Forging Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Set up, operate, or tend forging machines to taper, shape, or form metal or plastic parts.
Sample of reported job titles: Blacksmith, Cold Header Operator, Forge Operator, Forge Press Operator, Forger, Hammer Operator, Header Set-Up Operator, Machine Operator, Process Technician, Set Up Technician
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | 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
- Read work orders or blueprints to determine specified tolerances and sequences of operations for machine setup.
- Position and move metal wires or workpieces through a series of dies that compress and shape stock to form die impressions.
- Measure and inspect machined parts to ensure conformance to product specifications.
- Set up, operate, or tend presses and forging machines to perform hot or cold forging by flattening, straightening, bending, cutting, piercing, or other operations to taper, shape, or form metal.
- Turn handles or knobs to set pressures and depths of ram strokes and to synchronize machine operations.
- Install, adjust, and remove dies, synchronizing cams, forging hammers, and stop guides, using overhead cranes or other hoisting devices, and hand tools.
- Start machines to produce sample workpieces, and observe operations to detect machine malfunctions and to verify that machine setups conform to specifications.
- Confer with other workers about machine setups and operational specifications.
- Trim and compress finished forgings to specified tolerances.
- Remove dies from machines when production runs are finished.
- Repair, maintain, and replace parts on dies.
- Select, align, and bolt positioning fixtures, stops, and specified dies to rams and anvils, forging rolls, or presses and hammers.
- Sharpen cutting tools and drill bits, using bench grinders.
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- Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Industrial control software — Machine control software
- Inventory management software — Inventory tracking software
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- 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.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- 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.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
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- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- 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.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- 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.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- 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).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- 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 that there is a problem.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- 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.
- 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.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
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- 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.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- 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.
- 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 materials.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- 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.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Study blueprints or other instructions to determine equipment setup requirements.
- Maneuver workpieces in equipment during production.
- Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
- Operate metal or plastic forming equipment.
- Operate cutting equipment.
- Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
- Remove accessories, tools, or other parts from equipment.
- Conduct test runs of production equipment.
- Exchange information with colleagues.
- Trim excess material from workpieces.
- Maintain production or processing equipment.
- Repair production equipment or tools.
- Replace worn equipment components.
- Select production equipment according to product specifications.
- Set equipment guides, stops, spacers, or other fixtures.
- Operate grinding equipment.
- Sharpen cutting or grinding tools.
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- Face-to-Face Discussions — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 74% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Time Pressure — 53% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 50% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 56% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 58% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 52% responded “Important results.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 17% responded “More than half the time.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 45% responded “High responsibility.”
- In an Open Vehicle or Equipment — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 52% responded “Very important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 57% responded “Very important.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 53% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 41% responded “Some freedom.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 37% responded “High responsibility.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 23% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 37% responded “Important.”
- Physical Proximity — 47% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 38% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 28% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Consequence of Error — 36% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 55% responded “Limited freedom.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 32% responded “About half the time.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 26% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 50% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
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|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 orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|82||High school diploma or equivalent
|18||Less than high school diploma|
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Interest code: RCI Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- 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.
- 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.
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- 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.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- 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.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- 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.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
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- 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.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$19.92 hourly, $41,430 annual|
|Employment (2020)||13,700 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Decline (-1% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||1,100|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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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.
- Association for Manufacturing Technology
- Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International
- Forging Industry Association
- International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
- National Institute for Metalworking Skills
- National Tooling and Machining Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Metal and plastic machine workers
- Plastics Industry Association
- Precision Machined Products Association
- Precision Metalforming Association
- United Steelworkers
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