By Justine Irish D. Tabile, Reporter

THE Die & Mold Association of the Philippines or PDMA, Inc. said the industry could return to pre-pandemic levels of business by the end 2024.

“It is still very hard to say but I hope that it will be by next year. Our projection is 2024 to 2025. Probably if not the end of 2024, maybe mid-year of 2025,” PDMA President George Ong told reporters last week.

Dies are used in stamping sheet metal, and molds in injection molding. They are critical components in mass production, and the industry’s performance is a leading indicator of future manufacturing activity as factors tool up to produce more items.

Asked to describe the industry’s recovery, Mr. Ong said the results vary depending on the business segment.

“Because we are on the software side, we were not that affected. I think our drop was around 15-20% unlike some actual manufacturers which were really affected because of the decline in demand,” he added.

“In the Philippines, I would say we have probably gone back to maybe 75% to 80% of pre-pandemic levels. It should be around that number already by this time,” he said.

Mr. Ong is also a managing director at Computrends Systems Technology, Inc. which he said has hit 90% of its pre-pandemic levels of business.

“A lot of firms are coming back from the pandemic. So, I think this year, we will see a lot of growth compared with last year. We had our lowest period in 2021 and then this year we are coming back,” he said.

During the pandemic, the die and mold industry underwent a big contraction, which Mr. Ong estimated at around 50%.

“We were already at the rock-bottom during the pandemic, so I think now everybody is in recovery. But some are faster, some are probably a little bit slower,” he said.

Between Aug. 23 and 26, PDMA hosted the Philippine Die and Mold Machinery and Equipment Exhibition.

In his keynote speech at the opening of the exhibition, Philippine Economic Zone Authority Director General Tereso O. Panga recognized the critical role of the industry to small and medium enterprises.

“It is said that the design and manufacture of dies and molds represent a significant link in the entire production chain because nearly all mass-produced discrete parts are formed using processes that employ dies and molds,” Mr. Panga said.

He also said that the industry is important to the growth of domestic and export manufacturing. 

“Its steady growth over the years is helping to position the Philippines as a reliable source of high-quality molds and dies, catering to both domestic and international markets,” he added.