The WBA arose out of the shared business area “aachener werkzeug- und formenbau” of the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) of RWTH Aachen University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT). Since 1995, both production technology institutes have bundled their know-how and their activities in the tool and die industry in this shared business area.

The WBA was built up as a network of leading companies in the tool and die industry in the context of various research and industry projects. The benchmarking database, which was initialized in 1993, currently contains about 1000 datasets of national  and international companies, none older than 5 years. In the yearly colloquium “Tool and Die Making for the Future”, hosted since its inauguration in 1998, around 200 international participants discuss key topics and attempt to anticipate trends of the industry. Another goal of the colloquium is to decisively increase the visibility of the tool and die industry. Since 2003, the annual competition “Excellence in Production” has also been held to determine the tool room of the year. The award ceremony takes place at the evening event of the colloquium in the coronation room of Aachen’s city hall. The award is a chance to distinguish the best tool rooms in the industry. Further, it is a measure to publicly present the tool and die industry and increase visibility.

The founding of the WBA goes back to an initiative from industry partners in 2010 to have a more steady cooperation with industry. This manifested itself in particularly application-oriented research and established consulting projects in cooperation with RWTH Aachen University and the Fraunhofer institutes in Aachen. Furthermore, the professionalization and deepening of the training courses offered is a focus.

With the move of the WBA onto the RWTH Aachen University campus in 2016, the intensification of the cooperation and networking with RWTH Aachen University research facilities with companies of the tool and die industry was successfully carried out.