A metal-forging press made in Germany in the 1930s and transported to the U.S. is still doing a fine job making dies for aircraft wheels and brakes at Alcoa. The longevity of the press demonstrates how manufacturers tend to stick with equipment that is still working even if it's decades old. However, some say that sticking with the old means that companies and markets are missing out on new opportunities. "When you build a greenfield plant, you're going to put modern equipment into it," says MAPI's chief economist.

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