MMT Blog

It’s Memorial Day, and as we in the United States celebrate with barbecues and other gatherings with family and friends, let’s remember the origins of this much-loved “holiday from work,” and give the day its due.

Our industry is very patriotic. That I know from meeting so many who proudly fly the flag and support our active military service members and those who have returned from battle with injuries both physical and emotional. The American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) membership has made iWarriors (iwarriors.org) its adopted cause and it’s a fine example of the way moldmakers and mold industry suppliers honor those who serve. iWarriors was established by Mold Craft Inc. president Tim Bartz and his wife Kim in 2011 to provide support to wounded service men and women who require surgeries and therapy before they can (try to) resume some kind of “normal” life back home (read all about it via coverage from MMT here).

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 The headline of this week’s Throwback smacks of mystery and intrigue – like some suspense films – and yet back in May 2009 there existed just that: dreadful losses and rare opportunities. I can very clearly remember the stacks of auction notices that accumulated in the mail; hearing every week about more and more shops – those we thought were strong and would be around forever – closing their doors for good. It was a scary time that lasted way too long.

I don’t care to go into the why of it, though I have my theories. Rather, I wanted to simply call attention to this short but realistic view of our industry during the last, terrible recession. As the deck of the article says, for the first time in 20 years there were many qualified and very experienced mold and die makers looking for work – a highly unusual opportunity that many companies dared not seize given the unstable market. Now some probably wish they had.

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Additive Manufacturing magazine's Pete Zelinski explains it perfectly when he says that "tooling is the great underappreciated application of industrial 3D printing."  He goes on to say, "Tooling deserves this attention. Tooling is the enabler to more efficient production today, even in cases where 3D printing is not the effective choice for directly producing parts. Through AM, manufacturers can make tooling that is less expensive than tools made conventionally, more capable than those conventional tools (because of features such as conformal cooling) and available in far less lead time.

But 3D-printed tooling connects to production in one other important way as well. Namely, tooling can change the culture. In many applications, speed or cost is not the obstacle to using AM; the obstacle is obtaining acceptance of a new part-making process. That acceptance might need to be won internally before it can be sought from the customer. And 3D-printed tooling provides a means of doing this. 

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Amerimold connects buyers and sellers of products and services used for designing, building, maintaining, processing and managaing molds, so here is a quick look at some products, equipment and services that will be showcased on the show floor. 

In addition to the exhibits, this year the show floor is featuring a few technology demonstrations. Available to all show floor registrants will be the opportunity to see real machines, in action, on the show floor.  Selected builders will be given the chance to give a presentation about a specific technology, while demonstrating how it works live on the show floor.  

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