Career summary

Details for Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic


Description

Operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces.

Tasks

  • Measure dimensions of finished workpieces to ensure conformance to specifications, using precision measuring instruments, templates, and fixtures.
  • Mount, install, align, and secure tools, attachments, fixtures, and workpieces on machines, using hand tools and precision measuring instruments.
  • Stop machines to remove finished workpieces or to change tooling, setup, or workpiece placement, according to required machining sequences.
  • Transfer commands from servers to computer numerical control (CNC) modules, using computer network links.
  • Check to ensure that workpieces are properly lubricated and cooled during machine operation.
  • Set up and operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic workpieces.
  • Insert control instructions into machine control units to start operation.
  • Review program specifications or blueprints to determine and set machine operations and sequencing, finished workpiece dimensions, or numerical control sequences.
  • Listen to machines during operation to detect sounds such as those made by dull cutting tools or excessive vibration and adjust machines to compensate for problems.
  • Remove and replace dull cutting tools.
  • Monitor machine operation and control panel displays and compare readings to specifications to detect malfunctions.
  • Enter commands or load control media, such as tapes, cards, or disks, into machine controllers to retrieve programmed instructions.
  • Modify cutting programs to account for problems encountered during operation and save modified programs.
  • Calculate machine speed and feed ratios and the size and position of cuts.
  • Adjust machine feed and speed, change cutting tools, or adjust machine controls when automatic programming is faulty or if machines malfunction.
  • Lift workpieces to machines manually or with hoists or cranes.
  • Stack or load finished items or place items on conveyor systems.
  • Control coolant systems.
  • Maintain machines and remove and replace broken or worn machine tools, using hand tools.
  • Confer with supervisors or programmers to resolve machine malfunctions or production errors or to obtain approval to continue production.
  • Implement changes to machine programs and enter new specifications, using computers.
  • Set up future jobs while machines are operating.
  • Clean machines, tooling, or parts, using solvents or solutions and rags.
  • Input initial part dimensions into machine control panels.
  • Write simple programs for computer-controlled machine tools.
  • Lay out and mark areas of parts to be shot-peened and fill hoppers with shot.
  • Examine electronic components for defects or completeness of laser-beam trimming, using microscopes.

Interests

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Education, training, experience

  • Education - Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

Knowledge

  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

Skills

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

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