Five predictions for the moldmaking industry for the new year


Predicting what the moldmaking industry will do in 2015 is a bit like trying to predict the weather - only worse! However, business in the industry seems much more certain heading into 2015 than they did a year ago. That said, here are my predictions for the moldmaking industry.

1) Business will pick up even further. Many of the moldmakers I've spoken with in the last few months tell me their backlogs are increasing, and they have work well into next year. I don't see that slowing down. Large OEMs continue to have a lot of cash sitting on the sidelines, and they seem willing to start spending it. The only uncertainty looming is Europe's outlook and whether or not China's slowdown becomes the norm. The automotive industry, as well as the medical and packaging (food/beverage and cosmetics) industries, appears to be very strong. Industrial products, especially electronic and electrical components, are good industries for molds for thick-walled components that use engineering materials.

2) 3D printing or "Additive Manufacturing" will continue to draw the attention of OEMs as a way to reduce the need for traditional prototype molds. Part iterations can be made quickly and cost effectively using 3D printed cores and cavities that can provide more than enough sample parts in the spec'd material. More mold shops will eventually stop resisting this trend and expand their offerings through 3D printing, especially as the build areas become larger and materials - both metals and plastics - become more varied.

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