Trade Show Travels

It has been a big year for MoldMaking Technology. We had our annual trade show and conference in April, the National Plastics Exposition (NPE) in June and the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in September.

It has been a big year for MoldMaking Technology. We had our annual trade show and conference in April, the National Plastics Exposition (NPE) in June and the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in September. Those three events—which only coincide every six years—have provided us with plenty of trends, technologies and strategies for both the plastic and metalworking aspects of mold manufacturing.

Overall, themes continue to revolve around shorter leadtimes and cycle times, as well as greater part quality, but some of the specific technology and trend highlights so far this year for moldmakers include:

  • An industry purchasing trend concentrating on process not product
  • The search for the proper definition of speed
  • A lack of NC programmers in the industry for which software is an answer
  • Machine tool, cutting tool and software providers striving to be one-stop shop suppliers
  • Suppliers expanding their industry base to re-invest in mold and die
  • A focus on micro and large mold machining technology and processes
  • An emphasis on medical and aerospace applications
  • The importance of machine tool center and cutting tool versatility
  • Five-axis machining applications in the mold build process
  • Laser technology possibilities in moldmaking
  • 3-D printing is up and coming in mold manufacture
  • A trend toward compact machining centers
  • An improvement movement in cutting tool coatings and geometries
  • A combination of two-shot molding, in-mold film decorating and in-mold assembly
  • New mold temperature control technology with the ability of water to boil at low temperatures when maintained at very low pressure
  • In-mold adjustable rheological control
  • Automation cells/work cells
  • Waterjet technology
  • Grinding technologies
  • Weldless molding technology
  • Multi-tasking machines
  • Upfront mold flow analysis
  • Desktop polishing
  • In and on-the-machine inspection techniques

It is evident at trade events each year that our industry seems to have a better grasp of the value to future growth and productivity of updating its equipment and processes, as well as upgrading its facilities ... a definite sign of optimism in this globally competitive marketplace.

Next, I’m heading off to Euromold to see what is going on in mold manufacture outside the U.S. I’ll fill you in when I return. Until then, visit www.euromold.com for more show details, and look for articles that explore the above trade show findings in upcoming issues of MoldMaking Technology.

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