivers agricultural solutions to farmers worldwide through a full line of tractors, combine harvesters, hay and forage equipment, seeding and tillage implements, grain storage, and protein production systems. They also stock the replacement parts necessary to keep these agricultural machines running.
- Terex Corporation – To assist with lifting and material handling in various industries, Terex is a global manufacturer of aerial work platforms and material processing products.
- Volvo Construction Equipment – This company has been innovating in the machine industry for almost 200 years and employs over 14,000 people. It is a subsidiary of the Volvo Group.
- Komatsu – Komatsu focuses on manufacturing and selling industrial machinery and diesel engines in the construction, mining, and forestry arena. Its headquarters are in Tokyo, Japan.
- CNN Industrial – This company was founded in 1886 and is headquartered in London, England. It designs, produces, and sells agricultural equipment and commercial vehicles to customers worldwide.
Heavy Machinery States
Machine manufacturing is spread across the United States, with just under 23,000 industrial machinery and equipment manufacturers nationwide. The Great Lakes region is a hot spot for manufacturing activity. Roughly 44% of all manufacturing shipments are made in Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, and Minnesota, followed closely by manufacturing establishments in the south and along the west coast.
The states with the most industrial machine manufacturers are:
- Arizona – Maricopa County with 190 establishments
- California – Los Angeles County with 619 establishments, Orange County with 307 establishments, and San Diego County with 175 establishments
- Illinois – Cook County with 384 establishments, Dupage County with 217 establishments, and Winnebago with 123 establishments
- Iowa – Black Hawk County with 18 establishments and Polk County with 28 establishments
- Massachusetts – Middlesex County with 129 establishments
- Michigan – Macomb County with 379 establishments and Oakland with 290 establishments
- Minnesota – Hennepin County with 153 establishments and Anoka with 70 establishments
- Missouri – Jackson County with 49 establishments
- New York – Erie County has 101 establishments, and Monroe County with 114 establishments.
- Ohio – Cuyahoga with 196 establishments, Hamilton County with 88 establishments, and Auglaize with 11 establishments
- Oklahoma – Tulsa with 99 establishments
- South Carolina – Greenville County with 68 establishments
- Texas – Harris County with 544 establishments and Tarrant County with 140 establishments
- Washington – King County with 126 establishments and Spokane County with 39 establishments
- Wisconsin – Waukesha County with 164 establishments and Milwaukee County 103 establishments
Industrial Machinery Jobs
There are over 1 million workers found across the machinery industry. Multifaceted assembly operations are a significant part of the production process and the number one area producing employment. The second biggest bucket of workers includes those handling machines that cut and shape metal pieces. Below are some of the top occupations across this industry and a brief explanation of what they do.
||2020 Employment Numbers
||Additional Work Activities
|| Put together various parts during subassembly and final assembly to build parts, machinery, and vehicles
Assemble bolts, parts, fittings, and equipment
Install structural assemblies
Attach brackets, hinges, and clips
|| Operate various machine tools to produce precision parts and apparatuses out of metal
Operate cutting and grinding equipment
Install mechanical components
|| Weld or join metal components and fill holes in fabricated metal products
Shape metal with hammers
Operate metal-forming equipment
Disassemble equipment for repair
| Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Tool Operators
|| Run CNC tools, machines, and robots to machine and process parts and workpieces
Remove and mount workpieces
| Electrical Assemblers
|| Assemble electrical batteries, motors, and wiring
Drill holes in equipment
Test electrical equipment
| Inspectors and Sorters
|| Test assembled parts and equipment
Discard rejected products
| Industrial Machinery Mechanics
|| Conduct routine maintenance and repairs on the manufacturing equipment
Disassemble and reassemble machinery
Cut and weld metal
| Tool and Die Makers
|| Fit and repair dies
Lay out metal stock
Run grinding equipment to metal surfaces
| Cutting, Punching, and Press Operators
|| Run machines to cut, shear, slit, curve, and flatten metal material
| Maintenance and Repair
|| Provide mechanical support and perform routine maintenance on the structure of the facility
| Engine Assemblers
|| Construct and assemble engines for machines
Cut industrial materials
| Grinding Operators
|| Remove excess material and burrs from metal
Run cutting and grinding equipment
| Core Making and Casters
|| Run coremaking machines to mold and cast metal
Regulate molten metal
Load items into hot ovens
Place or pour materials into molds
Industry Injuries and Safety Stats
Machine manufacturing can be a dangerous job, and workers face a variety of hazards. Safely performing the above mentioned jobs is imperative, as injuries can occur anytime. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records injury data for every industry. The average number of injuries across all industries is 2.6 per 100 employees. Machine manufacturing falls on that average at 2.6 injuries for every 100 workers. The one sub-industry that records a higher number than the average is the agriculture and construction machinery industry, posting a 3.3 average. The table below highlights the average total recordable injuries by sub-industry.
||Total Recordable Injury Cases (per 100 employees)
| Agriculture, Construction, and Mining Machinery
| Heating, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigeration Equipment
| Metalworking Machinery
| Industrial Machinery
| Engine, Turbine, and Power Transmission Equipment
| Commercial and Service Machinery
When you examine the BLS reports showing the specific nature of injuries in 2020, there were 8,280 total injury cases in the industry involving days away from work. Here is a look at some of the sub-industries recording higher injury rates in some critical areas:
- Hand Injuries – 1,800 total hand injuries occurred, with metalworking machinery sustaining the most with 570 injuries
- Harmful Substances –1,550 injuries were the result of exposure to harmful substances, with fluid power cylinder manufacturing taking the top spot with 450 injuries.
- Cut and Lacerations – 1,030 injuries, with agriculture machinery and HVAC equipment resulting in the most injuries
- Struck By Object – resulted in 500 total injuries, with metalworking machinery sustaining 120 injuries
- Arm Injuries – 350 injuries occurred to the arm, with agriculture and construction machinery having the most.
- Eye Injuries – 340 injuries, with metalworking machinery taking the spot with 150 total injuries
- Thermal Burns – 70 total injuries, with agricultural and farming equipment involving 40 total injuries
The best defense any employee can have against workplace injuries is to arm themselves with knowledge about the top hazards and protect themselves against those dangers. Our next section outlines the most common safety violations OSHA finds within the machine manufacturing industry.
OSHA and Hazards
Each year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides information regarding the most common safety violations in each industry. Here are the top 10 machine manufacturing safety violations contributing to such high injury rates based on the number of citations issued:
- Hazard communication
- Powered industrial trucks
- Respiratory protection
- Overhead and gantry cranes
- Wiring methods, components, and equipment
- Mechanical power-transmission apparatus
- OSHA General Duty Clause
- Safety management of highly hazardous chemicals
- Fall protection
Many of these violations result from the inadequate use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Proper use of PPE can protect against the dangers associated with hazardous chemicals, hazard communication, and the General Duty Clause. Violation of the General Duty Clause is the most significant citation because it's the underlining act ensuring workplaces are free from hazards. PPE must be provided when hazards can't be removed from a job site. In addition to the top 10 safety violations, some other noteworthy citations include handling portable power tools, handling materials, arc welding, noise, and eye and face protection. MCR Safety has PPE solutions to address many of the hazards faced in machine manufacturing, which we cover extensively in our next section.
Any company that needs assistance addressing any of the above hazards should review the resources offered on the OSHA website. Here are some specific pages to check out:
Users worldwide recognize MCR Safety for supplying top-quality personal protection equipment. Overall, we have eight protection categories that comprise our product assortment, each designed to limit workplace injuries. The PPE worn in machine manufacturing will vary depending on the work performed. Those handling metal components, grinding metal, assembling wires, and welding will require more protection from cuts than those handling freight. Our next section breaks down all the PPE options MCR Safety offers.
Drums and tanks are responsible for holding metal working fluids and concerntrates that workers eventually handle. Unfortunately, harmful substances are one of the leading causes of overall injuries. Whenever a worker faces potential exposure to chemicals, they must be protected. Wearing hand protection is critical. Neoprene and butyl gloves are the most popular styles due to their protection levels against a wide range of chemicals. For performance ratings against a specific chemical, be sure to visit our permeation database for in-depth information.
The machinery handbook highlights how personal protective clothing should always be worn when removing metal working fluids (MWF) concentrates from containers, diluting concentrate, and preparing additives.
Hands are vulnerable to severe injuries when workers bend, form, and stamp metal. Some of the most common workplace injuries in the manufacturing industries include cuts and lacerations, often occurring when laying out metal stock and feeding metal into equipment. As a result of this work, arm injuries are a big concern for workers, too. MCR Safety stocks a complete range of cut-resistant gloves and sleeves to help workers stay protected from sharp metal. Click on the image above to start exploring our online cut-resistant catalog.
We carry cut-resistant sleeves too!
Cut- and Puncture-Resistant Gloves
A worker's hands play a critical role in manufacturing machines, which makes gloves one of the most important and widely used forms of PPE across the industry. When handling sharp parts and metal pieces, some added puncture protection makes sense for those tasked with deburring metal and grinding out burrs.
Lightweight Cut-Resistant Gloves
Lightweight cut-resistant gloves are helpful when handling small objects such as nuts and bolts, which is often the case for assembly workers. Many injuries to machine factory workers occur when assembling, drilling bolts, and lifting parts repeatedly. Our lightweight gloves allow your hands to remain flexible and protected with the high cut performance featured in the above styles.
Machine manufacturing often involves operating around hot machinery and parts, especially die-casting and forging operations. For workers in these conditions, heat protection is required. You can find all our heat-resistant gloves here.
Cotton gloves have been a go-to glove for decades to protect against heat.
All machining of material, especially plastics and metals, requires eye protection. In addition, assembling, grinding, painting, finishing, and welding processes occur in virtually every machine factory. And all of these applications are notorious for creating flying debris and metal shavings, which means eyes must be protected. These styles are lightweight, adjustable, and super comfortable! For our complete eye protection online catalog, click here.
Anyone grinding metal will need their face protected.
With so much metal found in machinery, welding is often needed to join separate parts. Welding operations in manufacturing facilities generate hazardous working conditions that produce heat, sparks, and spatter, requiring welders to wear welding gear that incorporates thicker leather, flame-resistant apparel, and increased levels of heat insulation. Below are three of our top welding categories; simply click on the image to view the specific category.
Welders require their entire body to be protected from hot metal.
What does machinery mean?
- Within the scope of manufacturing, machinery is the machines made for other companies and industries that aid in production.
What does heavy machinery include in the oil and gas industry?
- Numerous machines are used to extract and refine petroleum in the oil and gas industy. Some examples include cranes, reactors, seperators, pumps, and hoisting systems.
What is cnc machinery?
- Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machinery cut anbd process materials to exact specifications.
What machinery is used to manufacture goods?
- In manufacturing, there are generally three types of equipment used: machines that create a product, machines that assemble a product, and machines that assist humans in creating or assembling products.
Where are Caterpillar manufacturing plants?
- Caterpillar has more than 60 plants spread across 25 U.S. states.
What does Caterpillar manufacture?
- Caterpillar Inc. is the world's leading construction and mining equipment manufacturer of highway diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives.
Where are John Deere tractors manufactured?
- John Deere factories are located in Georgia, Tennessee, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Who owns Terex?
- Yanmar Holdings Co. purchased Terex in 2016 for approximately $60 million.
The machine manufacturing industry is responsible for creating sophisticated technology that helps numerous industries produce goods and services. Though a massive and essential industry, it does not come without hazards. We hope the above has shed some light on how important this industry is for the entire U.S. economy. For those who work in the industry, we hope you have found some helpful safety and PPE information to protect you from the numerous hazards found across manufacturing operations. When you hear the name MCR Safety, just remember what it is we do: We Protect People!
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For over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it's cut-resistant gloves worn while assembling tractors or workers using construction equipment assembled by the machine manufacturing industry, we are there providing solutions to workplace hazards. It's all part of our commitment to protect people.
No matter your industry, we have the personal protective equipment you need.
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.