Europe's tooling industry takes up key a position within the production industries of Europe and all other IMS countries as studies have shown. Each production ramp-up depends on the completion of the required tools and their integration into the existing production facilities, the product’s quality is directly linked to the tool’s quality. The tooling industry is facing challenges concerning their local and global performance. Regarding their local performance, there are no adequate interfaces and sporadic, undefined loops between the customers’ product development process and the toolmakers’ tool development process. Only few toolmakers offer product-services along the product development process, hardly any offer product-services along the production phase. Regarding their global performance only a little number of European toolmakers uses global cost potentials, markets and flexibility: they don’t realise the chances of globalisation. As a result tool and die companies face the question on how to meet the customer’s needs at best locally and globally in order to remain competitive. Ideal solutions to the customer’s problems instead of a ‘simple’ tool can be developed by an early integration of product and tool development processes. Global cooperation offers chances to sustainably improve their position in this fierce competitive environment. With this project European toolmakers are given tools to improve their local and global performance. These tools allow synchronising their tool development/ design with the customers’ product development processes by means of a continuous simultaneous engineering. The time-to-market of the final product can thus be shortened. Secondly this project shall enable European toolmakers to build global cooperation networks and make them capable of linking them to cross-country product development and production networks.
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