Looking to the Past: Evolution of Mould Making in Portugal
As we keep advancing and look to the future, it is also important to look to the past and remind ourselves how far we have come. After all, mould making in Portugal stems from the glassware industry. Considering the past, it would be interesting to explore how we have progressed and how has innovation evolved? We are involved in a challenging industry where high expectations are the norm. So how has the mould making industry in Portugal gained such a high reputation over the past few decades?
The manufacturing industry in Portugal started more than 200 years ago. And the glassware industry was one of the more prominent ones. Beginning of the 20th century, the artisans in Marinha Grande started to produce the first moulds for glassware such as soda bottles. This was the early natural evolution into what will eventually be the injection mould industry that we see today.
Sometime later in 1944, we see the initial signs of the manufacturing industry transforming. Recognizing the potential, the glassware artisans were encouraged to apply their natural skillsets and know-how to mould making for injection moulds. And the first plastic injection mould that was produced was for toys and consequently, dolls and playing pieces were the entrance point into the mould making industry for Portugal.
Portugal Exports Its First Mould
The first mould that was exported was in 1955 to England. From this point, Portugal’s reputation and the export market grew exponentially. Portugal had the reputation for innovation, which stemmed from their deep-rooted experience in mould making for glassware. By the 1960s, Portugal entered a period of robust growth and structural modernization. During this time the automotive sector became the most dominant.
As the decades have progressed, so has the know-how and experience. Although there is a big concentration of mould making companies in Marinha Grande and Oliveira de Azemeis, the key to the industry’s success is not the competition amongst them, but the trust and camaraderie. In the 1970s, although Portugal was going through a turbulent time, the mould making industry was still exporting high quality moulds and continued to gain momentum.
Today, the mould making industry in Portugal exports 90% of its business and mostly to the automotive industry. Portugal is known for delivering high quality moulds to a prime market. There is an unmatched level of care in mould making in Portugal. It is in the DNA that comes from the early days of the glassware industry and this translates into the quality and innovation that has been consistently shown throughout the evolution of the industry. This makes Portugal home to one of the biggest and most transversal cluster of mould making in the world!