27-03-23 Mould industry trends
A “nosedive” in fourth-quarter backlog and profitability for mold builders and plastics processors foreshadows some of the main challenges the plastics industry faces this year, according to the annual Business Forecast Report . - *American markets
Identifying trends and challenges that will significantly impact mold manufacturers in 2023, this benchmarking report provides an in-depth analysis of the trajectory of the US mold-building industry, AMBA explained.
Key findings include:
Competition continues to entice plastics processors and challenge the mold-building industry.
While there was a resurgence in reshoring last year — 65% of plastics processors cited reshoring efforts — this year marks a returning consideration for Chinese suppliers. The percentage of plastics processors relocating work back to the United States dropped by 10%.
Although China was mentioned by 72% of those sourcing tooling, Canada, Japan, Portugal, and Taiwan were also cited as notable production tooling countries of origin.
Mold builders face an uphill battle, with 80% of plastics processors believing that US vendors are increasing pricing and 44% expecting US vendor lead times to increase.
Plastics processors cite inflation and increasing employee wages as hurting profitability, which is leading more processors to consider automation and efficiency.
Mold builders also face challenges in profitability, cost pressure, and workforce development. According to the Wage and Salary Report, only 2% of mold builders don’t plan to hire for an open position this year.
Plans by mold manufacturers to combat challenges include continuous improvement efforts, personnel development, and investing in new or updated equipment.
While workforce development remains the number-one challenge for US mold builders, “it continued to shrink this year in response to the growing threat of other varied challenges.”
(REPORT DATA: 83 US-based mold manufacturers during Business Forecast Study conducted from November 2022 to January 2023.)
At the end we could "suffer" from the same pain in European markets (skilled staff, efficiency, competition);
What one should also consider, would be the AI effects in short and long term;
Companies will have to face new challenges, and to mitigate risks, make new investments that by one hand could absorve the social impact of having many valid citizens available in market in some few years,
and on another hand to prepare tech and processes to absorve the shock of AI.
Imagine if AI take over the moulding sector CAD/ CAM systems and machines, in terms of creation, control, prediction, decision making, and info.
As a simplistic scenario :
"draw me a part that is hexagonal but has 1mm edges that would fit in a box...."
"program a milling sequence for this part, from roughing to finishing using this available tools ...."
"start milling with available machines from 24:00, consider that machine A, and B are occupied...."
"return the number of hours needed for each process, calculate the costs accordingly"
"predict the delivery time with available transporters, and report it directly to customer, refer constraints with available data"
"calculate SOP and EOP according the polymer available and machines A, B, C..."
So in our sector everyone should be question in a fast pace, what really next scenarios will look like.
At the end its not a matter of "IF" but rather "WHEN".
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