Moulding Expo 2017 Portugal: What happens when two winners meet

Editor: Rosemarie Stahl

When you invite 50 journalists on a trip to Portugal, you are planning big. In this case Messe Stuttgart is preparing for this year's Moulding Expo. And so far, prospects are sunny.

Will Messe Stuttgart be able to attract more visitors than last year? In May 2017, we will be able to find out.
Will Messe Stuttgart be able to attract more visitors than last year? In May 2017, we will be able to find out.
(Source: Landesmesse Stuttgart)

The question, why Messe Stuttgart chose Portugal as a location for their press event, is easy to answer: According to ISTMA, the International Special Tooling & Machining Association, Portugal is 9th on the list of the biggest global players in the tool, die and mould industry, with a production worth € 607 mn. In Europe they are 4th biggest producer after Germany, Italy and France. With an export value of € 581 mn they are third in Europe.

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It goes even further than that: Most of Portuguese tool and mould makers are based in only two small areas, one in Marinha Grande and one in Aliveira de Azeméis. Togehter those places are home to 450 companies with around 8,500 workers.

Most of the Portuguese produce does not stay in Portugal: Over 90% of the moulds for plastic injection are exported to over 80 countries world wide. Since 2010 the export increased by 92%. As a whole, the Portuguese production increased by 78% in the past 6 years.

When you ask Portuguese tool makers, why Portugal is so successful, they answer with two simple words: trust and experience. The history of Portuguese tool and mould making started in 1944 and export started with the first mould sold to England in 1955. For the last 60 years, Portuguese companies have gained Know-How bringing them advantages compared to younger markets.

Still one may wonder how so many companies can co-exist close together, sometimes next door. But this closeness also leads to a perfect exchange situation. If one manufacturer finds a solution to a particular production requirement, all other companies can adapt quickly. At the same time, companies put an effort in providing training programmes for employees – something that can be dealt with a lot easier by multiple companies compared to the effort a single mould maker would have to undertake. Forthermore, employees get similar salary everywhere.