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Is the Tune of Tooling Changing?


Two of North America’s largest tooling companies weigh in on the partnership among casting source, end-user and tooling supplier. SHANNON WETZEL, SENIOR EDITOR


J


ohn McIntyre, president of tooling company Anderson Global, Mus- kegon Heights, Mich., watched as the automo-


tive OEMs reduced their on-staff casting engineers over time, leav- ing little casting knowledge in their design departments. Now, McIntyre is positioning his company to fill that knowledge gap, serving as a design and casting process consultant and sometimes a go-between for OEMs and casting suppliers. “When I came to Anderson Global


in 1980, we were basically a replace- ment tooling manufacturing plant for the big automotive OEMs,” McIntyre said. “Now, the engine and foundry engineers at the OEMs are fewer and fewer, while 40% of our direct labor


force works in engineering.” McIntyre’s vision is to establish


alliances in which the tooling sup- plier serves as a process consultant to the OEM, streamlining tooling and casting design for production at the metalcasting facility. Te strategy is not altogether dissimilar from that of auto- motive tool shop Tooling Equipment International (TEI), Livonia, Mich. “It’s a perfect scenario when you


can get the end-user, Tier 1 foundry and tooling guys together in all phases of a project,” said Oliver Johnson, TEI’s business development director. TEI uses its in-house casting facil-


ity to bridge the gap between casting supplier and OEM. Te company can prove out tooling or produce low volume, prototype castings as its automotive customers test designs


Oliver Johnson, Business Development Director, TEI


MC: What are some of the issues facing the metalcast- ing tooling industry? What changes do you see on the


horizon or that the industry is currently undergoing? OJ: Traditionally, the foundry tooling industry has


been made up of a large number of small businesses supplying customers geographically close by. I think that is changing. Tere is a need for larger organiza- tions that can support OEMs that are launching products that use identical powertrains across different countries. It’s advantageous if they can deal with one


Tooling and Equipment International (TEI), Livonia, Mich.


Services: Tooling, in-house casting development center, prototype castings, machining, CAD engineering.


Size: 83,000 sq. ft.


Industries: Automotive, military, racing vehicles. Exports: 50% of sales.


Affiliations: Pattern Equipment & Prototype International Corp., Ontario, Canada; sister tooling provider Ditemsa, Saltillo, Mexico.


February 2012 MODERN CASTING | 29


with the potential for full, high-vol- ume production. According to the International


Trade Administration (ITA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. machine tool industry comprises about 550 manufacturers, predomi- nately made up of small and medium- sized enterprises. While ITA reports a significant portion of tooling is exported, only a handful of shops compete for high volume automotive work, according to Johnson. MODERN CASTING recently sat


down with two of North America’s largest tooling suppliers to discuss how the relationship among tooling supplier, OEM and casting source has changed and the challenges of meeting the needs of global customers and low-to medium-volume metalcasters.


Oliver Johnson sees a need for larger tooling businesses.


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