Are you someone who is creative and likes working with your hands? Are you interested in helping to build important products that can really make a difference in the community? You may be interested in looking into careers in die casting. There are many opportunities for those who want to jump-start die casting careers and a lot of ways you can contribute.
What Are Some of the Interesting Careers in Die Casting?
Some of the possibilities for die casting careers can include:
The machinist is the primary creator of metal parts using a variety of metalworking tools. They work with dies, but also other machine tools such as milling machines, grinders and lathes. Machining is both a skill and an art. Machinists must understand the properties of the different types of metals they use to make their parts, and they must have the skills required to use the tools involved. They must be able to read and understand blueprints for the parts they create as well as translate those blueprints into the operations needed to turn a piece of metal into the finished part.
Because many metalworking machines are now operated with automated CNC controls, most machinists must be well-versed in CNC programming. They may even be able to write their own CNC programs. There is a lot of responsibility in being a machinist, but it can also pay well and be very rewarding work.
2. Tool and Die Makers
Tool and die makers are the professionals that actually make the tools and dies that the others use for casting. They often use computer-aided design or computer-aided manufacturing (CAD and CAM) software to generate blueprints for various cutting and shaping tools and dies and make the required item based on those blueprints.
Without tool and die makers, there is no metalworking. Also, if the tools or dies are off, the parts will not come out right, so this is a highly-skilled job that requires great precision.
3. Die Casting Machine Operator
The die casting machine operator is another very important part of the die casting process. This is the person responsible for the machine that metalworkers actually use to cast their parts. This individual sets up the machine, lifts die sections into the machine and bolts the die section into position. They adjust the stroke of ram, connect the water hose to the cooling system and preheat die sections as needed.
Other responsibilities of the die casting machine operator include regulating the flow of water to the die casting machine, controlling the speed of the machine, lubricating the die cavity and plunger and blowing any metal fragments off the die surface. They also perform the casting process, closing and locking the die and activating the plunger that pushes the molten metal into the die cavity. Then, they remove the casting once the die casting is complete.
Die casting machine operators are also responsible for inspecting the casting for defects. They may have other, related duties as well. Today, many die cast machines are being run with robots, so the operator of today will need to be versed in both robotics and the die casting process.
Being a die casting machine operator may not require quite as much knowledge or skill as being a machinist, but it is still a critical job in any die cast plant. It is also becoming more important as the casting machines become more technical.
4. Die Casting Technicians
Die casting technicians are often the masterminds behind a particular die casting. They may be the ones that create the blueprints the others use to make a given part. Their skill sets lie in design, problem-solving, product development and related engineering issues. The technician needs to understand the die casting process and all the variables related to the process. Knowledge of computers and math is very important for a die cast process technician.
How Does One Get Started in a Career in Die Casting?
While some people in the world of die casting have engineering degrees, the most common way to get experience in the die casting or metalworking field is through a sponsored apprenticeship. This is a situation where you learn as you go, working alongside experienced professionals in the field. You will probably need to have at least a high school diploma, and you may be required to take some preparatory courses before being recognized as a full-fledged member of a die casting career. However, there is usually no specific degree required.
Upon completion of your apprenticeship, you will be required to earn the NIMS (National Institute of Metalworking Skills) credential before starting your own metalworking career. It is possible to work in a die casting facility without one, but to be truly recognized as an expert in the field and receive responsibility and pay accordingly, you will need the NIMS.
Another way to improve your chances of getting a fantastic job in the die casting industry is through education. NADCA, the North American Die Casting Association, offers some great training courses and educational opportunities for prospective die casting professionals. You can take courses online, attend live webinars or even take live courses at a local chapter. NADCA offers courses such as Introduction to Die Casting, Metal Melting and Handling, Computer Modeling, Operating the Die Casting Machine and many more.
You can also find scholarship opportunities such as the David Laine Intern & Scholarship program for undergraduates and the Steven J. Harmon Scholarship Program for graduate students. Visit the education page on the NADCA website to learn more.
Want to Take the Next Step? Contact Us!
At Premier Engineered Products, we’re always looking for eager new talent. If you’re interested in working in a technical field where you can take great pride in what you produce, we want to hear from you. Contact us to talk about possible careers in die casting or get in touch with us online.