They are united by the same concerns and consider cooperation as one of the solutions to make the sector stronger. Mouldmakers from Germany and Portugal got together on June 16, in a webinar that sought to be a forum for sharing ideas and opinions on the present and future of the industry.

Sponsored by ISTMA, and moderated by its president, Bob Williamson, this session was organized by National Associations: VDWF and VDMA (Germany) and CEFAMOL (Portugal). 'Portugal meets Germany' was the designation of the webinar attended by a virtual audience of more than sixty people, representing companies from different regions of the world. 

Portugal was represented by Joaquim Menezes (Iberomoldes), Nuno Silva (Moldit), and José Carlos Gomes (GLN). On the German side, invited speakers were Andre Osterhues (Mueller-Tecnik), Jens Lüdtke (Tebis Consulting), Hartmut Frerichs (WDoose) and Thorsten Hickmann (Eisenhuth).

According to the discussion and its main topics, it is clear that the situation in both countries is quite similar. The downturn in European economies is a common concern, but the conviction is that, as long as trust and confidence are maintained, manufacturers – despite being competitors – will be able to join efforts and build a more cohesive industry, gaining critical mass and competitiveness.

Summing up the ideas of companies from both countries, Bob Williamson, made available the intervention of ISTMA, in order to draw the attention of European policy makers to the strategic importance of our industrial sector: "if nothing is done, manufacturing runs risk of disappearing in Europe. We're talking about protecting manufacturing and not just the tooling industry."

During the session, several topics were analyzed and discussed, such as the challenges and opportunities in the automotive industry heading new engines and models, the development of toolmaking value chain, new technologies, among others. The need for European mouldmakers to have an "aligned strategy" was highlighted. This will guarantee sector's competitiveness and sustainability, in order to face competition from other regions of the world.

Regarding the future, the relevance of the mouldmaking value chain was also highlighted, demonstrating what is possible to achieve, not only in production, but also in design and product development. As mentioned by the participants "we have to assert ourselves, not by the price, but by differentiation".

ISTMA's moderation was supported by representatives of National Associations: Manuel Oliveira (CEFAMOL), Alfred Zedtwitz (VDMA) and Ralf Duerrwaechter (VDWF).