Acquisitions shuffle company rankings within the top 15.

Most of the changes in the ranking of the world's major machine tool builders in 1998 were the result of acquisitions, but recovery of the industry in Germany and continued softness in Japan were also factors. Thyssen Production Systems (Germany) came in first because of the acquisition of Giddings & Lewis. Thyssen Production Systems had sales of $1,492.5 million last year, dropping Yamazaki Mazak (Japan) with $1,290 million to second place.

Ranking is provided by the 34th edition of the Blue Bulletin. Initially covering US companies, it has evolved on a global basis. The new Bulletin includes 243 companies from 12 countries: 90 are German, 65 are Italian, 40 are Japanese, 27 are American, five each are from Britain and the Czech Republic, four from Switzerland, two each from France and Spain, and one each from Belgium, Brazil, and Canada.

Data on two companies are included in the table, but not in the ranking: Siemens (Germany) and Fanuc (Japan). Ranking is based on the worldwide sale of machine tools. CNC controls are included, just the way motors are, in the turnover of a builder. Firms that build both machines and controls included the value of any controls sold to other builders, but control builders who do not build machine tools were not included. Thus Fanuc was included, sometimes in first place, (though machine tools are a small part of the turnover), but Siemens (Fanuc's principal rival) was not. This has caused some controversy. Everybody likes to have the Fanuc figures in the table, but builders object to its lowering their rankings. This year the system was modified to include both Fanuc and Siemens in the table but omit them from the ranking. Interestingly, Siemens with $1,400 million is right behind Thyssen while Fanuc with $1,162 million is right behind Mazak.

The 243 companies appeared to have machine tool sales totaling $32.6 billion, 15% higher than they reported in 1997. Machine tool sales are actually somewhat less than this because many companies in Germany and Italy, reporting through their trade associations, reported their total sales — not just machine tool sales. In many cases there is little difference; in others there is a lot. Of the 197 companies with sales figures for both years, 122 reported an increase and 75 reported a decrease. Although changes in exchange rates were not a major factor last year, all percentage changes mentioned in the following descriptions are calculated in the original currency. Of the 67 companies reporting their profits, 13 reported a loss.

I don't claim that this is a perfect listing of the top companies. Some refuse to supply information, some fail to respond to repeated requests, and some who should be invited are overlooked, but the Blue Bulletin has been accepted as the best thing available. AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology has copies on hand. The order line is 1-800-544-3597.

Here are the top 15 companies (plus the two not ranked) with comments extracted from the Blue Bulletin.

1. Thyssen Production Systems ranked first, up from sixth last year, with sales of $1,492.5 million. This is only 19% of Thyssen Industrie with sales of $7.7 billion, which is only 32% of Thyssen AG with sales of $24.4 billion. Thyssen Production Systems has 8,183 employees with German company sales of $612 million and non-German company sales of $880 million. Thyssen Production Systems includes Giddings & Lewis, Hüller Hille, Diedesheim, Hessap, and Witzig & Frank. This year Thyssen Industrie bought out its independent shareholders and merged with Thyssen, which, in turn, merged with Krupp: So Thyssen Production Systems is now the Production Systems Group in the ThyssenKrupp Industry Group.

Siemens (Germany) had sales of $66 billion; $7.8 billion of which were in the Automation and Drive division. Of this, $1.4 billion were from numerical controls, drives, and measuring systems produced in Erlangen (Ger-many) where there are 4,690 employees.

2. Yamazaki Mazak (Japan), long the leading machine tool builders, now second to Thyssen, had sales of $1,290 million, up 3.7% in yen. The sales surpassed the previous yen record reached in 1990. Mazak has four plants in Japan as well as plants in the United States, Britain, and Singapore. U.S. sales were again about $575 million.

Fanuc (Japan) had sales of $1,161.8 million in CNC systems, servomotors, EDM machines, and other machine tools. It also produces robots and plastic-molding machines, which account for the rest of total sales of $1.8 billion. Plants building CNC systems are located in Japan, U.S., Europe, and China. Fujitsu, from which Fanuc was spun off, still owns 38.9%.

There are joint ventures with GE on factory automation systems, Kolon International, and Hwacheon Machinery in Korea.

3. Third-ranked Amada produces band saws, but most of its manufacturing is done by two partially owned subsidiaries, Amadasonoike and Amada Wasino (which rank No. 33 and 43 on the list). Amada is primarily an engineering and marketing firm and has plants in Japan, France, Austria, and (through Sonoike) the U.S. Exports account for 35% of sales.

4. Okuma (Japan) moved up from fifth to fourth place with a 15% increase to $896.4 million. The US plant in Charlotte, N.C., is now producing machining centers, and Okuma has contracted with ZPS (Czech Republic; No. 55, $145 million) to produce a version of its Cadet vertical machining center. Okuma has always produced its own control systems. Exports are 64% of sales.

5. Unova, the top U.S. company, is in fifth place with sales of $833.33 million. These figures include sales from Cincinnati Machine for the last three months of 1998; if the company had been included for the full year, sales would have been about $1.2 billion, and Unova would have ranked third. Unova spun off from Western Atlas in 1997, which had spun off from Litton in 1994. The Industrial Automation Div (about half of Unova) includes Lamb Technicon, Gardner Disc Grinders and Abrasives, Landis Grinding Machines, Landis Lund (U.K.), Cranfield Precision Engineering (U.K.), Gold-crown Machinery, Honsberg Lamb (Germany), and the stamping, engineering, and prototyping division of Modern Prototype. In June '98, it acquired R&B Machine Tool (U.S.), a producer of dial-transfer machines. Effective October 1, 1998, Unova acquired the machine tool division (now called Cincinnati Machine) of Cincinnati Milacron (now called Milacron Inc.). Unova's other division is Automated Data Systems, which manufactures bar code equipment.

6. Moving up to 6th place from 9th place is Mori Seiki (Japan), which concentrates its manufacturing in highly automated plants in Japan but has marketing and service companies in the U.S., Mexico, Germany, France, U.K., and Singapore. Sales increased 23% in yen. Mori Seiki exports 72% of its products.

7. Trumpf Group (Germany) ranks 7th, up from 8th, with sales of $780.5 million, an increase of 28% in marks. The U.S. factory with 400 employ-ees had sales of $142 million, a 43% increase. The home plant in Germany had sales of $457 million, 52% of which was exported. All 14 production locations are ISO 9001 certified. Trumpf also owns Haas Laser (No. 83; $85 million), 75% of the Hüttinger Group, and 76% of the SWS in the former East Germany.

8. Fuji Machine Manufacturing (Japan) makes automatic assembly machines for electronics. It dropped from 6th place to 8th place with sales of $770 million, a 6% decline in yen. However sales of CNC lathes increased 5% and are now 21% of sales.

9. The Comau Group (Italy) is owned by Fiat. Counted as machine tools are the Mechanical Systems ($191 million) and Bodywork Systems ($518.2 million). Other operations include Automation Systems ($155.6 million), Painting Systems ($45.9 million), Engineering ($56.1 million), and a new division, Service ($25.1 million). This year, Comau acquired 51% of Renault Automation (No. 74; $102-million), and is expanding the Service Division by acquiring Detroit's Progressive Tool & Industries Co.

10. Toyoda Machine Works (Japan) is 25% owned by Toyota Motors and more than half of production is auto parts. Machine tool sales increased 16% to $674 million, keeping it in 10th place. It is supplying controls and wheel bearings to a firm in China licensed to produce its grinders.

11. Schuler (Germany) produces mechanical presses and has acquired several press companies, including Schuler SMG (hydraulic presses; No. 80; $90 million); Theodore Gräbener (mechanical presses); and GMG (handling equipment). It also has a 22% interest in Müller-Weingarten (No. 26; $292 million), which was acquired in a '97 rescue operation. Schuler sales of $575 million keep it in 11th place.

12. Gildemeister (Germany) had machine tool sales of $490 million, up 40% in marks, placing 12th. In '97, the breakdown of machine tool sales was not available when the list was compiled. If it had been, Gildemeister would have been 20th that year. Turning machine sales were $148 million last year and Deckel-Maho sales were $342 million. Gildemeister has a 51% interest in a & f Stahl und Maschinenbau (Germany), a 6% interest in Makino Europe (formerly Heiden-reich & Har-beck, Germany), and at the end of '98 acquired 97% of LCTec (Ger-many) a firm specializing in rapid prototyping and laser surface hardening.

13. Agie-Charmilles Holding (Swiss) is the Manufacturing Technology Group of George Fischer. It includes Agie, Charmilles, the Intech Group of EDM maintenance companies, and Meccatool. Machine sales are estimated at $485 million, based on the division previously reported. This moves the company to 13th place from 14th. In 1999, the company purchased Boston Digital (US; No. 162; $27 million).

14. Ingersoll Milling Machine, the second US company on the list, had sales of $469 million, a decline of 6%, which drops it from 13th to 14th. Ingersoll is a private firm building custom machining systems with plants in Rockford, Ill., and Germany. The German plants, including Ingersoll, Waldrich Coberg, and Waldrich Siegen had sales of $206 million in '98.

15. Makino Milling Machine (Japan) remained in 15th place despite a 33% increase in yen to $464 million. Makino has two plants in Japan and one in the U.S. and owns 94% of Heiden-rich & Harbeck in Germany, which is now Makino Europe. Exports are 49% of sales.

After the top 15 companies on the list, the next U.S. companies are Cincinnati Milacron (20th, for its last nine months in the machine tool business), Haas Automation (23rd), Gleason Works (31st), Bridgeport Machines (37th), and Integrated Process Equipment Corp. (44th), which has since merged with Speedfam International (48th).