A few months ago, I suggested that MoldMaking Technology sponsor an art exhibit comprised of molds and tooling. Moldmakers could present their work in pictures or as sculptures on a show floor. I got this idea after a tour of a mold shop where I saw examples of the molds they were working on. I was moved by the aesthetic power of the finished tools and captivated by the patterns and precision of the machinery at work. This idea would put the art back into the Industrial Arts.
My idea has not yet come to fruition, but that does not mean that there is no role at the present time for creativity in mold shops. Take the latest trend toward sustainability as an example. Manufacturers over the years have seen all kinds of trends come and go. Many were quick to disappear and left few, if any, lasting effects. While others permanently changed the way we do business. It is too early to tell what all of the long-term effects of sustainability, green and eco-friendly will be, but creative minds in every link of the supply chain are already thinking about how to turn this trend into a profitable opportunity.
The concept of green is already mainstream in major end markets such as automotive, appliances and packaging. As consumers, we can all debate the merits of the ideas that are constantly emerging, but suppliers can rarely afford to argue with the markets. They can either catch a wave and ride it or choose to stay in one place and wait for something better. If they choose to make their own waves, then they will likely have to give up the idea of making a profit as well. The best idea often means creating a way to make money in the prevailing trends.
So regardless of your personal tastes (or perhaps because of them), I encourage you to take a close look at the recent trend toward sustainability. Customers will increasingly come to the market looking for ways to conserve energy, reduce materials costs, use more recycled content, make their products more recyclable or biodegradable, and use materials from renewable sources.
Some of these demands will be the result of old-fashioned, market-based factors such as the skyrocketing costs of resins and energy; some from new government mandates and regulations; and, still others will be due to the marketing campaigns of giant manufacturers and retailers who are also trying to catch the latest wave.
As a critical link in the chain, moldmakers must also participate in the process. The moldmakers that think of creative ways to connect their skills at cutting metal with the needs and desires of a global market trend will likely create the most profits.
And if you would like to have some of your work displayed in our art exhibit in the future, then please notify me or Christina. Pieces of scrap that are creatively presented and then sold directly to the consumer seems to me like a very creative way to make a few bucks. I assure you that my commission will be reasonable.