Tool and die makers are a class of machinists in the manufacturing industries who make jigs, fixtures, dies, molds, machine tools, cutting tools, gauges, and other tools used in manufacturing processes. Depending on which area of concentration a particular person works in, he or she may be called by variations on the name, including tool maker (toolmaker), die maker (diemaker), mold maker (moldmaker), tool fitter (toolfitter), etc.
Information Courtesy of Wikipedia.org
Traditionally, working from engineering drawings developed by engineers and technologists, tool makers layout (mark out) the design on the raw material (usually metal), then cut it to size and shape using manually controlled machine tools (such as lathes, milling machines, grinding machines, and jig grinders), power tools (such as die grinders and rotary tools), and hand tools (such as files and honing stones).
Since the advent of computing in the manufacturing fields (including CNC, CAD, CAM, and other computer-aided technologies), tool and die makers have increasingly added IT skills to their daily work. Today’s tool and die makers are generally required to have all of the traditional skills plus substantial digital skills; these formidable requirements make the field challenging to master.
Tool making typically means making tooling used to produce products. Common tooling includes metal forming rolls, cutting tools (such as tool bits and milling cutters), fixtures, or even whole machine tools used to manufacture, hold, or test products during their fabrication. Due to the unique nature of a tool maker’s work, it is often necessary to fabricate custom tools or modify standard tools.
Die making is a subgenre of tool making that focuses on making and maintaining dies. This often includes making punches, dies, steel rule dies, and die sets. Precision is key in die making; punches and dies must maintain proper clearance to produce parts accurately, and it is often necessary to have die sets machined with tolerances of less than one-thousandth of an inch.
One person may be called upon for all of the above activities, and the skills and concepts involved overlap, which is why “tool and die making” is often viewed as one field.
Information Courtesy of Wikipedia.org
Although the details of training programs vary, many tool and die makers begin an apprenticeship with an employer, possibly including a mix of classroom training and hands-on experience. Some prior qualifications in basic mathematics, science, engineering science or design and technology can be valuable. Many tool and die makers attend a 4- to 5-year apprenticeship program to achieve the status of a journeyman tool and die maker. Today’s employment relationships often differ in name and detail from the traditional arrangement of an apprenticeship, and the terms “apprentice” and “journeyman” are not always used, but the idea of a period of years of on-the-job training leading to mastery of the field still applies.
In the United States, tool and die makers who graduate from NTMA (National Tooling and Machining Association) have gone through 4 years of college courses as well as 10,000 working hours in order to complete their apprenticeship. They are also accredited through the U.S. Department of Labor.
Information courtesy of Wikipedia.org
Uelner employees have always had a sense of pride in the work that they do, but also in their sense of creativity. Knowing what it takes to be a manufacturer by having presses and doing jobs for clients beyond making the tools, they have learned what it means to do the job for which the tools and dies they make need to handle. This has led them to building tools and dies that plain and simply work before the client even gets it.
Working with such a diverse set of clients, we are always creating new methods, technologies and experimenting with new materials to make sure the client is getting the most efficient and reliable part in the end of their manufacturing process. This is a key component in the Partnership that we build with our customers.