Category Archives: Moulding

Tool construction, pattern and mould making for talented young people

Some 14,000 visitors attended Moulding Expo in 2015 to discover everything about the 620 exhibitors, their products and services. However, the varied accompanying programme also attracted many skilled workers to Stuttgart. One of the focal themes at Moulding Expo 2015 is once again in the spotlight this year: qualifications and further training.

Moulding Expo 2015

“Well qualified talented young people safeguard the future of the industry,” explains Ralf Dürrwächter. People are what make the difference to the Association of German Tool and Mould Makers’ Managing Director. “Only companies that invest in trainees as well as in technology will gain a competitive edge.” The association has therefore taken up the cause of qualification. “We want to roll up our sleeves with the sector so that tool construction and mould making remains a globally renowned brand in Germany.” His colleague from the Federal Association for Pattern and Moulding Making regards the trade fair as an major opportunity for the sector: “We are thrilled that Moulding Expo is focussing on apprenticeship professions – as it did two years ago – and is hoping to attract students back to the trade fair. We will take advantage of this platform to make our vocational trades better known and thus inspire suitably qualified young people about tool construction, pattern and mould making.”

Training course at Moulding Expo
Florian Niethammer, Project Manager responsible for Moulding Expo, explains how the subject of training and education will be presented at Messe Stuttgart: “With the slogan “Get your future in shape!”, together with our partner associations, we will be showcasing the most important apprenticeship professions in tool construction, pattern and mould making in Hall 4 on Stand B35. School classes will have an opportunity to discuss their future with trainers and apprentices there.” And to give the idea a more practical edge, there will also be guided tours around the trade fair. A “guide” from the sector will take a group and, after a short introduction on the training stand, will accompany them around the trade fair to discover what the industry has to offer.

Presentation of study opportunities within the industry
Young people interested in finding further education courses at the forthcoming Moulding Expo will also be spoilt for choice – for instance on the Schmalkalden University stand. From the summer semester of 2017 onwards, engineers and technicians can attend a course in Additive Manufacturing Processes and Rapid Technologies over two semesters whilst working. It is offered by the university in conjunction with the Association of German Tool and Mould Makers (VDWF), the Institute for Toolless Fabrication (IwF) at the University of Applied Sciences Aachen and the Chair for Manufacturing Technology at the University of Duisburg-Essen as training partners.

“There is huge demand by industry for qualified employees in 3D technology,” explains Gerd Witt, Professor for Production Processes and Machine Tools at the University of Duisburg. “However, up to now there has been no training and no standards.” The new course combines the teaching experiences of the three universities with input from business. Thematically, it is structured on the basis of the main material branches of additive manufacturing, that is metal and plastic, but is also supplemented by a focus on application-orientated design. “Tool construction and mould making, as well as pattern making, are the pioneers in this technology,” explains Gerd Witt. “It is therefore essential for us to present the new course and teaching opportunities at Moulding Expo.”

It is hoped to showcase the focus of the course at the trade fair by using the components on which the university is currently working. “We will possibly also find new ideas at Moulding Expo, which can be realised using this process or even how it behaves with other materials,” states Gerd Witt.

Moulding Expo – International trade fair for tool construction, pattern and mould making
Moulding Expo focuses on tool, pattern and mould making with injection moulding, die-cast, casting, punching and forming tools, as well as various pattern-making and prototyping processes. Components and accessories, machine tools, processing tools, measuring technology and special machines, software, systems and services for tool construction, pattern and moulding making complete the range of exhibits. Technical forums and special exhibitions round off the diverse programme. 620 exhibitors attended the first exhibition in 2015, which was visited by 14,000 trade visitors.

Messe Stuttgart is the organiser of Moulding Expo. It is supported by the Federal Association of Model and Mould Making (MF), the Association of German Mechanical Engineering and Plant Construction (VDMA), the Association of German Tool and Mould Makers (VDWF), the Society of German Machine Tool Factories (VDW) and the International Special Tooling and Machining Association (ISTMA).

The next Moulding Expo will be held from 30 May to 2 June 2017.

Survey results confirm MEX success

Strong début in Stuttgart: Moulding Expo performs above average in the official survey results. 78% of the exhibitors surveyed rate the event as “very good/good”, 90% would recommend MEX and 83% consider the quality of professional visitors as “very good/good”. “These are superb figures, which are also being currently confirmed in our conversations with the exhibitors”, states Florian Niethammer, Senior Project Manager of Moulding Expo. “Over 100 exhibitors have already booked their stand for 2017. As an event organiser, we are delighted that our organisation, date and frequency, as well as the location of Stuttgart, received great praise and thus contributed to the success of the event.” Moreover, 74% of the exhibitors are certain that MEX will establish itself as a permanent fixture and continue to grow.

Metal production process for dental crown
Metal production process for dental crown

Visitors: Industry needs this new trade fair
The satisfaction of the exhibitors is also reflected in the visitor survey. 70% want to come back again and 83% would recommend the trade fair. “The feedback that the market needs a new trade fair with the right exhibitors caught our attention”, states Niethammer. “An important unique selling point of our event is the high number of tool, pattern and mould makers at 39%. A concept which has proved a success and which we will continue to pursue.”

In total, around 14,000 visitors (excluding synergy visitors from Control) travelled from 52 countries to Stuttgart to be at the première. 31% of visitors travelled over 100 kilometres to Moulding Expo and 21% over 300 kilometres. “As a result, MEX managed to be certified as an international trade fair right from the get-go. The certification according to FKM, the Society for Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Figures, is an important seal of approval”, according to the project manager. 75% of visitors came from industry and 36% from the middle, higher or top management level of companies. A third of the visitors came from smaller companies (up to 50 employees), a third from medium-sized companies (up to 500 employees) and a third from large companies (1,000 and more employees) – a very homogeneous composition.

“For us, it was also important that at our trade fair the industrial buyers and the suppliers of tool, pattern and mould making exchanged information and ideas directly”, states Florian Niethammer. “We succeeded with the forum of the German Association of Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics.” The participants of the BME Forum, including several decision-makers from important large companies, were brought together with the exhibitors of Moulding Expo during guided tours of the trade fair. Niethammer also rated the concept for the presentation of apprenticeship and in-service training in tool, pattern and mould making as a success. Under the title “MEX: Training 4.0”, the associations and companies in Hall 4 provided an interactive presentation of the wide range of apprenticeship and training options in the industry.

But the first Moulding Expo managed to not only entertain the young talent – it also provided a stage for a pioneer of tool construction and mould making: Karl-Heinz Möller. In a ceremony during the exhibitor evening the industry awarded the 93-year-old publisher with a lifetime achievement award.

MEX 2017: Preparations in full swing
According to Florian Niethammer, Moulding Expo still has development potential in its international alignment. In 2015, 25% of the exhibitors came from abroad, mainly from the neighbouring countries in Europe. This focus is to be retained. “We don’t want unreasonable growth, but we specifically want to open more markets together with our partners”, states the MEX Project Manager. Every new exhibitor must fit into the concept of the trade fair. “The quality of the products and services on offer thus remains the decisive criterion.”

The next Moulding Expo will take place in May 2017. The exact date will be announced in autumn 2015.