Meet the people behind Stafier | Frank Bonke
At our tool manufacturing department, it is all about craftsmanship. Frank Bonke, who has been practicing the profession for more than twenty years, agrees. As head of this department, he sees a range of bending, cutting and all other tools passing by every day. These tools are used to produce our tailor-made solutions for customers in the ceramic, food and solar industries, among others. “It’s just great work!”, Frank says.
While many companies have their tools made abroad, Stafier consciously chooses to design and produce tools and molds in-house. We have been doing this since 1956. With a team of four toolmakers, we are busy every day making new tools for our assignments, because every assignment and every product is unique. “That makes it a great job,” says Frank. “Every day we work on different products and they are always custom-made.”
Learning by doing
Frank has been at the head of our tool manufacturing department for more than five years, but he himself has mastered the craft for almost half his life. “You don’t learn to make tools at school. You learn it by doing it. It requires a high degree of accuracy, because our tools have to meet many requirements. We work closely together as a team and test our tools under different production conditions. This is how we make tools that fit seamlessly into our production process.”
“We control the customer-specific working method down to the finest detail”, Frank explains. “With our machines we make tools that are accurate to 0.01 millimeter. We use these tools for perforating, bending and punching, for example.”
As a group leader, Frank also participates in the production himself. “On the one hand because I really enjoy doing the work, and on the other hand because we can use the extra pair of hands,” he explains. “We are looking for new colleagues, but these days, young people are less likely to become toolmakers.”
Frank thinks this is a shame, because the profession can offer them quite a lot. “It’s really about craftsmanship here. Machines help with the manufacturing, but it is our people who have the knowledge to come up with customer-specific solutions. Here you can really make something with your hands, work together with your colleagues and use your head,” says Frank. “And because it is always tailor-made, literally no day is the same.”
Pass on knowledge
Therefore, in order to secure the future of the profession, Frank hopes that the new recruitment will not take too long. “There’s so much knowledge around here and it’s about time we passed on that knowledge. Me and my colleagues are also getting older,” Frank laughs. “But the great thing is: anyone with a technical background can work here. You don’t necessarily need experience with making tools, we can train new colleagues internally. This way we ensure that our beautiful profession continues to exist,” he concludes.
Are you interested in this profession and would you like to work as a tool maker? View our open vacancy and apply today!