Heat Treating Equipment Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Set up, operate, or tend heating equipment, such as heat-treating furnaces, flame-hardening machines, induction machines, soaking pits, or vacuum equipment to temper, harden, anneal, or heat treat metal or plastic objects.
Sample of reported job titles: Batch Heat Treat Operator, Burner, Coating Line Worker, Furnace Operator, Heat Treat Furnace Operator, Heat Treat Operator, Heat Treat Technician, Heat Treater, Scarf and Anneal 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
- Read production schedules and work orders to determine processing sequences, furnace temperatures, and heat cycle requirements for objects to be heat-treated.
- Record times that parts are removed from furnaces to document that objects have attained specified temperatures for specified times.
- Adjust controls to maintain temperatures and heating times, using thermal instruments and charts, dials and gauges of furnaces, and color of stock in furnaces to make setting determinations.
- Start conveyors and open furnace doors to load stock, or signal crane operators to uncover soaking pits and lower ingots into them.
- Set up and operate or tend machines, such as furnaces, baths, flame-hardening machines, and electronic induction machines, that harden, anneal, and heat-treat metal.
- Remove parts from furnaces after specified times, and air dry or cool parts in water, oil brine, or other baths.
- Move controls to light gas burners and to adjust gas and water flow and flame temperature.
- Instruct new workers in machine operation.
- Determine flame temperatures, current frequencies, heating cycles, and induction heating coils needed, based on degree of hardness required and properties of stock to be treated.
- Determine types and temperatures of baths and quenching media needed to attain specified part hardness, toughness, and ductility, using heat-treating charts and knowledge of methods, equipment, and metals.
- Set up and operate die-quenching machines to prevent parts from warping.
- Examine parts to ensure metal shades and colors conform to specifications, using knowledge of metal heat-treating.
- Set and adjust speeds of reels and conveyors for prescribed time cycles to pass parts through continuous furnaces.
- Load parts into containers and place containers on conveyors to be inserted into furnaces, or insert parts into furnaces.
- Test parts for hardness, using hardness testing equipment, or by examining and feeling samples.
- Place completed workpieces on conveyors, using cold rods, tongs, or chain hoists, or signal crane operators to transport them to subsequent stations.
- Signal forklift operators to deposit or extract containers of parts into and from furnaces and quenching rinse tanks.
- Mount workpieces in fixtures, on arbors, or between centers of machines.
- Reduce heat when processing is complete to allow parts to cool in furnaces or machinery.
- Mount fixtures and industrial coils on machines, using hand tools.
- Heat billets, bars, plates, rods, and other stock to specified temperatures preparatory to forging, rolling, or processing, using oil, gas, or electrical furnaces.
- Position stock in furnaces, using tongs, chain hoists, or pry bars.
- Repair, replace, and maintain furnace equipment as needed, using hand tools.
- Clean oxides and scales from parts or fittings, using steam sprays or chemical and water baths.
- Stamp heat-treatment identification marks on parts, using hammers and punches.
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- Data base user interface and query software — Data entry software
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
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.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
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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.
- 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.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
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- 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.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- 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.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- 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.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- 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.
- Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- 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.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
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- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- 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.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — 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.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- 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.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- 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.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- 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
- Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
- Study blueprints or other instructions to determine equipment setup requirements.
- Determine metal or plastic production methods.
- Record operational or production data.
- Set up production or processing equipment.
- Adjust temperature controls of ovens or other heating equipment.
- Inspect metal, plastic, or composite products.
- Operate heating or drying equipment.
- Signal others to coordinate work activities.
- Load items into ovens or furnaces.
- Remove products or workpieces from production equipment.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate gas flow.
- Lift materials or workpieces using cranes or other lifting equipment.
- Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
- Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
- Heat material or workpieces to prepare for or complete production.
- Position raw materials on processing or production equipment.
- Instruct workers to use equipment or perform technical procedures.
- Maintain production or processing equipment.
- Repair production equipment or tools.
- Replace worn equipment components.
- Clean production equipment.
- Mark products, workpieces, or equipment with identifying information.
- Load materials into production equipment.
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- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 90% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 57% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 60% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 63% responded “Extremely important.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 63% responded “Extremely important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 56% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 44% responded “High responsibility.”
- Contact With Others — 49% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 51% responded “Extremely important.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 37% responded “Extremely important.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 63% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 39% responded “More than half the time.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 33% responded “More than half the time.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 25% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 37% responded “Some freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 36% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 36% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 46% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 34% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 46% responded “Some freedom.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 37% responded “Moderate results.”
- Letters and Memos — 29% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 36% responded “Important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 46% responded “Every day.”
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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|
|70||High school diploma or equivalent
|20||Less than high school diploma|
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Interest code: RC 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.
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- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- 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.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- 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.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- 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.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- 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.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- 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.
- 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)||$19.00 hourly, $39,530 annual|
|Employment (2020)||16,900 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Decline (-1% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||1,600|
|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
- United Steelworkers
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