Summary Report for:
51-4081.00 - Multiple Machine Tool Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Set up, operate, or tend more than one type of cutting or forming machine tool or robot.
Sample of reported job titles: Cell Technician, CNC Machine Setter (Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Setter), CNC Machinist (Computer Numerically Controlled Machinist), CNC Operator (Computer Numerically Controlled Operator), Die Setter, Machine Operator, Machine Technician, Machinist, Operator, Set-Up Person
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
- Observe machine operation to detect workpiece defects or machine malfunctions, adjusting machines as necessary.
- Set up and operate machines, such as lathes, cutters, shears, borers, millers, grinders, presses, drills, and auxiliary machines, to make metallic and plastic workpieces.
- Inspect workpieces for defects, and measure workpieces to determine accuracy of machine operation, using rules, templates, or other measuring instruments.
- Read blueprints or job orders to determine product specifications and tooling instructions and to plan operational sequences.
- Start machines and turn handwheels or valves to engage feeding, cooling, and lubricating mechanisms.
- Select, install, and adjust alignment of drills, cutters, dies, guides, and holding devices, using templates, measuring instruments, and hand tools.
- Move controls or mount gears, cams, or templates in machines to set feed rates and cutting speeds, depths, and angles.
- Position, adjust, and secure stock material or workpieces against stops, on arbors, or in chucks, fixtures, or automatic feeding mechanisms, manually or using hoists.
- Set machine stops or guides to specified lengths as indicated by scales, rules, or templates.
- Perform minor machine maintenance, such as oiling or cleaning machines, dies, or workpieces, or adding coolant to machine reservoirs.
- Measure and mark reference points and cutting lines on workpieces, using traced templates, compasses, and rules.
- Compute data such as gear dimensions and machine settings, applying knowledge of shop mathematics.
- Instruct other workers in machine set-up and operation.
- Change worn machine accessories, such as cutting tools and brushes, using hand tools.
- Make minor electrical and mechanical repairs and adjustments to machines and notify supervisors when major service is required.
- Extract or lift jammed pieces from machines, using fingers, wire hooks, or lift bars.
- Record operational data such as pressure readings, lengths of strokes, feed rates, and speeds.
- Remove burrs, sharp edges, rust, or scale from workpieces, using files, hand grinders, wire brushes, or power tools.
- Select the proper coolants and lubricants and start their flow.
- Align layout marks with dies or blades.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Adjustable wrenches
- Blow molding machines — Blow-molding machines
- Boring machines — Boring tools
- Buffing machine — Buffing machines
- Claw hammer — Claw hammers
- Cutting die — Metal cutting dies
- Cutting machines — Lathe machines; Punching machines; Slitting machines
- Desktop computers
- Ear plugs — Protective ear plugs
- Extruders — Extruding machines
- Facial shields — Face masks
- Forklift or elevator accessories or supplies — Mechanical booms
- Gear cutting tool — Gear hobbers
- Grease guns
- Grinders — Hand grinders
- Height gauges
- Hoists — Power hoists
- Hydraulic press brake — Power press brakes
- Injection molding machines
- Lifting hooks — Lift bars
- Loading equipment — Robotic loading equipment
- Locking pliers
- Metal band sawing machine — Band saws
- Metal polishing machine — Polishing machines
- Mill saw file — Single-cut mill saw files
- Milling machines
- Planing machines
- Power drills
- Power grinders — Grinding machines
- Respiration air supplying self contained breathing apparatus or accessories — Self-contained breathing apparatus
- Rulers — Steel rules
- Safety glasses
- Scales — Drafting scales
- Screwdrivers — Straight screwdrivers
- Shears — Hand shears
- Tangent bender — Tangent benders
- Taps — Metal cutting taps
- Track cranes — Overhead cranes
- Traveling column milling machine — Computer numerical controlled CNC milling machines
- Tube bending machine — Tube benders
- Turning machines
- Wing bender — Wing benders
- Wire brushes
Technology used in this occupation:
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- 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.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- 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.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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 Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- 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.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- 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.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- 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.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Select production input materials.
- Align parts or workpieces to ensure proper assembly.
- Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
- Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
- Record operational or production data.
- Smooth metal surfaces or edges.
- Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.
- Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate coolant flow.
- Measure materials to mark reference points, cutting lines, or other indicators.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of production materials or products.
- Operate cutting equipment.
- Calculate dimensions of workpieces, products, or equipment.
- Set equipment controls to meet cutting specifications.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of water, cleaning solutions, or other liquids.
- Operate grinding equipment.
- Operate metal or plastic forming equipment.
- Clean production equipment.
- Replace worn equipment components.
- Notify others of equipment repair or maintenance needs.
- Set equipment guides, stops, spacers, or other fixtures.
- Clear equipment jams.
- Lubricate production equipment.
- Maintain production or processing equipment.
- Repair production equipment or tools.
- Instruct workers to use equipment or perform technical procedures.
- 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 Hazardous Equipment — 89% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 68% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 79% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 58% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 66% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 56% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 48% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Time Pressure — 56% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 40% responded “Important.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 37% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 52% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 50% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 36% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 45% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 46% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 34% responded “Some freedom.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 43% responded “Very important results.”
- Consequence of Error — 41% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 46% responded “Very important.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 28% responded “Some freedom.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 40% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 33% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 73% responded “40 hours.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 49% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 37% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 31% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 42% responded “Every day.”
- Level of Competition — 34% responded “Extremely competitive.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 50% responded “Every day.”
|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|
|56||High school diploma or equivalent|
|16||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.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- 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.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- 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.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)||$16.42 hourly, $34,140 annual|
|Employment (2012)||86,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Decline (-3% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||16,600|
|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.
- Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA) , 6700 West Snowville Rd., Brecksville, OH 44141-3292. Phone: (440) 526-0300. Fax: (440) 526-5803.
- Precision Metalforming Association Educational Foundation (PMAEF) , 6363 Oak Tree Blvd., Independence, OH 44131-2500. Phone: (216) 901-8800. Fax: (216) 901-9190.