MoldMaking Technology

DEC 2018

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International Perspective 22 MoldMaking Technology —— DECEMBER 2018 that value chain in other export markets (mainly automo- tive, which accounts for about 70 percent of production). But tapping into new markets like Mexico is easier said than done, even though Mexico currently is the seventh largest location in the world for automotive production, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will increase their capacities further to meet growing demand. Many of the Portuguese mold shops are supplying their products to CONTRIBUTOR Barbara Schulz is Gardner Business Media's European correspondent. She can be reached at FOR MORE INFORMATION Cefamol / Centimfe / Pool-Net Association / Additive manufacturing enables this company to design tools with conformal cooling channels to reduce customers' cycle times. Many moldmakers in Portugal are following the path of digitalization. This company has abandoned paper and uses a software developed in-house which has ensured a digital, paperless manufacturing environment for more than 20 years. all major OEMs as Tier-1 or Tier-2 suppliers, but since the majority of shops are too small to build up capacities to establish local subsidiaries, some of them have decided to join forces. Key Collaboration In contrast to many countries' moldmaking industries, col- laboration and cooperative manufacturing is common prac- tice in Portugal—which is what five moldmakers (TJ Moldes, Ribermold, Moldit, Mold World and A. Silva Godinho) have done to service their Mexican customers. "The companies decided to join forces to establish a fac- tory for mold service, repair, maintenance and new molds in Mexico because Mexico is a growing market and local service for mold changes and repair is not sufficient," Cefamol President João Faustino says. Plans are in place to establish a technical center in Mexico similar to Centimfe (Technological Center for the Moldmaking, Special Tooling and Plastic Industries) in Portugal. Moreover, the com- panies have already been training 14 Mexicans since June 2018 for their new production facility in Mexico. In Portugal, business is good, Faustino says, but OEM investments are moderate because people are anxious about current changes in the automotive market, like e-mobility, "Dieselgate" and growing competition from China. As a result, prices for molds and tools decreased in 2018, and companies like his own in Marinha Grande, which earn 80 percent of their turnover from the automo- tive industry, have to adjust and develop strategies to opti- mize production. Therefore, Faustino has already intro- duced a paperless factory—similar to many companies in Portugal—lean principles such as 5s and plans to reorga- nize his production, which currently is divided into several factories according to mold size. In the future, Faustino will organize his factory by type of machining. That is to say, all roughing and finishing operations will be housed under separate roofs. Additionally, Faustino has invested in eight new machin- ing centers, which will be delivered next year, all five-axis with pallet systems and some with two tables to optimize set-ups and increase the degree of automation. "The goal is to be able to run the machines 24/7 unattended," Faustino says.

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