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Summary Report for:
51-4051.00 - Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders

Operate or tend furnaces, such as gas, oil, coal, electric-arc or electric induction, open-hearth, or oxygen furnaces, to melt and refine metal before casting or to produce specified types of steel.

Sample of reported job titles: Central Melt Specialist, Melt Room Operator, Melt Supervisor, Vessel Operator, Arc / Argon Oxygen Decarborization Melter (ARC / AOD Melter), Automatic Furnace Operator, Control Room Operator, Direct Casting Operator, Electric Melt Operator, Utility Person

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Tasks  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Draw smelted metal samples from furnaces or kettles for analysis, and calculate types and amounts of materials needed to ensure that materials meet specifications.
  • Drain, transfer, or remove molten metal from furnaces, and place it into molds, using hoists, pumps, or ladles.
  • Record production data, and maintain production logs.
  • Operate controls to move or discharge metal workpieces from furnaces.
  • Weigh materials to be charged into furnaces, using scales.
  • Regulate supplies of fuel and air, or control flow of electric current and water coolant to heat furnaces and adjust temperatures.
  • Inspect furnaces and equipment to locate defects and wear.
  • Observe air and temperature gauges or metal color and fluidity, and turn fuel valves or adjust controls to maintain required temperatures.
  • Observe operations inside furnaces, using television screens, to ensure that problems do not occur.
  • Remove impurities from the surface of molten metal, using strainers.

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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.
Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

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Skills

Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
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.
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.
Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.

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Abilities

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.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
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.
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.
Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
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.
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.

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Work Activities

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
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.
Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Work Context

Exposed to Contaminants — How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — How often does this job require exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings?
Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — How often does this job require working in extremely bright or inadequate lighting conditions?
Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — How often does this job require working in very hot (above 90 F degrees) or very cold (below 32 F degrees) temperatures?
Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — How often does this job require exposure to hazardous conditions?
Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — How much does this job require using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls?
Duration of Typical Work Week — Number of hours typically worked in one week.
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

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Job Zone

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)

There are 2 recognized apprenticeable specialties associated with this occupation:
Furnace Operator; Cupola Tender

To learn about specific apprenticeship opportunities, please consult the U.S. Department of Labor State Apprenticeship Information external site website.

For general information about apprenticeships, training, and partnerships with business, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship external site website.

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
68   High school diploma or equivalent Help
14   Less than high school diploma
13   Associate's degree

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Interests

Interest code: RIC

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.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
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.

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Work Styles

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.
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.
Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
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.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
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.

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Work Values

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.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Related Occupations

49-9045.00 Refractory Materials Repairers, Except Brickmasons
51-4031.00 Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic Green Occupation
51-4033.00 Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
51-4052.00 Pourers and Casters, Metal
51-4191.00 Heat Treating Equipment Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
51-7041.00 Sawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Wood
51-9023.00 Mixing and Blending Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders   Green Occupation Green
51-9041.00 Extruding, Forming, Pressing, and Compacting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
51-9121.00 Coating, Painting, and Spraying Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
51-9195.07 Molding and Casting Workers

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Wages & Employment Trends

National

Median wages (2012) $18.70 hourly, $38,900 annual
Employment (2012) 21,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Decline (-3% or lower) Decline (-3% or lower)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 2,700
Top industries (2012)

State & National

          CareerOneStop

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs
for Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders

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State & National Job Banks

          CareerOneStop

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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.

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