Asian Moldmakers Serve Notice

According to Matthew Coffey, president of the National Tooling & Machining Association, the Chairman of the 3rd International Conference on Mould and Die Technology, held in Taipei, Taiwan last fall, put the world (specifically Europe and the United States) on alert that their days of dominating mold and die production are numbered. For the non-Asian delegates to this conference, I imagine these remarks were not well received.

Columns From: 4/1/1996 Modern Machine Shop, ,

According to Matthew Coffey, president of the National Tooling & Machining Association, the Chairman of the 3rd International Conference on Mould and Die Technology, held in Taipei, Taiwan last fall, put the world (specifically Europe and the United States) on alert that their days of dominating mold and die production are numbered.

For the non-Asian delegates to this conference, I imagine these remarks were not well received. After all, when one's host basically declares war on your industry and livelihood a little indignation is in order.

Of course some attendees from "outside" might blow-off such remarks as so much bravado and simply carry on. After all, the Pacific rim is far away and they couldn't possibly be a threat to mold and die makers in the U.S. and Europe.

If one forgets historyit repeats. History shows the prudent reaction to this gauntlet throwing by FADMA (the Federation of Asian Die and Mould Associations) is to take them very seriously. Several nations are part of this association: China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia. Experience in automobile, machine tools, electronics and some other "safe" industries, has demonstrated that these folks are certainly capable of carrying out a manufacturing threat.

To me, what's surprising about this federation's message isn't the fact of their plans for world dominance in mold and die production, but rather that they chose to tell us about it. Such notification can be considered a sign of supreme confidence or a mistake.

Either way, there is an opportunity to do something about it before it's too late. U.S. and European mold and die makers have two choices. They can hunker down and watch these threats become reality or fight them by continuing to upgrade equipment, train personnel and improve processes. This will be a battle of global competitiveness and the sides are being chosen.

It's important to understand the global ramifications mold and die manufacturing faces. Mold and die making is no longer exclusively a local or regional enterprise. If mold and die makers didn't know who the competition was before, there should be no doubt about that now! 

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