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A new resource-planning tool by the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) will let members share their surplus or deficit capacity, allowing mold makers to connect and solve production bottlenecks.
The AMBA Work Capacity Tool, launched Aug. 2, already has resulted in some members from the pilot test group receiving work, reported Kym Conis, AMBA Managing Director. The launch comes at a time when mold manufacturers industrywide are collectively at about 70% capacity, according to AMBA’s 2022 Business Forecast Report. Mold-making activity was growing earlier this year, partly driven by new orders and reflected in a two-point January gain, according to one index.
The AMBA tool works like this: Mold manufacturers can log open capacity over a 90-day period in more than 50 areas of operation. Members can search for open capacity with the “Search Work Capacity” button on AMBA’s homepage, refining searches by date, areas of operation, and location. Matching results show a company’s address, services, and contact information. Services that can be listed include three-, four-, and five-axis milling; EDM; polishing; design; special machines; and more. Companies can connect quickly through a linked email. The embedded video offers a tutorial.
“Although AMBA is able to track which companies have posted open capacity, it does not facilitate an introduction between companies,” Conis explained. “Contact information is shared alongside the open-capacity posting so that member companies can reach out to one another directly.”
Members are encouraged to update their capacity regularly — every 30 days, for instance. The tool is open to all AMBA members in good standing, Conis explained, with no grace period for new members whose dues are fully paid.
As more AMBA members begin using the work capacity tool, Conis said, “AMBA will solicit and encourage feedback and track its impact on members’ capacity.”
The tool has been under development since the 2021 AMBA conference in Grand Rapids, MI, said AMBA President Don Dumoulin of Precise Tooling Solutions. Members sought “a tool where individual shops could share needs or wants of machining, polishing, and EDM — all of the things it takes to make a tool in today’s environment” and that would “level out the capacity for all of our shops,” he said. “It’s the best way to make our industry strong in the face of global competition.”
For more information about the association, go to the AMBA website.
About the Author(s)
Geoff Giordano is a tech journalist with more than 30 years’ experience in all facets of publishing. He has reported extensively on the gamut of plastics manufacturing technologies and issues, including 3D printing materials and methods; injection, blow, micro and rotomolding; additives, colorants and nanomodifiers; blown and cast films; packaging; thermoforming; tooling; ancillary equipment; and the circular economy. Contact him at [email protected].
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