It's not everyday you get your face plastered on a Jumbo Cam. Yikes! But it was an honor and pleasure to give moldmaking some attention during the largest North American manufacturing event last week.


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Last week at IMTS--the largest manufacturing event in North America--I was given the privilege of speaking about our industry in a larger than life way ... on a Jumbo Cam as part of IMTStv Shop Talk and IMTStv Today. I was hoping to do my part--in some small way--to shed light on a few of the strenghs of moldmaking as well as a few of the challenges the industry faces.  I hope you agree.


IMTStv set for Shop Talk.

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IMTStv Today with Russ Wilcutt and Chris Felix of Production Machining sharing an IMTS recap.

Since 2005 moldmaking has seen consecutive growth so it has proven to be an established, consistent and safe industry. Mold shops are investing, and we are seeing more technology suppliers focusing on this market with hardware and software designed specifically for moldmaking. Also, Census Bureau data shows that the U.S. mold manufacturing is an $11 billion market. And in terms of capital spending, if we look just at machinery and equipment, the data shows that last year alone the market invested over $285 million in equipment. This means that mold manufacturing is a great place to market and sell technology and equipment.

Mold builders I have spoken to across market segments are saying that business remains “full and steady,” "not quite to 100-percent capacity, but nicely manageable". And, as they look to the third and fourth quarters, the automotive segment seems steady, but they are feeling a little apprehension from the appliance and consumer goods markets.

Outside of data, MMT has shared the stories of many mold manufacturers over the past few years that have expanded facilities and diversified their workload. They are also realizing the real potential of five-axis machining, achieving true lights-out manufacturing, building automation cells, experimenting with additive manufacturing and getting on board with Industry 4.0. All of this shows the preparedness of this industry, in the good times and the rough times.