Canadian Plastics

Moldmaking Report: Off-Shore Molds Spur Mold Repair Business

By Trisha Richard   



Canadian mold builders say they have noticed a spike in repair requests, while demands for manufacturing have been lacking....

Canadian mold builders say they have noticed a spike in repair requests, while demands for manufacturing have been lacking.

Progressive Tools, a division of Progressive Molded Products Ltd., designs and manufactures plastic injection molds. Since opening more than 30 years ago, the company has also been servicing existing molds. As of late, their requests for repairs have significantly increased. Rudi Degen, general manager, attributes this mainly to companies sourcing “offshore” to cut mold costs. He warns that choosing quantity over quality could prove to be an expensive error for some customers in the long run though. “They’re buying tools from China, and Chinese tools often have lower quality standards…Initially, their cost will be lower, but due to the quality difference, at the very end of the tool’s cycle, it will end up costing them more because it needs more maintenance.” The slowdown in mold building contracts hasn’t devastated business profits he says, because, even though each repair generates “lower dollar amounts, repairs are very frequent.”

“We probably do 25% repairs now,” says Tony Grossi, vice president of operations at Delmo Injection Molds. “People are not investing in new programs and new tooling anymore, so our customers are just trying to prolong the life of their tools.” Delmo has operated since 1985 and designs and builds injection molds. The company’s first couple of years were focused primarily on manufacturing, but soon after they realized the demand for repairs was lucrative. Grossi says repairs have less risks, higher profit levels, and take less time because the engineering is already completed. Nevertheless, he adds, “we don’t actually go out looking for repairs. We take them to open the door to potential customers.”

However, the repairs trend doesn’t apply to everyone in the industry. Rob Fazackerley, vice president of sales and marketing at Garrtech Inc., says in blow molding, the molds are being built better every day due to better equipment. Because of the product’s longevity, companies are more likely to replace the mold after ten years, rather than repair it. “We don’t do a great deal of repairs. If it was 5% of our business, I’d be surprised,” he says. “Typically with blow molds, what happens in the industrial side of business is often the only time you’ll see a repair is if there’s a catastrophe. Typically, the molds outlast the parts.”

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But Degen says that the Canadian mold industry should be concerned. “From people I’ve spoken to, sales have dropped a lot in North America due to outsourcing.”

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