Machine tool maker Yamazaki Mazak Corp. entered the U.S. market in 1968 and moved its U.S. headquarters to Florence, Kentucky, in 1974. Since then it has grown into a campus that includes a manufacturing plant, a national technology center and a North American parts center.

We talked to President Dan Janka about how the pandemic has affected the company.

How has Mazak been affected by the changes in the economy?

We’re an engineering and manufacturing company and our main product is machine tools and the related automation that serves the aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, medical and semiconductor industries, as well as others. We make the stuff that makes the stuff. So we’ve got a direct insight into all the vertical industries that produce products for the consumer.

Every month our industry association puts out machine tool consumption data. If you look at the overall market, it’s down almost 40% this year. The majority of that decline has occurred since the latter part of March.

How has business evolved since then?

We saw the light switch flipped and business levels dropped significantly in the month of April. Then about mid-May, we started to see activity pick up and we had growth in May over April. And we had a pretty good month of June. Business was predominantly coming from the space and defense industries, and medical, as you can imagine. We’re very much involved in supplying machines that produce components for ventilators and plasma machines.

Looking ahead, what do you expect?

I’m still quite optimistic about the recovery. Here’s why: Inventories have been depleted because manufacturers stopped or cut back for a period time. The moment the consumer feels confident to leave the friendly confines of their homes and get out, pent-up demand suddenly kicks in and you have over-demand and under-supply because inventories have been depleted.