Canadian Plastics

Canadian moldmakers among the best: Lirette

In a wide-ranging presentation to the CPIA Mould Makers Conference this fall, Jerry Lirette concluded: Canadian and U.S. moldmakers are among the best in the world for consistent quality; Canadians ...

December 1, 1999   Canadian Plastics



In a wide-ranging presentation to the CPIA Mould Makers Conference this fall, Jerry Lirette concluded:

Canadian and U.S. moldmakers are among the best in the world for consistent quality;

Canadians should explore more export markets, among them Mexico and Asia;

the growth of hot runner molds will outpace that of conventional molds.

If you’re looking for markets that will experience growth in tooling, look for areas with high GDP growth and low per capita consumption of plastics,” he says. This suggests certain Asian countries, such as Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Mexico is another market that offers good opportunities. “Not very many moldmakers have tried the Mexican market, but the ones that have, have been successful, especially if they are specialized,” he notes.

There is considerable trade within the NAFTA countries in plastic products, says Lirette. His figures show the U.S. trade surplus in manufactured plastic products with Mexico is growing, while in molds, the U.S. has a negative trade balance. The value of molds imported to the U.S. tripled between 1989 and 1994.

WATCH FOR HOT RUNNER GROWTH

Lirette also points out one trend in plastic consumption that you should consider when planning business strategy. He states that engineering resins are growing at a much faster rate than commodity plastics. Because of the higher cost of these resins, and the fact that their threshold for regrind is generally lower, they tend to require hot runner molds.

“This really indicates there will be a continuing trend for hot runner molds. Hot runner molds now probably account for less than one-quarter of the market, but they have significant growth potential,” he predicts.

CANADIANS CAN COMPETE

Moldmakers in Canada have a solid reputation to bring to potential customers, says Lirette. “In my experience, the countries that consistently produce high quality molds are Germany, the U.S. and Canada. The U.S. and Canada are even more in tune to the advantages building molds with cycle time improvements in mind.

“The molds are not only built well, they’re built with cycle times in mind.”

This reputation equips Canadian moldmakers to compete for contracts among the quality conscious multinational companies. “In most export markets,” says Lirette, “there are two quality levels — those molds bought on the basis of price, and those bought by companies looking to maintain a certain level of quality. Canadians certainly can be competitive in that high-quality environment.” CPL


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