Communication makes a good industry association

Association of German tool and mould makers President Prof. Dr Thomas SeulAt a recently held press conference in Lichtenfels, Germany at the premises of Hofmann Innovation Group, Association of German tool and mould makers President Prof. Dr Thomas Seul said, when asked about what makes the association special: “what distinguishes us is that we are as we are.”

Today, Vdwf has 232 member companies (60% toolmakers, 40% sponsors) all across Germany, which represents a whopping 50% growth over the last three years. But this growth did not just happen, it is the result of hard work, dedication to its members and the industry, as well as a range of networking events, workshops and initiatives.

According to Seul it is not just about the number of member companies which makes for a good industry association, but intense communication among all members, media and the Vdwf. Moreover, the association supports its members through a range of initiatives, workshops, networking events and joint booths at relevant exhibitions like Moulding Expo, Fakuma or Blechexpo, and aims to strengthen the toolmaking sector, to increase its national presence and to internationally promote the brand “made in Germany”.

Seul emphasised that – while order books in Germany are well filled – internationalisation is one of the key future challenges for tool and mould makers. Companies have to increasingly “think global, act local”, find local partners in booming markets such as Mexico or the US. Other challenges and future topics for the tool and mould making sector are flexible manufacturing processes and flexible tools that can be adapted to different products or individual features. Therefore, the tool and mould maker has to work closely with his customers. He emphasised that there is increasingly less in-house knowledge at tool, die and mould makers’ customers, so the toolmaker has to view himself as the solution provider, working closely with his customers to make their operations as efficient as possible.

Furthermore, cooperative manufacturing will be increasingly important in future, Seul emphasised, as well as the “intelligent mould”; the gap between injection moulding machine makers and mould makers has to be closed. “Industry 4.0 starts on the shopfloor,” Seul said.


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