Summary Report for:
51-4033.00 - Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Set up, operate, or tend grinding and related tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic work pieces.
Sample of reported job titles: Cell Operator, Centerless Grinder Operator, CNC Operator (Computer Numerically Controlled Operator), Deburrer, Die Maintenance Technician, Fiberglass Finisher, Grinder, Grinder Operator, Machine Setter, Process Equipment Operator
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
- Inspect or measure finished workpieces to determine conformance to specifications, using measuring instruments such as gauges or micrometers.
- Lift and position workpieces, manually or with hoists, and secure them in hoppers or on machine tables, faceplates, or chucks, using clamps.
- Set up, operate, or tend grinding and related tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic workpieces.
- Observe machine operations to detect any problems, making necessary adjustments to correct problems.
- Set and adjust machine controls according to product specifications, using knowledge of machine operation.
- Measure workpieces and lay out work, using precision measuring devices.
- Select machine tooling to be used, using knowledge of machine and production requirements.
- Study blueprints, work orders, or machining instructions to determine product specifications, tool requirements, and operational sequences.
- Mount and position tools in machine chucks, spindles, or other tool holding devices, using hand tools.
- Activate machine start-up switches to grind, lap, hone, debar, shear, or cut workpieces, according to specifications.
- Move machine controls to index workpieces, and to adjust machines for pre-selected operational settings.
- Brush or spray lubricating compounds on workpieces, or turn valve handles and direct flow of coolant against tools and workpieces.
- Compute machine indexings and settings for specified dimensions and base reference points.
- Slide spacers between buffs on spindles to set spacing.
- Thread and hand-feed materials through machine cutters or abraders.
- Adjust air cylinders and setting stops to set traverse lengths and feed arm strokes.
- Repair or replace machine parts, using hand tools, or notify engineering personnel when corrective action is required.
- Maintain stocks of machine parts and machining tools.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Angle grinder — Angle grinders
- Bench clamp — Bench clamps
- Binocular light compound microscopes — Computerized microscopes
- Buffing machine — Buffing machines
- Calipers — Digital calipers; Vernier calipers
- Chamfering machine — Pipe chamfering machines
- Chuck keys — Chuck wrenches
- Comparators — Digital comparators
- Coordinate measuring machines CMM
- Deburring tool — Hand deburring tools
- Gage block set — Gage blocks
- Hoists — Power hoists
- Hole gauge — Bore gauges
- Metal polishing machine — Metal polishing machines
- Micrometers — Digital micrometers
- Overhead crane — Electric overhead travelling EOT cranes
- Precision surface plate — Metalworking surface plates
- Radius gauge — Digital radius gauges
- Surface grinding machine — Computer numerical control CNC grinding machines; Outer diameter OD grinders; Surface grinding machines; Universal grinding machines (see all 6 examples)
- Thickness measuring devices — Gage pins; Limit gauges
- Vibratory or barrel finishing machine — Barrel finishing machines
Technology used in this occupation:
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- 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.
- 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.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- 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.
- 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.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- 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.
- 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.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- 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.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- 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.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- 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).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
- 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.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- 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.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
- Wrist-Finger Speed — The ability to make fast, simple, repeated movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- 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.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- 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.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- 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.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Detailed Work Activities
- Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
- Select production equipment according to product specifications.
- Read work orders or other instructions to determine product specifications or materials requirements.
- Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
- Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
- Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.
- Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate coolant flow.
- Operate cutting equipment.
- Calculate dimensions of workpieces, products, or equipment.
- Operate grinding equipment.
- Feed materials or products into or through equipment.
- Notify others of equipment repair or maintenance needs.
- Lift materials or workpieces using cranes or other lifting equipment.
- Replace worn equipment components.
- Set equipment guides, stops, spacers, or other fixtures.
- Lay out parts to prepare for assembly.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Repair production equipment or tools.
- Reshape metal workpieces to established specifications.
- Apply lubricants or coolants to workpieces.
- Exposed to Contaminants — 99% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 91% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 91% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 70% responded “Extremely important.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 79% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 58% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 49% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 62% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 49% responded “Extremely important.”
- Time Pressure — 42% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 33% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 40% responded “Some freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 36% responded “Some freedom.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 33% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 48% responded “More than half the time.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 52% responded “40 hours.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 29% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 34% responded “Important.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 41% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 38% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Consequence of Error — 33% responded “Fairly serious.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 30% responded “Minor results.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 36% responded “Limited responsibility.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 40% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Degree of Automation — 37% responded “Highly automated.”
|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|
|75||High school diploma or equivalent|
|12||Less than high school diploma|
Interest code: R
- 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.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- 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.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- 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.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- 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)||$15.70 hourly, $32,660 annual|
|Employment (2014)||71,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Decline (-2% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||29,800|
|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.