I want to express my opinion regarding the article titled 'Opportunities for Business in Mexico' published in the September 2004 issue of MoldMaking Technology. I have worked for Prinver since 1998 and I have been a mold designer since 2001. My firm has made threads for pipes for the oil industry since 1982. The plastic division started in 1998. The goal was to make our own thread protectors and not depend on suppliers. Injection molding machines were purchased and we started the production of thread protectors, but one thing was missing—the moldmaking.
Our molds were still made by an external moldmaker. Due to my interest in mechanical design, I tried to persuade management in 1999 to both design and make our own molds in order to save time and money. Unfortunately, I did not succeed. At that time my duties were merely administrative, and management decided to rely on a technician with a lot of experience on machine tools. There is no doubt he is an experienced person, but he is not a professional moldmaker.
A first mold was made and it worked for a couple of months—neither calculations nor engineering data were recorded. After one year there were changes in management. The new manager decided to make Prinver self-sufficient in moldmaking. During the introductory interviews he asked me if we would be able to design and build our injection molds and I immediately said yes. I told him that we have machine tools and CAD software that could be very helpful to the task—that is, we have the infrastructure, the only thing we need is training.
I should explain that I had bad experiences with my former boss when it came to training issues; he simply told me that I should look for more interesting courses. That was just an excuse; he was not interested in training. Fortunately, the new manager offered training in mold design and Moldflow, and after one year I was given the opportunity to design my first mold.
At the beginning it was hard and I had support. It was not until the second design that I could develop the whole design by taking advantage of the 3-D CAD tools and Moldflow software. So far I have designed four molds.
Management has changed one more time and training seems to be in second place once again. Now we can make our own molds for $15,000 dollars or so. Prior to this, my firm paid up to $26,000 dollars per mold. Although we do not manufacture molds to sell, I believe what is happening at my firm is taking place in a lot of industries.
The mold design and moldmaking in Mexico is not as developed as it should be. There are not enough people trained in this field. It seems managers are so involved in paperwork that they do not pay attention to the technical issues, and even worse many of them think training is a waste of time and money, and that it is better for you to learn on the job. So I agree with your article, there is a good opportunity for American moldmakers in Mexico."
David C. Ontiveros
Prinver S.A. de C.V. (Veracruz, Ver. Mexico)