The switches on the lamp, the knobs on the electric gas, oven, and the key on the computer, the nuts and the hardware that holds everything together are all made up by machines and to operate, fix, enhance those useful machines we need operators. Machine operator is the technical person who holds command and operates on various types of machines. A Machine operator may be a factory worker who plays a vital role in the production of millions of goods.
They are in-charge of safety and efficient use of manufacturing units like lathes, milling machine and grinders that creates the millions of consumer products and goods. Typically there are two types of machine operators: tenders and setters. This classification is created by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Tenders basically run and monitor the machine while it is in the working mode, they also inspect the machine periodically throughout the various shifts and do adjustments in the machine speed and load material in the machine. Tenders are also responsible for quality control by comparing the product that machine produces with the actual blueprint of the design. In case the machine is producing even a minor error, it’s the responsibility of tender machine operator to pull off the machine from active work and correct the error.
Setters on the other hand are responsible for preparing the machine for operation by equipping the machine with all appropriate tools and ensuring that tools work effectively and in good working condition.
Additionally machine operators are also categorized based on the machines they operate, eg they may be called as lathe operator, drill machine operator, press or printing machine operator. According to the career information stated by various universities and industries, machine operator conduct basic operations on machines for the production of goods.
Typical duties to be performed by machine operators
• Their duties comprises of setting up the machine and operating metal fabricating machines to perform task like rolls, shears, press, cutting, bending, straightening, brakes, providing structural shapes to the metal plates according to the design blueprints.
• Their task also includes reading and understanding the blueprints, design & engineering specifications and orders to determine the machine mode, product methods, techniques and sequence of operations to be performed.
• Selecting right position, secures dies, blades, templates, squares shims, right gauges and tools are also the part of operations to be done by machine operators.
• Adjusting controls, fixing even a small error in the machine, position and clamping stops, adjusting rolls, regulating machining factors, pressure, depth of ram stroke and machine speed are all part of task.
• Making alignments according to layout marks, cutting blades manually or using hoist, positioning the work piece according to start and stop.
• Start machine and keep a close eye on the job produced by the machine, changing dies, adjusting machine parameters for different jobs and in successive phases are all part of typical duties to be performed by machine operators.
Machine operator should be a high school diploma graduate or should have equivalent job experience as a machine operator, setters or tenders. They should have knowledge to study and understand the blueprints of design to operate independently. Should have solid math background including algebra, trigonometry, geometry and basics of statistics. Machine operator normally learn thing by observing and assisting experienced senior officers, so it is required that operators should have certification of training on various machine or should have experience gained during apprenticeships.
Working hours, remuneration and benefits
Typical working hours range from 35 to 40 hours a week, with weekend off. They can work in shifts of morning or in evening. Overtime will be given if operator works more than his normal working hours. Salary depends upon the type of machine on which operators work and kind of job he does. An average salary varies based on the country of appointment and the experience levels. Workers also get other benefits like bonus when production and turnover is good, paid holidays, medical benefits that cover the family also and opportunity to earn premium pay.