In this week’s Thomas Index, I’m going to take a look at what we call the “Thomas Index Four by Four.” These are four product or service categories that have seen an upward trend in sourcing activity in the Thomas Network at Thomasnet.com, for at least four weeks running.
First up is the category of sensors. In the past week alone, our data showed a record one-week-high in sourcing activity for sensors at Thomasnet.com. This upward trend makes sense when you consider the growing adoption of automation and computer integrated manufacturing by manufacturers of all stripes.
Sourcing activity for environmental consulting services has also been on a steady rise. This action is an interesting trend and may be impacted by significant regulatory rollbacks by the White House administration. Businesses and facilities may be seeking clarity on what’s required to comply with changing EPA, DOT, and OSHA regulations.
Next up in the four by four is the category of abrasives. This is a tremendously broad category, as countless types of abrasives are used in finishing processes for products and components throughout manufacturing. Abrasives was a 37 billion dollar global market in 2016, and an upward trend here seems to be a positive indicator for the health of the North American manufacturing industry in general.
Rounding out the Thomas four by four this week is the category of plating. Plating is a finishing service for a broad array of products and components, particularly for manufacturers in the electronics, aerospace, automotive, and medical industries. Something to keep an eye on within this trend is the growing use of alternative sustainable materials by electroplating suppliers, as they try to reduce the negative environmental impact of solvent-borne chemicals used in many plating processes.
So that’s what we’re seeing this week.
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