In recent years, the mold industry has not been as easy to do as before. Fierce competition has led to a decline in mold order prices. Some people have chosen to leave the industry. As a molder who has struggled in the mold industry for more than ten years, I am deeply touched by the evolution of these years. I will do some simple analysis here. I hope to be able to tell everyone, especially newcomers who have just been engaged in or will be engaged in the mold industry. 

First of all, I have to mention that mold is the mother of industry, and mold can make products reach mass production, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. It is an industry that cannot be eliminated. Especially in the current era of rapid development of China’s industrialization process, the mold industry is still a sunrise industry, and it is still an industry full of opportunities!

The problem is that China’s mold industry mainly processes low-end to mid-range molds. There are not many high-end molds. I believe that in the near future, China’s rise will be unstoppable, and the transformation of manufacturing industry will also be unstoppable. The same is true for our mold industry. . After all, it is impossible to make first-class products without first-class molds.

The future development of molds mainly has the following development directions:

  • 1. High precision. Can the dimensional accuracy be achieved? The best done in the past was Japan and Germany. With decades of continuous learning and innovation, a large number of companies specializing in high-precision mold manufacturing have emerged in our Chinese mold industry. To make high-precision molds, there are two main elements, one is equipment and the other is talents.
  • 2. High efficiency means high automation. With the popularization of various automation equipment that cooperate with mold production, and the improvement of the degree of intelligence of the internal standard parts of the mold, the efficiency of mold production is getting higher and higher, and it will develop towards a higher and better state. In this process, the requirements for mold designers will become higher and higher. At that time, mold designers must not only understand the automation equipment, but also participate in the design. In the future when the degree of mechanization is highly developed, the term general labor may also disappear. In the future factories, there are only three kinds of people: managers, technicians, and robots.
  • 3. New molds continue to progress with technological innovation. Many molds that were originally required to be very complicated and tortuous can become very simple. There are also many possible structures that were thought to be impossible. These are new opportunities and challenges for the mold industry. Specifically, they are opportunities and challenges for mold designers. Mold factories that master these new mold design and manufacturing technologies will have more initiative. Mould is always an industry that relies on technology and quality!
  • 4. The trend of product development and mold integration is also inevitable. This change is a change that can affect the manufacturing model more than the replacement of the all-round mold master by the assembly line. Simply put, it is the integration of mold design and product research and development into a new position, a brand-new position that can be responsible for the entire product from appearance to structure, to mold, to mold machining, mold production, and product assembly. Become the absolute core of manufacturing.
  • Most of the newcomers in the mold industry are fresh graduates majoring in molds, or graduates majoring in machinery. Relatively speaking, the degree of mold majoring still has some advantages, after all, I understand some mold knowledge and mechanical drawing. Newcomers to mold can be said to be the new blood of various positions in the mold industry. Without the supplement of new blood, this industry will not be able to operate reasonably. So what kind of work can mold newcomers do? How to avoid detours?

The 20-year Working Experience Sharing Of  Mold Engineer

1. Master mold fitter (assembly fitter, mold repair fitter)

This position was a generalist in the past, and the molds were basically made by them, but now the nature of this position has changed a lot. The specific parts machining has been subdivided into various machining positions, and no master fitter is responsible for it. Now it is basically subdivided into two positions, assembly fitter and mold repair fitter. Among them, the assembly fitter is mainly responsible for the assembly of new molds, flying molds, and test molds, while the mold repair fitter is mainly responsible for mold maintenance.

The skills to be mastered in this position are as follows:

  • 1. Machining machine operation: A qualified fitter should master the commonly used machine operations, mainly milling, grinding, turning, drilling, etc. Then there are flying molds and assembly skills. There are basically no shortcuts to these manual skills. Simply put, look more, ask more, and practice more. Of course, it is necessary to buy a book about fitter craftsmanship in advance. There are many practical things in it, and the master may not necessarily say it or is not the most correct one. For example: the skills and angles of sharpening the knife, the usage of wire taps, the reservation of screw holes, etc. It is much better to ask the master if you don’t understand, than to ask the master blindly. Generally, one or two months, most of the machine operation will be no problem. NS.
  • 2. Mold structure: This part belongs to the theoretical knowledge, and as a mold fitter, it is also necessary to understand. Of course, a fitter basically has a foundation in the principle of mold structure. . After 3-4 months, the more complicated mold structure should not be a big problem. At this time, it depends on what molds are in the factory. If they are all simple molds or molds with a structure, the things in the factory will basically be learned.
  • 3. Software: The general factory does not have this requirement for the fitter master, but there are also some factories that require the fitter to check the drawings by himself. Of course it is best to use it. In fact, it is easy to learn under simple operation.

2. Master of each machining post

This is currently the largest number of people in the mold industry, because in recent years, the mold industry has begun to popularize the mode of assembly line operation. In the past, the situation of a mold master fighting the world is gone, instead of a professional machining position. Common ones are: milling machines, grinders, lathes, wire cutting, electric sparks, CNC operation machines, polishing and so on.

These positions basically do not need to know too much mold technology, so if your goal is just a master in the current position, it is very simple, just practice more. Of course, it is necessary to understand the drawings. To sum up, it is two things: understand the parts drawing and pass the level manually. In these positions, it is normal to be a master in three months. You will be a master in about a year, and you will be a master in about two years. These positions are basically manual technicians, and it is difficult to improve their skills to a certain level.

3. CNC programming

Learning CNC programming is basically from a CNC machine background. But in any case, it is affirmative that you must first learn to operate the machine, because learning to operate the machine is not only the process of understanding the machine, but also when you are directly exposed to various problems and technical points, which is of great benefit to the subsequent programming learning. Generally, after operating the computer for about half a year, the software should be almost learned. At this time, there are several options.

  • 1. Go directly to a programming job, but this is unlikely, because there is still a gap between self-study and actual combat. It is generally difficult to pass the interview unless there is a relationship, but even so, it is to enter the company and talk to the master first. It takes a while to start doing things.
  • 2. Find a master to study. If you have a friend, you can live with him or nearby for a month or two, practice every day, and ask for advice. This is also good. You have to have strong self-control, otherwise the consequences will be unpredictable.
  • 3. Find a training class, you must have enough technical strength, and concentrate on training for one or two months. It should be said that this method is the best if the master’s ability is good. Although it costs some money, but this world is like this now, there is nothing for nothing. I want to learn technology quickly and well without spending money. , How can there be such a good thing. As long as you feel that the gain is more than the pay, it is worthwhile, after all, the time saved can be used to earn more income!

4.Mold design

The position of mold design should be the top technical position in the mold industry, because there are really too many things to master. Fortunately, the salary of this position is relatively high. Even if the level is average, it is equivalent to the middle of the machining master. The level of salary, so friends who want to enter this position do not have to worry, no matter what level of learning, there is still the company’s needs. However, it just takes longer.

Simply analyze the various abilities that a qualified mold designer needs:

1. Mechanical Drawing

This is the most basic, if you have learned it in school, it’s okay, just adapt to the drawing method of the mold major. If you don’t have a newcomer to learn this, it’s best to find someone to help you. In fact, the software is not difficult. There are only a few commonly used commands. If you practice more, you will be proficient. The key is the method.

2. Machining technology

The understanding of the machining technology is the same as that of the mold master, and even more in-depth. The main reason is that the influence of some outgoing machining technology on the design should also be taken into account. This is not concerned by the general mold master (mainly: A variety of heat treatment, electroplating, sandblasting, patterning, nitriding, surface high frequency, etc.. This ability is very important. If a mold designer does not understand machining, it is conceivable that the designed mold must have machining problems.

So, how do newcomers master all the mold machining techniques? In fact, it is not difficult to figure it out, because mold design’s understanding of machining is different from the standard of master fitter. The standard of master fitter is to be able to do things, to be accurate, to be able to do well, and to be fast. In fact, the understanding of mold design on the machining technology is only necessary to know the machining principle, working range, method, precision, time, cost, effect, etc. of this technology, and it does not need to be operated manually. Of course, it would be better to be able to do it yourself and to understand a bit more thoroughly, but it is not necessary. For example, heat treatment, we only need to know the result, effect, cost, and time, and we can ignore how to do it.

Just like those who can drive a car may not necessarily repair a car, newcomers who are aiming at mold design do not have to operate all the machines when learning the machining technology, especially the machines that are in charge of special personnel such as CNC, EDM, etc. What other people can’t touch is enough to watch, ask, think, and figure out the above items. If you study and observe with this purpose, at most six months to one year is basically enough.

3. Stamping and punching.

Theoretical knowledge of plastics, injection molding machines, products, etc.

The mold is made for the purpose of making the product, so the performance of the plastic must be understood, and then the injection molding machine. To seize the opportunity to see more test molds and learn more about the parameters of the injection molding machine, it is impossible if you don’t understand this. Going deeper is to solve the problem of mold trial and solve various product problems. Of course, these should not be rushed, just a little bit a day. It’s about the same if you can learn it in about half a year to a year.

4. Mold structure

In fact, this is the core thing, and the others are just auxiliary. So how does a new molder learn mold structure? First of all, information is essential. Those who are not prepared for any materials and rely entirely on the teacher’s instruction will never be able to design well. It’s too passive. Even if you are a mold fitter, you will spend several years in the position of assistant teacher before you can get to the master level, and it is difficult to achieve the position of team leader. Because of this passive personality habit being led by others, it is difficult to lead others. Only those who take the initiative, like those who take the initiative to control everything, can absorb more knowledge relatively quickly, and there will be more opportunities for future generations to take the initiative to take responsibility, and the chances of becoming a high position will naturally be much greater.

So how do you do it? As I just said, we must first prepare the information. Generally speaking, one book is not enough. Generally, you can find it like this: a book that talks about the basic structure of molds, and now there are many such books, it is not difficult to find. A book that talks about mold design process and principles. This kind of book occupies the mainstream. There is also a book that you don’t need to read for the time being, that is, the mold atlas. This can be read when you have a certain foundation, or you can read it when you have completed mold design. It is mainly used to improve the design level. It can be used in the early stage. Need not.

When reading a book, first look at the basic structure of the mold to see what the various parts are called and what functions they have. Then compare the company’s molds when you go to work. At the very least, you know all the things you can see in the company are called and you can use them. Soon, the basic mold structure was completed, usually about three days, and the worst is only one week. If you still don’t understand the basic structure of the mold for more than a month, you are basically confused.

Because there are many levels of difficulty in the mold structure, you can roughly look at it like this: the most basic two-plate mold, push the mold in 3-7 days. The principle of operation of three-platen mold, row position, and inclined roof: completed within one month. Hot runner and cylinder molds, if the company has them, should also be completed within one month. If there are other complicated things, you can study them slowly and don’t worry. Because these structures are already 90% of the structures. If the company’s molds are few and simple, the speed can be slowed down. If the structure of the mold has been understood to this extent, you can basically proceed to the next step.

5. Software capabilities

Some newcomers may have been exposed to these in school, learned some, and some may not know anything about it. It doesn’t matter. Once the direction is set, speed is of secondary importance. First prepare a computer, then environmental issues. Generally, if you live in a company dormitory, you will be affected too much. Nowadays, almost all young people have computers. It’s hard to imagine someone in the dormitory is watching movies and playing games, and someone is studying with peace of mind. It’s difficult! Even if you persevere, you may lose friends. Most people are learning when you are playing, but you are not gregarious. Unless it’s a small dormitory, if only two or three people are more eager to learn, that would be the best. If it is a large dormitory with 7 or 8 people, it is better to rent a small house by yourself. Spend more money and buy a quiet one.

It is best to ask friends for more advice, which book is better. Then there are tutorials. Now there are many tutorials on the market. But the good and the bad are uneven, and there are not many really good ones. Moreover, learning by watching tutorials is not the same as on-site learning.

Learning software must be divided into steps, first is the simplest and most basic CAD. This thing is necessary. Although many companies are now transforming to full 3D, CAD, the classic drawing software, will not be out of date. Moreover, many of the basic concepts of 3D software drawing started from here, just as it is to lay a foundation for the learning of 3D software.

For the study of this software, I want to emphasize the use of shortcut keys. The basic principle of using shortcut keys is to increase the speed of command input. The passing criterion is to input all frequently used commands with one hand without looking at the keyboard. Can reach this standard, basically the speed will not be bad. If you go to the training class and the teacher says you cannot change the shortcut keys, then you should leave as soon as possible. It is definitely a lie.

Master all the commands, and then draw some basic drawings, it’s almost the same. You can go to the company to find the old drawings that you don’t need, and follow the drawings as long as they are not bad. The speed can be practiced slowly, as long as the shortcut keys are mastered, the speed will rise quickly. Generally, self-study should take about a month (practice in spare time).

Then there is 3D software, first is to choose software, this is not like 2D, there is only one. There are many 3D softwares. Choosing a promising software that fits your habits will make learning more effective. Otherwise, it will be troublesome. Now the mainstream 3D software is UG, PRO-E, and there are certain markets such as SOLDWORK, CATIYA, etc. I will not list too many. I am only familiar with UG, which has been used for more than ten years. PRO-E gave up after two years. SOLDWORK, use it occasionally, it is not suitable for mold design, just choose one from UG and PROE.

That’s all about how new molders can mix in the mold industry. There is no guarantee to what extent they can learn. This is up to you. The main purpose is to let the novices no longer be blind, have a clear goal, have a clear path, steps, step by step, how much they have gone, and how much they have to go are all within their own minds…

For friends who have just entered the industry, there are a few suggestions:

  • 1. Don’t negate the technology industry lightly. The technology industry takes time to accumulate. Don’t compare the income of general workers with the positions in the technology industry that have just entered the industry. This is meaningless. It’s not that the sooner you get a high-paying job, it’s a good job. When a general worker starts to work, he will work more overtime than a skilled worker who has worked for a few years. But what about the future? Think about the meaning of this sentence.
  • 2. Not all technical positions have a good future. This must be carefully analyzed in the future, which positions are destined to be eliminated, which positions will become more and more important, can be studied for a lifetime, and become more and more popular. We must consider carefully, and we should not judge heroes based on momentary success or failure, nor can we evaluate the future development of a job based on current wages. Basically there is a law, high technical content, deep background, the most difficult to learn positions are basically the most promising positions. How about it, analyze it by yourself.
  • 3. The problem of learning style. Some skills can be done with the master a few times, and some skills can be self-taught. Just read a book and practice with a computer. However, for some technologies, the lack of systematic learning is not worth the gain. The choice of learning method should be carefully considered. Don’t be embarrassed if you need capital investment or support from your family. Face is not as good as the foundation. If you learn the skills well, get a high salary as soon as possible and start your own business as soon as possible. If you have to rely on your own ability, the time may be extended a lot, so the choice is up to you.

There is still a lot to do in the mold industry, even if it is indeed sluggish and difficult, we should not deny this industry! Especially for such a basic industry. The so-called bucking the market, now is the most difficult time, it is the time for others to withdraw, but it is the time to enter, especially those who have just graduated, think carefully, and think about future plans!

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