We see all kinds of new projects come across our desks these days where the client really wants to say to the public at large that his/her product is, "Made in the USA". Why do you suppose this is? Is it the economy spurring some kind of patriotism that forces us to dig deep and "Buy American" or is it simply a quality concern and American pride that assumes "made in the USA" is somehow, someway better than "made in China".
Not too many years ago, 30 to 40 years, Americans were lusting after their own products and slamming the Japanese products (calling them cheap and poorly manufactured). Something happened along the way and now we equate Japanese manufacturing techniques with world class and some of the highest and best in many manufacturing arenas.
Until new device manufacturer's in today’s world economy realize that there is value associated with the cost of American made goods and services, the end user will continue to pay the price of having to purchase substandard goods because the manufacturer went cheep with its methods and suppliers. You know the saying "You get what you pay for!"
In injection molding we have seen a migration of plastics to China. While it makes sense for a great number of products it is certainly not true for all. For example, high cavitation tooling with extremely tight tolerance components coming off of them is still best suited for the United States and its higher class tool making expertise.
While upper management is pushing to save money, ultimately their QC and manufacturing departments will pay the price of substandard molds or parts that will not meet specifications due to the lack of expertise at offshore moldmaking and molding companies.
Everyday there is a Chinese mold being re-worked somewhere in the USA. These molds were built in China to save money. In the end there is no savings and in many cases there is a loss and tough times ahead while they try to pull themselves out of backorder because it didn't meet the "quality" or "time to market" that was planned for.
We have purchasing agents buying molds that know very little about them. They get quotes from stateside and Chinese mold makers and guess who they end up going with. This has put USA moldmakers in the position to match low bids or lose all the work. In the end as in the automotive industry USA sources could all go broke and have no one to blame but themselves for not educating the client about the common pitfalls of offshore tooling.
There is a time and a place for these molds and it is up to us to educate the people. Craftech Corporation has developed offshore tooling sources over the past 15 years and it has not always been easy. We have gone through the school of hard knocks for you. As your trusted advisor we will guide you through the process and identify what makes sense for your particular project. We still build molds in the USA and we also, when the time is right, build molds offshore.