Summary Report for:
51-4021.00 - Extruding and Drawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Set up, operate, or tend machines to extrude or draw thermoplastic or metal materials into tubes, rods, hoses, wire, bars, or structural shapes.
Sample of reported job titles: Equipment Technician, Extruder Operator, Extrusion Operator, Extrusion Press Operator, Machine Operator, Metal Inspector, Operator, Setup Operator, Wire Mill Operator, Wire Mill Rover
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Measure and examine extruded products to locate defects and to check for conformance to specifications, adjusting controls as necessary to alter products.
- Determine setup procedures and select machine dies and parts, according to specifications.
- Start machines and set controls to regulate vacuum, air pressure, sizing rings, and temperature, and to synchronize speed of extrusion.
- Reel extruded products into rolls of specified lengths and weights.
- Install dies, machine screws, and sizing rings on machines that extrude thermoplastic or metal materials.
- Change dies on extruding machines according to production line changes.
- Clean work areas.
- Troubleshoot, maintain, and make minor repairs to equipment.
- Weigh and mix pelletized, granular, or powdered thermoplastic materials and coloring pigments.
- Test physical properties of products with testing devices such as acid-bath testers, burst testers, and impact testers.
- Load machine hoppers with mixed materials, using augers, or stuff rolls of plastic dough into machine cylinders.
- Maintain an inventory of materials.
- Adjust controls to draw or press metal into specified shapes and diameters.
- Replace worn dies when products vary from specifications.
- Select nozzles, spacers, and wire guides, according to diameters and lengths of rods.
- Operate shearing mechanisms to cut rods to specified lengths.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Air dryers — Batch dryers
- Belt conveyors — Extrusion press conveyors; Plate conveyors; Slat conveyors
- Blowers — Air cooling systems
- Calipers — Digital calipers
- Compression die adaptor — Die changers; Die holders; Die shuffles; Die slides
- Compressor control panels — Steam controls
- Counters — Production counters
- Cylinder gauge — Ring gauges
- Desktop computers
- Electrical control panels for generators — Electrical panel boards
- Extruders — Blown film extruders; Single screw extruders; Tubing extruders; Twin screw extruders (see all 6 examples)
- Floor or platform scales — Industrial floor scales
- Forklifts — Wheeled forklifts
- Furnaces — Billet heating furnaces
- Go or no go gauge — Snap gauges
- Hydraulic classifier — Pellet classifiers
- Impact testers — Variable impact testers
- Injection molding machines
- Intensive mixers — Paddle blenders; Ribbon blenders; Sigma blade mixers
- Laminators — Nip rolls
- Loading equipment — Billet loaders
- Metal shearing machine — Hot log shears; Metal shearing machines
- Micrometers — Digital micrometers
- Packaging hoppers
- Pin gauge — Pin gauge sets
- Pipe bending mandrel — Metal bending mandrels
- Pneumatic lubricators — Lubrication systems
- Quench machine — Horizontal cooling tanks
- Roller conveyors
- Rubber or plastic extrusion dies — Braiders; Dummy blocks; Plastic profile extrusion dies; Plastic sheet extrusion dies (see all 5 examples)
- Rubber or plastic mills — Two-roll mills
- Screw conveyor — Conveyor augers
- Stackers — Sheet stackers
- Steel holding tank — Dye water tank farm systems
- Tape measures — Measuring tapes
- Tensile strength tester — Burst testers
- Vacuum pumps — Automatic vacuum pumps
- Wire drawing machine — Extrusion pullers; Wire drawing machines
Technology used in this occupation:
- 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.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Detailed Work Activities
- Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
- Select production equipment according to product specifications.
- Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
- Diagnose equipment malfunctions.
- Mix substances to create chemical solutions.
- Measure ingredients or substances to be used in production processes.
- Adjust temperature controls of ovens or other heating equipment.
- Load materials into production equipment.
- Operate cutting equipment.
- Package products for storage or shipment.
- Operate metal or plastic forming equipment.
- Inspect metal, plastic, or composite products.
- Clean work areas.
- Determine production equipment settings.
- Replace worn equipment components.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Maintain production or processing equipment.
- Repair production equipment or tools.
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 76% responded “Extremely important.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 88% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing
- Time Pressure — 64% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 65% responded “Very important results.”
- Exposed to Contaminants
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 61% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Consequence of Error
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 47% responded “More than half the time.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 22% responded “Never.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 44% responded “Extremely important.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 12% responded “Never.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 64% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 64% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 59% responded “Some freedom.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 30% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 39% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 29% responded “More than half the time.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 34% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 42% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 43% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 41% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 43% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 36% responded “Very little freedom.”
|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|85||High school diploma or equivalent|
|4||Less than high school diploma|
Interest code: RC
- 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.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$15.68 hourly, $32,610 annual|
|Employment (2014)||73,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Decline (-2% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||18,100|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Metal and plastic machine workers . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.