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, Deburrer, Die Maintenance Technician, Finisher, Grinder, Grinder Operator, Grinding Machine Operator, Process Equipment Operator
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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
- Inspect or measure finished workpieces to determine conformance to specifications, using measuring instruments, such as gauges or micrometers.
- Measure workpieces and lay out work, using precision measuring devices.
- Observe machine operations to detect any problems, making necessary adjustments to correct problems.
- Move machine controls to index workpieces, and to adjust machines for pre-selected operational settings.
- Study blueprints, work orders, or machining instructions to determine product specifications, tool requirements, and operational sequences.
- Select machine tooling to be used, using knowledge of machine and production requirements.
- 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.
- 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.
- Set and adjust machine controls according to product specifications, using knowledge of machine operation.
- Brush or spray lubricating compounds on workpieces, or turn valve handles and direct flow of coolant against tools and workpieces.
- Lift and position workpieces, manually or with hoists, and secure them in hoppers or on machine tables, faceplates, or chucks, using clamps.
- Repair or replace machine parts, using hand tools, or notify engineering personnel when corrective action is required.
- Compute machine indexings and settings for specified dimensions and base reference points.
- Maintain stocks of machine parts and machining tools.
- Thread and hand-feed materials through machine cutters or abraders.
- Adjust air cylinders and setting stops to set traverse lengths and feed arm strokes.
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- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP
- Industrial control software — Mazak Mazatrol SMART CNC
- Inventory management software — Manufacturing reporting system
- Operating system software — Microsoft Windows
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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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.
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- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Operations 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.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- 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.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
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- 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).
- 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.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
- 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.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- 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).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Wrist-Finger Speed — The ability to make fast, simple, repeated movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists.
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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).
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Monitoring 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.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — 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.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- 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.
- 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.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- 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.
- 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.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
- Lay out parts to prepare for assembly.
- Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.
- Operate grinding equipment.
- Read work orders or other instructions to determine product specifications or materials requirements.
- Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
- Select production equipment according to product specifications.
- Calculate dimensions of workpieces, products, or equipment.
- Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
- Operate cutting equipment.
- Reshape metal workpieces to established specifications.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate coolant flow.
- Apply lubricants or coolants to workpieces.
- Lift materials or workpieces using cranes or other lifting equipment.
- Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
- Notify others of equipment repair or maintenance needs.
- Repair production equipment or tools.
- Replace worn equipment components.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Feed materials or products into or through equipment.
- Set equipment guides, stops, spacers, or other fixtures.
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- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 93% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 75% responded “Extremely important.”
- Time Pressure — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 56% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 54% responded “Extremely important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 46% responded “Some freedom.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 58% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 39% responded “Some freedom.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 47% responded “Important results.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 57% responded “40 hours.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 41% responded “More than half the time.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 39% responded “Extremely important.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 30% responded “Very important.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 30% responded “High responsibility.”
- Contact With Others — 36% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 41% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 44% responded “Important.”
- Physical Proximity — 36% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 28% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Consequence of Error — 27% responded “Very serious.”
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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|
|80||High school diploma or equivalent
|4||Some college, no degree|
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Interest code: R 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.
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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.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$17.73 hourly, $36,880 annual|
|Employment (2020)||69,400 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Decline (-1% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||7,500|
|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
- National Institute for Metalworking Skills
- National Tooling and Machining Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Metal and plastic machine workers
- Precision Machined Products Association
- Precision Metalforming Association
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