A Korean-funded support facility for the die and mold industry will “reshape” Philippine manufacturing, according to Science Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena.
“When in full swing, we will see drastic changes in our ability to compete in the global market and make lives better for many Filipinos,” said Dela Pena at the groundbreaking of the Mold Technology Support Center (MTSC) in Gen. Trias near the Cavite Export Processing Zone last week.
MTSC may be one important intervention that will help streamline the metals industry.
Dela Pena said a pre-feasibility study of the MTSC project conducted by the Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) and the Philippine Die and Mold Association (PDMA) made it “clear that the mold companies are in need of government intervention in terms of keeping a stable supply of trained manpower, technology upgrading and penetrating existing and identifying potential supply chain networks.”
The MTSC was designed with these requirements in mind, Dela Pena said.
South Korea is funding the 750-billion won ($6.3 million equivalent) facility that will be operated and owned by the MIRDC, an agency of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), in partnership with the PDMA.
The die and mold is a basic supply chain component and can be considered a backbone of small and medium enterprise (SME) and industrial development. It provides important complement to other manufacturing activities that largely utilize plastics and metals as raw materials for the production of finished goods and for various industry applications.
“Through the MTSC, the local mold industry will have the opportunity to develop the most needed human resources, to contribute to the advancement of the Philippine manufacturing industry,” Dela Pena said, adding it will contribute to industrial cooperation between the Philippines and South Korea.
The MTSC’s Korean partners are the Korea Institute for the Advancement of Technology and the Korea Association of Machinery Industry (KOAMI).
Companies can also use the facility to train the technical people required by the die and mold industry as this a specialized technology usually not taught in colleges except at the Technological University of the Philippines, in technical and vocational three-year diploma courses and at MIRDC’s Die and Mould Center at the DOST complex in Bicutan, Taguig.
“The manufacturing industry, once they have the capability to make their own die and mold, can lessen its dependence on imports, so this is important for import substitution,” said Dr. Agustin Fudolig, MIRDC deputy executive director for Research and Development.
He said the MSTC will produce a pool of trained people to be readily absorbed by the industry. “This is a half-way house from college to industry,” he said.
With the $6.3 million grant, KOAMI will provide hi-tech CNC machines and trainors/experts that will train thousands of Filipino workers (both here and in Korea) on CNC machining, mold designing, and production of various dies and molds.
While this grant will run only for four years, the local cooperating parties led by the DOST-MIRDC have entered into a 25-year MOA in order to sustain the MTSC as the first mold industry-based excellence center in the country.
The establishment of the MTSC will benefit most the local manufacturing industry through the “improvement of mold industry-related skills and the intensification of cutting-edge technology utilization.”
Molds and dies are customized to make products from simple paper clips to high-tech materials. Molds are used to make products that are hollow in the middle . A die is a specialized tool used in manufacturing to stamp or press materials in order to cut or shape solid materials.
The MTSC can make car parts like plastic bumpers, dashboards, knobs and small metal parts consumer product parts like microwave ovens, laptop and cellphone cases, washing machines and the like, Dela Pena said in an interview.
It cuts across the manufacturing industry that require mold and die to produce semiconductors and electronics.
Companies in die and mold make products that are everyday consumer products from toys to agricultural machinery,
There are about 170 tool and die firms in the country, mostly SMEs, currently providing inputs to key manufacturing activities of the automotive, electronics, appliance and other sectors. These are engaged in activities such as die casting and forging; electronics and semi-conductor tooling; metal stamping; and plastic, rubber, and packaging.