The International Special Tooling & Machining Association (ISTMA) is an international association representing 22 Special Tooling and Machining Associations throughout the world. Collectively, ISTMA member associations represent over 8,000 companies and over 120 billion U.S. dollars in annual sales. ISTMA World is responsible for the central coordination and organization of all international activities.

For over forty four years, a firm partnership for stamping dies, mould making, precision machining and special machines has evolved. Be it a toolmaker in Tokyo, a mould maker in Barcelona, a machinist in Canada, or a special machine builder in the United States, the industry associations, member companies, and employees benefit from ISTMA membership.

The International Special Tooling & Machining Association (ISTMA) will be the center of expertise of the worldwide special tooling and precision machining industry.

To help national industry associations and their member companies achieve business success in the global economy through advocacy, networking, information, programs and services.

- to enhance the reputation of the industry and its employees;
- to maintain contacts and provide a channel of communication between its members;
- to defend the interests of its members with regard to international organizations, authorities and other associations;
- to promote the efficiency and profitability of the firms within their member associations;
- to review the training and educational standards for the skilled workers employed by the industry, particularly in times of rapid technological changes;
- to establish standard recommendations for the standard tooling components on a worldwide basis;
- to ensure the pathway to the future with the promotion of sustainable development.

ISTMA provides information, advice, guidance and assistance within the previous framework. But ISTMA does not pursue matters of a purely commercial nature.
The members of the Association shall cooperate on a friendly basis. The problems of the industry shall be treated in a spirit of voluntary cooperation based on good intention and with an open-minded exchange of views, in such a way that solutions are developed by mutual agreement. Paramount importance is attached to the exchange of experience between the members.

The Association may admit as a member an organization of a country and/or
its areas representing the interests of manufacturers of the following products:
::dies for pressing, stamping, punching and forming
::injection and compression moulds
::die casting dies
::patterns and pattern equipment
::jigs and fixtures
::standard tooling components
::precision machining as well as
::related products produced by toolmakers

The vast majority of employees in the special tooling and machining industry are highly skilled craftsmen. These craftsmen learn their trade through a complex system of training and education. Throughout the ISTMA member countries, the average term of training for a tool and die maker, or mould maker, or machinist is four years. Some countries have accelerated programs and others have programs that require slightly more than four years.
The special tooling and machining industry requires that its apprentices be among the highest and brightest young workers available and whose preferences lie in working with their minds and hands. There is a considerable amount of classroom theory to be mastered as well as the hands-on skills required to set up and operate a wide range of machine tools. Qualifications for entry into this exciting and rewarding career are exacting. However, there is a high paying future for those who choose a career in the industry. Skilled machinists, toolmakers, die makers and mould makers are needed throughout the world.

There is a high paying future in the special tooling and machining industry for those people who like to use their minds. Skilled machinists, toolmakers, die makers, and mould makers are needed throughout the world. These men and women will use sophisticated, computer-controlled machine tools to cut and form metal with extreme precision. The average lifetime earnings rank among the highest of all the skilled trades and generally exceed those of university graduates. Opportunities for advancement are numerous. Toolmakers, mould makers and machinists frequently rise to the ranks of foreman or plant superintendent. Some go into engineering or computer programming. Many eventually open businesses of their own. The skilled trades of metalworking represent one of the most attractive career opportunities offered in the industrial countries of the world.
To find out more about career metal working opportunities in ISTMA member countries, contact the appropriate ISTMA member association