Looking Back


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It’s that time of year again, when we tend to look back at the past 12 months and all that they have brought us, and then look ahead to the New Year and what is to come.

With everything from challenges and threats facing our industry to solutions and advances moving it for-ward, I wanted to take a closer look at what you believe are some of the top moments of 2006—in terms of moldmaking technologies, trends and strategies. So, I asked our editorial advisory board members for their top two or three events, technologies, industry trends, news, etc. of the past year that have had the greatest impact on them, their companies and/or the industry as a whole.

Their responses include:

  • “Achieving cost savings has been huge. Some of the things shops have
    been doing to achieve this include purchasing mold components (cavity and core details) from offshore suppliers; looking into building stack molds that will yield a lower cost part; improving the mold construction turnaround time; and, using mold flow technology to determine part quality and maximum cycle time.”
  • “Five-axis machining for molds is the single biggest technology focus area.”
  • “Labor shortages in the U.S. continue to plague many small shops.”
  • “Health insurance continues to be an issue. Price increases top 10 percent per year, and employees are concerned and baffled and fearful of losing coverage. The cost is eating into margins big time.”
  • “Global competition, relationships, solutions … Asia in particular.”
  • “Cash flow/payment terms/contractual agreement issues.”
  • “Commodity cost increases that have had a huge impact in most manufacturing sectors. Metals and plastics have surged in price, forcing supply chain renegotiations and cost pass-throughs.”
  • “Making a concerted effort to globalize and consolidate supply chains has been a big impact on the product supply or production molding end of things.”
  • “Some evident trends this year include: small shops that have either gone out of business or have been taken over by a larger shop; the amount of work going out of this country, especially to China; and, shop owners forced to freeze wages or cut back on their own salaries to stay afloat and be competitive.”

To see and hear more on these challenges and solutions and threats and advances, I urge you to start thinking outside your shop and consider attending MoldMaking Expo 2007 next April 18 & 19 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.

This year’s theme is “Your Industry, Your Show, Your Future,” and it’s offering more than 25,000 square feet of products and technology exhibits, keynote addresses on the latest hot topics in moldmaking, a first-time ever Moldmaker’s Pavilion, two full days of 37 technical conference sessions and networking opportunities … all about moldmaking.

Mark your calendars today!


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