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: Arc / Argon Oxygen Decarborization Melter (ARC / AOD Melter), Automatic Furnace Operator, Central Melt Specialist, Control Room Operator, Direct Casting Operator, Electric Melt Operator, Melt Room Operator, Melt Supervisor, Utility Person, Vessel 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
- 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.
- Kindle fires, and shovel fuel and other materials into furnaces or onto conveyors by hand, with hoists, or by directing crane operators.
- Sprinkle chemicals over molten metal to bring impurities to the surface.
- Direct work crews in the cleaning and repair of furnace walls and flooring.
- Prepare material to load into furnaces, including cleaning, crushing, or applying chemicals, by using crushing machines, shovels, rakes, or sprayers.
- Scrape accumulations of metal oxides from floors, molds, and crucibles, and sift and store them for reclamation.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Ammeters — Digital ammeters
- Belt conveyors — Conveyor belt systems; Pivoting conveyors
- Blow torch — Oxygen lances
- Closed circuit television CCTV system — Closed circuit television monitors
- Control unit — Control computers
- Core drying ovens — Drying systems
- Ear plugs — Hearing protection plugs
- Electric furnace — Electric arc furnaces
- Electrical or power regulators — Rheostats
- Evaporative coolers — Evaporative cooling systems
- Flowmeters — Fluid flow meters
- Forklifts — Wheeled forklifts
- Foundry ladles — Foundry casting ladles; Foundry transfer ladles; Foundry treatment ladles
- Foundry molds
- Foundry shovels
- Furnaces — Gas furnaces; Oil furnaces; Removable crucible furnaces; Vacuum furnaces (see all 14 examples)
- Goggles — Chemical protection goggles
- Hoists — Power hoists
- Loading equipment — Scrap charging buckets
- Overhead crane — Foundry overhead cranes
- Pressure indicators — Air gauges; Pressure gauges
- Protective gloves — Heat reflective gloves
- Pulverizing machinery — Slag crushing machines
- Respirators — Protective respirators
- Roller conveyors — Holding conveyors
- Safety glasses — Industrial safety glasses
- Scissor lift or lift table — Scissor lifts
- Single gas monitors — Helium leak detectors
- Spray gun — Sprayers
- Surface thermometers — Digital thermometers
- Vacuum pumps — Industrial vacuum pumps
- Vibrating conveyors — Vibratory conveyors
- Voltage or current meters — Digital voltmeters
- Wattmeters — Digital wattmeters
- Weigh belt feeder — Feed scales
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
- 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.
- Glare Sensitivity — The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- 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.
- 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.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
Detailed Work Activities
- Calculate specific material, equipment, or labor requirements for production.
- Collect samples of materials or products for testing.
- Place materials into molds.
- Operate cranes, hoists, or other moving or lifting equipment.
- Direct operational or production activities.
- Monitor instruments to ensure proper production conditions.
- Record operational or production data.
- Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.
- Measure ingredients or substances to be used in production processes.
- Adjust temperature controls of ovens or other heating equipment.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate gas flow.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate coolant flow.
- Adjust flow of electricity to tools or production equipment.
- Inspect production equipment.
- Load materials into production equipment.
- Clean production equipment.
- Clean materials to prepare them for production.
- Signal others to coordinate work activities.
- Skim impurities from molten metal.
- Ignite fuel to activate heating equipment.
- Exposed to Contaminants — 98% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 90% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 85% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 85% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 70% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 75% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 22% responded “Very important.”
- Contact With Others — 12% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 66% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 15% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 45% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 13% responded “More than half the time.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 34% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 43% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 46% responded “Very important.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 22% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 45% responded “Every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 35% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Physical Proximity — 36% responded “Very close (near touching).”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 43% responded “High responsibility.”
- Time Pressure — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 40% responded “Very important.”
- In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — 26% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 47% responded “Every day.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 15% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 17% responded “About half the time.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 54% responded “Moderate results.”
- Level of Competition — 52% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 48% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 53% responded “Very important.”
- Letters and Memos — 41% responded “Never.”
|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|
|68||High school diploma or equivalent|
|14||Less than high school diploma|
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$19.78 hourly, $41,140 annual|
|Employment (2012)||21,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Decline (-3% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||2,700|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "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.
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, 2014-15 Edition.