Tool Process Design Engineer Level 6 Standard

Tool Process Design Engineer Level 6 Standard

This occupation is found in the advanced manufacturing sheet metal/presswork supply chain of automotive and aerospace. The broad purpose of the occupation includes the design of a unique tooling process pathway that enables components to be mass produced in the most economically viable way. The process pathway often includes a sequential series of steps using uniquely designed press tooling procedures such as blanking, drawing, piercing and forming in order to make the completed component.

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Role Profile

The tool process design engineer has to determine from the volume of required components whether to design manually operated or automatic (progression) press tooling. In some designs the components being produced could also be part of an assembly created from different additional sheet metal pressings that have to be welded together.

Examples of a tool process design is the manufacture of complex automotive and aerospace sub-assemblies such as aeroplane and car seat chassis, vehicle doors and bumper beam assemblies that undergo several process steps. Working with clients on unique components that create commercial advantage to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), and through a process of critical analysis, interpretation and evaluation of complex information a unique innovated tool process pathway is created.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with managing directors, technical/production directors, senior managers in finance and purchasing, management/technical specialists from customers together with technical specialists from suppliers, the production team and operatives on the shop floor. A tool process design engineer will typically spend their time working between the design office, board room and the factory floor.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for designing a unique economically viable high-volume process tooling pathway, capable of mass production while meeting customer specification and achieving consistently high tolerances and quality standards. A tool process design engineer will work both autonomously or as part of a team, depending on the project, company size, and will exercise considerable judgement on projects with a high-level personal decision making and influence.

Depending on the size of the organisation a tool process design engineer would typically report to the production or managing director of the company and will have significant leadership and project management responsibility together with budget accountability.


All learners will complete both on and off the job training elements for this standard and at the end of their programme will complete their Level 6 Apprenticeship as a Tool Process Design Engineer as well as achieving an EAL Level 6 qualification in Tool Design, a qualification which is bespoke to In-Comm and has been developed specifically for this apprenticeship.  Dependent upon prior qualifications learners may also need to complete Functional Skills in English and Maths at Level 2. 

As part of the programme it is compulsory that learners attend centre to achieve knowledge, understanding and competence in the following subjects:

  • Computer Aided Design & Manufacture
  • Simulation n Materials Properties & Testing
  • Project Management
  • Teams & Leadership
  • Business & Financial Planning
  • Customer Data Analysis
  • Advanced Lean Manufacturing Techniques
  • Business Improvement Techniques
  • Quality & Process Improvement
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Calculations, Costings & Layout Analysis
  • Managing a Professional Project

Should an employer so wish there is an opportunity for the learner to undertake extra modules to allow them to gain the Level 4 HNC in Engineering which would be subject to extra commercial costs.  The extra modules would then cover:

  • Engineering Maths
  • Engineering Science
  • Electro, Pneumatic and Hydraulic Systems

K1: Strategic tool design including the principles and practices of toolmaking machine capability and the limitations of new press tools

K2: How to design a new tooling process for volume production without inhibiting existing production demand using leadership and management techniques

K3: Planning and forecasting outcomes of new tooling processes including those where there is limited definition tooling processes

K4: Applies business improvement processes and techniques, innovative ways of working and failure proofing techniques (for example Poke Yoke) to deliver a feasible and economically viable process

K5: Collaborative working including relationship management with clients, stakeholders and the supply chain by utilising negotiation, influencing and mutual problem solving techniques.

K6: The scientific, technical, engineering and mathematical principals involved in creating the optimal manufacturing process design, including geometric dimensioning and tolerances allowing conceptualisation and refinement of the design and theoretical fixture behaviour

K7: Advanced lean manufacturing techniques including programme management, failure mode analysis, problem solving, advanced quality planning and single minute exchange of dies (SMED)

K8: Properties of materials including the metallurgical properties of various metals, for example, mild steel stainless steel and predicting the effect on the material during the tooling process

K9: Business planning including project management, planning, forecasting, risk analysis, financial planning, commercial impact and contractual obligations, together with supply chain management, logistics and resource constraints

K10: Team formation and leadership including motivation, coaching and human resource development, preventing dysfunctional working using techniques such as emotional intelligence, conflict resolution and change management

K11: High volume sheet metal forming and cutting techniques in a continuous production environment taking into consideration industry requirements and regulations.


S1: Design and trial volume press tooling processes including blanking, piercing, forming, draw forming, press tool components selection, ganged setup, progression tooling, transfer tooling, clamping, material selection and heat treatment

S2: Create new tooling solutions using specialist software programmes to produce 3 dimensional (3D) models

S3: Critically analyse, interpret and evaluate complex information and ideas to create the new tooling solution, using bespoke software programmes to create 3D models such as car seat chassis assemblies

S4: Design and develop gap gauges, acceptance gauges including co-ordinate measuring machine (CMM) dimensional checking and 3D laser scanning for analysis and problem resolution

S5: Undertake advanced forming simulation using computer aided equipment (CAE)

S6: Confirm feasibility and estimate the cost of volume component production including, gross material cost, labour costs, machine cost overheads, machine utilisation capacity (Takt time) capital expenditure and consumables and contribute to overall budget management.

S7: Design tooling solution to meet customer requirements including external specifications set by clients and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) while fulfilling ethical and sustainability requirements.

S8: Lead and manage a team to implement new tool process projects from their inception into full production, for example by using planning, organising team control and motivational techniques. Build on the ideas of others to improve outcomes.

S9: Communication and influencing techniques by choosing appropriate communication methods for the audience, ensuring understanding and delivering effective presentations and reports

S10: Provide timely succinct written reports that explains complex technical issues and potential consequences using language and phrases appropriate to the audience’s knowledge and understanding.


B1: Strong work ethic with a positive attitude, motivated by engineering and business values for example: motivated by externally set challenges, accountable and persistent in completing tasks.

B2: Professionalism - dependable, ethical, responsible and reliable while consistently setting demanding personal targets

B3: Team player, works effectively within a team and supports others when required. In doing so, applies these behaviours in a respectful and professional manner

B4: Self-analytical, overcomes problems through a process of reflection and review and by undertaking continuous professional development (CPD) in order to use new technological advances in the sector

B5: Commits to the beliefs, goals and standards of their own employer and to the wider industry and its professional standards

B6: Problem solving identifies issues quickly, enjoys solving complex problems at the root cause and applying appropriate solutions

B7: Quality focus that promotes continuous improvement and consistently applies logic to the design process

B8: Resourceful and adjusts to different conditions and technologies through market research quickly while continuing to meet the tool process design criteria

B9: Demonstrates a safety mind-set and promotes Health and Safety leadership to others at all times. This occupation sits within an industry with extensive and rigorous Power Press Regulation (PUWER) requiring a disciplined and responsible approach to manage, mitigate and avoid risk

B10: Provide timely succinct written reports that explains complex technical issues and potential consequences using language and phrases appropriate to the audience’s knowledge and understanding.