Markets

World of Tooling – Spotlight Italy, Spain and Portugal

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Spanish tool manufacturing and the tools

Tools and dies are the third-most important commodity group in the Spanish production industry, followed by automobiles and airplane components. Most of the Spanish tool and die industry is located in the east near the bases of the automotive industry in Saragossa, Barcelona and Valencia. Within the production of tools and dies, a narrow focus lies on injection moulds. It is notable that most of the sheet and solid metal-forming tools are exported to other markets. A growth of 84% was registered in 2013 with recorded production of €504bn, while in 2010, this figure was €365bn. In 2013, tools and dies worth €320m and weighing 27 tons were exported. These consisted of €222m of solid and sheet metal-forming tools, €86m of injection moulds and €12m of die-casting moulds. Among imports, Spain registered a total value of €328m, consisting of €145m of solid and sheet metal-forming tools, €167m of injection moulds and €16m of die-casting moulds. The Spanish tool trade with foreign markets for 2014 is illustrated in Figure 4. The largest trade partners for importing injection moulds are China, Portugal and Germany. Injection moulds are mostly exported to France, Mexico and Germany. The largest trade partners for importing sheet metal and massive forming tools are Germany, China and Japan, while they are exported mainly to Germany, the United Kingdom and China. In contrast to Portugal, which focuses on injection moulds and the production of tools in corporate networks, most Spanish tool and die manufacturers lack distinguishing features in order to be competitive on an international level. Although the development potential is rated low, some Spanish tool and die manufactures are also capable of exporting tools with a medium level of complexity and quality.

Portuguese tool manufacturing and the tools

The Portuguese tool and die industry focuses on injection moulds, which can be seen in its trade figures. The total production in 2013 was worth €561m. Since 2010, this value has increased by 62% from its original value of €347m. In total, 671 tons of tools and dies worth €526m were exported in 2013 of which €11m were solid and sheet metal-forming tools, €490m injection moulds and €25m die-casting moulds. At the same time, Portugal imported tools and dies worth €140m, including €17m of solid and sheet metal-forming tools, €119m of injection moulds and €4m of die-casting moulds. The Portuguese trade of tools with foreign markets for 2014 is illustrated in Figure 4. The largest trade partners for importing injection moulds are Spain, France and Germany. Injection moulds are mostly exported to Spain, Germany and France. The largest trade partners for importing sheet metal and massive forming tools are the USA, Spain and China, while they are exported mainly to Spain, France and Brazil.

Due to the combination of low wages and close proximity to the European automotive centres, Portugal has established itself as an important supplier of injection moulds. According to evaluations, between 75% and 85% of the tool and die manufacturers in the country are located in the three biggest centres in Marinha Grande, Oliveira de Azeméis and Leiria, which collectively make up for 400 to 600 of the tool and die manufacturers in the country. These manufacturers were also supported by the government by means of subsidies. During the economic crisis, these subsidies were reduced, which forced many tooling companies to shut down. However, in recent years, growth in the sector has been noticed. The industry consists of small and very small manufacturers. More than 90% have less than 50 employees. In addition, the network structures enable a faster processing of larger tool and die volumes at medium to high complexity and quality.

Sources:

  • ISTMA, OECD, Comtrade Database

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