Portuguese Engineering & Tooling Cluster From Portugal into the world: Tooling industry enhances its profile

Editor: Alexander Stark

Portugal — The Portuguese Engineering & Tooling Cluster has an experience of more than six decades on the international market, contributing its extensive value chain to support global clients in more than 80 countries. Innovation and technology-based know-how and ability to provide quality services and reliable solutions as a “one-stop-shop” (from design to product), are some of the key features of the Portuguese market.

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(Source: Public Domain / Pixabay )

Since 2010, under the common brand “Engineering & Tooling from Portugal”, the Portuguese Engineering & Tooling Cluster (Pool-Net) has increased its production and exports be over 100 percent. The tooling sector comprises more than 500 companies and employs more than 11.000 people. In 2018, the Portuguese tooling industry exported goods for a value of approximately 700 million euros, ensuring the country's 3rd rank in terms of production of plastic injection moulds in Europe. The Portuguese Engineering & Tooling Cluster is a global reference in these industries, which is reflected by the staggering export share of 90 percent of total tooling production to markets like Germany, France, Spain, the UK, the USA and many more.

When new developments are made, the mould making and plastics industries play a critical role. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the companies within the cluster reinforced their capacity by exploring the development of an extended action plan based on innovation and people qualification allowing for new solutions in design, product development and manufacturing. The companies invested 50 million euros on Research & Development projects.

Using competitive processes as well as advanced and green materials, supported by zero-defect manufacturing approaches and Industry 4.0 technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Additive Manufacturing, Simulations/Digital Twin, Life Cycle Assessment and High-Performance Computing, the companies are exploring the new opportunities and challenges concerning digital and green trends, and adapt their skills and technological competences accordingly.

The Portuguese Engineering & Tooling Industries have been developing an advance and diversified their value chain and focus on cooperation to provide solutions to markets such as automotive, aeronautics & aerospace, medical devices, packaging and electronics.

The technological cooperation is organised in projects including:

Tooling 4G — The Advanced Tools for Smart Manufacturing project involves 20 companies and ten training organisations (RTO) and Universities. Its aim is to explore Industry 4.0 technologies, Collaborative Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Additive Manufacturing and Zero Defect Production.

S4 Plast — The Sustainable Plastics & Advanced Solutions project involves nine companies and six RTOs and Universities. This cluster is organised by Pool-Net and explores the Design for Circularity, Sustainability and Added Value, New Advanced and Multifunctional Polymeric Materials, Advanced Production Technologies as well as the Intelligent Integration of Products & Processes.

PTcentroDiH — The Digital Innovation Hub for Portugal Centre Region is coordinated by Pool-Net together with three other Clusters (Tice.PT; Sustainable Habitat, Inovcluster), three Universities (Coimbra, Aveiro and UBI); six polytechnic institutes (Leiria, Guarda, Tomar, Viseu, Coimbra, Castelo Branco); eight RTOs (Centimfe, Itcons, CTCV, Aibili, BLC3, IT, Aemiteq and IPN) and supported by the Portuguese Commission for Regional Development (CCDRC). The project aims at advancing the digitalisation process of the industry and public entities within the next seven years.

In order to constantly improve the qualification of the people employed in its industry, the Portuguese Engineering & Tooling Cluster launched a pilot initiative at national level to train and qualify their industrial workers. Due to its multi-sectoral impact the cluster functioned as a demonstrator for the overall European industrialisation process.

Since Germany is the most important export market for the Portuguese Engineering & Tooling Cluster, the companies are organising their participation at two important trade fairs under the common brand “Engineering & Tooling from Portugal”. The companies within the cluster will participate at Fakuma in Friedrichshafen, Germany, and at the medical technology trade fair Compamed which will be held in Düsseldorf, Germany, from 15 to 18 November 2021.

On a global level the cluster wants to demonstrate its capacity in the form of webinars, B2B events, cooperation agreements, open houses, international conferences for new business opportunities and cooperation.

One of the events planned by the cluster is the Mouldsevent 2021 which will take place at Marinha Grande, Portugal, from 21 to 26 November 2021. Participants of the event will have the opportunity to meet the Cluster stakeholders, identify new business opportunities and promote innovative projects. This bi-annual event will involve face-to-face and online activities, making sure that as many people as possible can participate.

(Source: Pool-Net)

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