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What You Need To Know About Machine Operators

What You Need To Know About Machine Operators


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When thinking about machine operators, you can’t help but wonder what machine operators actually do in their career. A machine operator is a laborer who uses heavy machinery to complete tasks relating to manufacturing and disassembling.

machine Photo by x3 from Pixabay

In the metalworking and plastics industry, machine operators and machine setters play a major role in creating a lot of the consumer products that people rely on every day. Machine setters prepare machines before production, perform initial tests on the machines, and make minor repairs to the machines. Machine operators, on the other hand, monitor the machine during the operation, sometimes load/unload the machine, and make minor adjustments to the controls.

Types of Machine Operators

There are so many different types of machine operator jobs that require workers to operate, repair, fix, and improve the equipment. The different types of jobs are based on the various machinery types and equipment that are available at the job site. Some of the machine operator job positions include:

Forklift Machine Operator – In this position, the requirements involve picking packing, and setting up orders. One must be willing to work in a fast paced 3PL environment, follow strict safety and operational SOP’s, able to use a PC and a RF Scanner, and must be able to perform general labor duties. Click here to find out more.

Packing Machine Operator – This position requires maintaining the proper and accurate counts, checking for proper labeling containers, wrap and unwrap the products into their final containers, applying notes for the containers, setting up boxes to prepare the placement of the wrapped and unwrapped material, and reporting food safety and quality issues. Click here for more.

Technician Machine Operator – A technical machine operator is responsible for collaborating with the manufacturing plant personal to produce superior quality products. The technicians are in charge of monitoring and ensuring compliance to the materials, the product specifications, customer requirements, and the food safety system requirements.

They are also responsible for performing key quality activities such as quality procedures, quality plans, and quality work instructions. The technicians also have to perform weekly COAPPA audits and approve raw materials using the COAPPA system. Click here for more information.

Photo by Science in HD on Unsplash

Mining Machine Operator – A mining machine operator has to know how to use a variety of machines and must operate as part of the team on the mining site. These specific operators use machines to drill holes and excavate rocks, coal, metals, and other materials. They are also responsible for the maintenance and the repair of the machines, and must assist in moving and clearing the excavated materials.

Construction Machine Operator –  These types of operators are known as heavy equipment operators or operating engineers. They drive or control construction equipment like the bulldozer, backhoes, dump trucks, and hydraulic truck cranes. They also operate the equipment to assist in the construction of structures and the loading and excavation of the machines.

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What are the Responsibilities of a Machine Operator?

The responsibilities of a machine operator can vary depending on the type of machinery that is being used at the workplace. However, most of the common job responsibilities of machine operators include observing the machines as they produce objects, inspecting the objects once production is complete, and inspecting parts of the machine to make minor repairs on them. Machine operators must also follow the proper safety protocols and regulations at the workplace.

Other major responsibilities include being able to communicate effectively with other team members, and ensuring a quick and efficient production line. Also, being able to perform pre-operation activities with one or more of the equipment pieces help to ensure an appropriate startup and operation of the machine.

The Key Skills of a Machine Operator

Machine operators need a variety of hard and soft skills to operate complex machines on a daily basis. Common skills include being attentive to detail, communication skills, physical strength and stamina, problem solving skills, and computer literacy skills. Machine operators must be able to use hand tools to perform basic maintenance and minor repairs on the machines.

Tools Photo by from Pexels

Most machine operator jobs require a high school diploma or a GED certificate. Though this is satisfactory for most jobs in the industry you can continue your education by receiving an associate degree in machining or you can even get a machine operator technical certificate program.

There are also apprenticeships and on-the-job training available for any new machine operators in the field. According to Indeed, an apprenticeship program for a machine operator will usually include 300 to 600 hours of classroom training and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of paid on-the-job training.

How Much Does A Machine Operator Make?

Again, the salary of a machine operator can vary widely depending on the education, certifications, additional skills and the number of years spent in this specific position. With that being said, the average annual salary in the United States for a machine operator is $34,230 per year. The salary range usually falls between $30,109 to $39,756 per year. In the United States, the average hourly salary for a machine operator is $14.29 per hour.

How Do I Become A Machine Operator?

Once you understand and apply what it takes to become a machine operator, the job can be very rewarding. First, you will need to complete a high school diploma or equivalent, know how to properly use hand tools like pliers, hammers, and screwdrivers, and increase your ability to work in a fast-paced environment. It will also help a great deal to complete apprenticeships or on-the-job trainings, acquire certifications, build up your resume, and apply to many machine operator jobs.

mechanic Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

When applying to jobs or finding the right position becomes overwhelming for you, contact Empire Workforce Solutions today! Still don’t know where to begin? Get in touch with one of our highly trained staff members and they will direct you towards the right steps in landing your dream job.

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