MMT Blog

Chief Economist for Gardner Business Intelligence gives a rundown of status of the automotive, medical and aerospace markets.

Automotive

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MoldMaking Technology along with MMT’s sister-brands have received significant interest in understanding how recent tariffs will affect the moldmaking industry. The issue is an important but complicated one as tariffs can result in retaliatory tariffs, furthermore, tariffs can also be levied on one or several specific countries. Much attention is often paid only to tariffs in terms of the total amount of trade that they are likely to impact in one direction or from only one country. The reality of the situation is that many countries are simultaneously changing their trade stances with other nations. The U.S. has been adjusting its trade position not only with China during 2018, but with its two largest trading partners Canada and Mexico. The new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement or “USMCA” was signed in late November and now awaits each country’s ratification by their respective legislatures. In addition, Britain’s exit from the European Union, frequently referred to as “Brexit” is due to occur in late March of 2019.

Brexit, unlike the other trading nations previously addressed, will have a unique impact on European trade as London is one of the world’s largest financial hubs with significant involvement in many international financial deals. Many economic white papers have taken efforts to explain the impact of Brexit on foreign direct investment and the ability of firms to borrow capital. The complete Brexit process is also taking place on a much longer timeline than that of America’s changing trade rules with critical trading nations. The UK’s new trade rules post-Brexit are not expected to take effect until January 2021. Firms who buy from, or sell to, European firms may need to be more aware of the financial conditions of firms that are highly reliant on foreign direct investments “FDI”. FDI plays a particularly important role in the technological development and the ability of firms to capitalize on technological innovation. Several economists have written extensively on the link between stable well-regulated economies and the ability of firms in these areas to receive investment funding[1].

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The American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) has been busy filling its calendar with several upcoming events and posting the details on its new website, amba.org. The organization has enlisted the services of JMVC Transitions Group, LLC, to present a four-part webinar series on succession planning as part of its Peer Networking program. Kym Conis, managing director, says, “Peer Networking is an AMBA members exclusive opportunity where professionals in common positions connect virtually with peers and discuss new ideas, explore methods of improvement and expand their professional networks.” Additionally, three new reports were released by the AMBA: The AMBA Wage and Benefits Report, Business Forecast Report and Best Practices in Filling the Sales Pipeline Report.

April 1 will see a call for applications for the American Mold Manufacturing Advancement Grant (AMMA), the purpose of which is to support programs/projects that fall within three primary areas: training, advocacy/industry promotion and R&D. Conis says the AMBA has set aside $60,000 in grant money for 2019. The AMBA is accepting applications for its National Scholarship Program through April 19. Finally, the AMBA will hold its 2019 Annual Conference on May 8-10 in Itasca, Illinois. This year’s theme is Strategies. Executed and will showcase industry trends in technology, operational best practices and benchmarks that will help attendees learn, improve and grow.

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Traditional craftsmen’s skills are paramount when designing and machining molds and tools, and Colin Merry, owner of DJM Engineering in Banbuy, UK has learned his skills from scratch in his company, which was founded by his father David in 1990.

“I learned everything from highly-skilled toolmakers. I’d often see two or three ways of doing something, and I’d pick the one that seemed to be the most effective,” Merry says. Today, the company combines moldmaking with general engineering services, manufacturing components for the medical, aerospace and automotive industries.

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The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Mold Technologies Division has set the schedule of its joint session with the SPE Injection Molding Division. Attendees at ANTEC 2019, which will be held March 18-21 in Detroit, Michigan, can hear about new developments in mold and molding technologies by joining the session on Tuesday afternoon, March 19, from 2-5:30 p.m. in the Nicolet Room of the Marriott Detroit Renaissance Hotel and Conference Center. Check the ANTEC website for up-to-date schedules and locations.

In addition to Keynote Speaker Matt Melonio, president of Providence Texture, who will speak about laser ablation for the mold industry, the lineup of papers that will be presented during the joint ANTEC session are as follows:

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