In 1976, John Lau and Irv Fischer opened Dynamic Tool & Design for business. To get the company up and running, they both worked full-time jobs in addition to Dynamic. By 1979, they had grown to 5 employees, some of which are still employed today at Dynamic. Fast forward to 2016, Dynamic has grown to 60 employees covering two shifts and is a leading global mold builder serving the packaging, medical and personal care markets.
A key to Dynamic’s growth and success has been the team of employees and our commitment to training. Since 1977, Dynamic has trained many apprentices to become tool makers. Supporting the apprentice program helps Dynamic maintain a skilled work force and remain an industry leading tool shop. An apprentice works 10,400 hours over a 5 year period and is trained in each area of mold building. At the end of the program, they are considered a journeyman who can manage any area of the mold building process. Dynamic also supports the Youth Apprentice program of local high school students. Dynamic Tool & Design was the first to sign a Youth Apprentice directly into the Registered Apprentice Tool and Die Maker program after high school graduation.
The apprentice program helps shape the career of the individual in training and provides the opportunity to determine their strengths and or weaknesses. After completing the program, the apprentice may decide not to become a tool maker after all, but instead, decide to focus on specific departments in the company including: CNC, EDM, programming or design.
Today we have 9 apprentices at Dynamic Tool & Design. This group is the next generation of tool makers at Dynamic and their skills will help us maintain our industry leadership. We asked each apprentice why they chose a career as a mold builder and what their goals were after completing the program. The answers are very similar and very encouraging for those considering a career as a tool maker.
Why did you choose a career in plastic injection mold building?
Apprentices chose mold building for the long term opportunities and the stable career that the trade offers. They enjoy working with their hands and minds to create molds for products that consumers use every day.
The apprentice program takes about five years to complete. Our current apprentices have been in the program less than 18 months and have already learned many new skills including; how to set up machines, a better understanding of what each machine is used for, grinding and cad. They are learning the importance of tight tolerances, how to read blue prints, how to use micrometers, calipers, and bore-gauges. Attention to detail, patience and teamwork are keys to success in the program. They all agreed their favorite part of the apprentice program is learning something new each day. They noted the satisfaction from accomplishing daily tasks that seem challenging at first, but eventually getting it right.
What advice would you offer anyone considering a mold building career?
The Dynamic apprentices offered the following advice to anyone considering a career in plastic injection mold building.
Mold building is a stable career choice and provides many different career paths. Make sure this is something you are interested in. Your brain is always “on”.
Have your head on straight. Must be focused – no room for error.
Mold building is a rewarding career, there are so many machines and processes to learn – it is a rewarding challenge that will keep you on your toes.
Be willing to learn. Go to school and work hard.
To have a successful apprentice program it is imperative to have the senior employees and managers fully support the training. The apprentice program creates sustainability for Dynamic as others reach retirement age. The average employee tenure at Dynamic is 12 years so we have a lot of very experienced tool makers on staff. Apprentice leaders realize the importance of passing on their “vast” knowledge of mold building and creating an environment where employees are always teaching or learning something new.
President, David Miller realizes the importance of employee training, “Over the past four years, Dynamic has tripled the number of employees under the age of 35. By investing in youth and enabling our tenured employees the opportunity to train and share knowledge, Dynamic Tool & Design is well poised for a very successful future.”
For more information on the apprentice program at Dynamic, please contact Craig Lau at 262-783-6340.