Set up, operate, or tend metal or plastic molding, casting, or coremaking machines to mold or cast metal or thermoplastic parts or products.
Sample of reported job titles: Core Machine Operator, Die Cast Technician, Diecast Machine Operator, Machine Operator, Mold Setter, Mold Technician, Molder, Process Technician, Production Technician
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
- Measure and visually inspect products for surface and dimension defects to ensure conformance to specifications, using precision measuring instruments.
- Observe continuous operation of automatic machines to ensure that products meet specifications and to detect jams or malfunctions, making adjustments as necessary.
- Set up, operate, or tend metal or plastic molding, casting, or coremaking machines to mold or cast metal or thermoplastic parts or products.
- Turn valves and dials of machines to regulate pressure, temperature, and speed and feed rates, and to set cycle times.
- Read specifications, blueprints, and work orders to determine setups, temperatures, and time settings required to mold, form, or cast plastic materials, as well as to plan production sequences.
- Observe meters and gauges to verify and record temperatures, pressures, and press-cycle times.
- Connect water hoses to cooling systems of dies, using hand tools.
- Remove parts, such as dies, from machines after production runs are finished.
- Perform maintenance work such as cleaning and oiling machines.
- Smooth and clean inner surfaces of molds, using brushes, scrapers, air hoses, or grinding wheels, and fill imperfections with refractory material.
- Operate hoists to position dies or patterns on foundry floors.
- Cool products after processing to prevent distortion.
- Install dies onto machines or presses and coat dies with parting agents, according to work order specifications.
- Unload finished products from conveyor belts, pack them in containers, and place containers in warehouses.
- Remove finished or cured products from dies or molds, using hand tools, air hoses, and other equipment, stamping identifying information on products when necessary.
- Obtain and move specified patterns to work stations, manually or using hoists, and secure patterns to machines, using wrenches.
- Select and install blades, tools, or other attachments for each operation.
- Repair or replace damaged molds, pipes, belts, chains, or other equipment, using hand tools, hand-powered presses, or jib cranes.
- Inventory and record quantities of materials and finished products, requisitioning additional supplies as necessary.
- Select coolants and lubricants, and start their flow.
- Adjust equipment and workpiece holding fixtures, such as mold frames, tubs, and cutting tables, to ensure proper functioning.
- Maintain inventories of materials.
- Position and secure workpieces on machines, and start feeding mechanisms.
- Trim excess material from parts, using knives, and grind scrap plastic into powder for reuse.
- Mix and measure compounds, or weigh premixed compounds, and dump them into machine tubs, cavities, or molds.
- Spray, smoke, or coat molds with compounds to lubricate or insulate molds, using acetylene torches or sprayers.
- Preheat tools, dies, plastic materials, or patterns, using blowtorches or other equipment.
- Pour or load metal or sand into melting pots, furnaces, molds, or hoppers, using shovels, ladles, or machines.
- Clamp metal and plywood strips around dies or patterns to form molds.
- Pull level and toggle latches to fill molds, to regulate tension on sheeting, and to release mold covers.
- Skim or pour dross, slag, or impurities from molten metal, using ladles, rakes, hoes, spatulas, or spoons.
Find occupations related to multiple tasks
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- Analytical or scientific software — HotFlo! Die-Shot Monitor
- Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — Intera Systems Hawk-i; RobotWare DieCast; Visi-Trak True-Trak 20/20
- Industrial control software — FANUC Robotics iRVision
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- 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.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
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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.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- 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.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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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.
- 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.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- 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.
- 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).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- 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.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- 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.
- 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).
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- 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.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Inspect metal, plastic, or composite products.
- Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
- Monitor equipment operation to ensure that products are not flawed.
- Operate metal or plastic forming equipment.
- Adjust temperature controls of ovens or other heating equipment.
- Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
- Study blueprints or other instructions to determine equipment setup requirements.
- Monitor instruments to ensure proper production conditions.
- Connect supply lines to production equipment or tools.
- Remove accessories, tools, or other parts from equipment.
- Apply lubricants or coolants to workpieces.
- Operate cranes, hoists, or other moving or lifting equipment.
- Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
- Apply protective or decorative finishes to workpieces or products.
- Clean production equipment.
- Lubricate production equipment.
- Maintain production or processing equipment.
- Package products for storage or shipment.
- Remove products or workpieces from production equipment.
- Mark products, workpieces, or equipment with identifying information.
- Move products, materials, or equipment between work areas.
- Remove workpieces from molds.
- Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
- Record operational or production data.
- Repair templates, patterns, or molds.
- Replace worn equipment components.
- Select production equipment according to product specifications.
- Select production input materials.
- Set equipment guides, stops, spacers, or other fixtures.
- Load materials into production equipment.
- Fill cracks, imperfections, or holes in products or workpieces.
- Smooth metal surfaces or edges.
- Mix substances to create chemical solutions.
- Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
- Operate grinding equipment.
- Trim excess material from workpieces.
- Apply parting agents or other solutions to molds.
- Heat material or workpieces to prepare for or complete production.
- Place materials into molds.
- Load items into ovens or furnaces.
- Build production molds.
- Skim impurities from molten metal.
Find occupations related to multiple detailed work activities
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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.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 74% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 76% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 77% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 63% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 64% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 72% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 46% responded “Extremely important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 43% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Time Pressure — 39% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 39% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 59% responded “Every day.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 53% responded “Extremely important.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 32% responded “Limited freedom.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 56% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 67% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 37% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 47% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 29% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 33% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 40% responded “Extremely important.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 45% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 37% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 38% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Level of Competition — 38% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 23% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 27% responded “Important results.”
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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|
|57||High school diploma or equivalent
|30||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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- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- 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.
- 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.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- 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.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- 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.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
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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)||$15.91 hourly, $33,100 annual|
|Employment (2020)||157,700 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Decline (-1% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||14,400|
|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
- Association of Rotational Molders
- Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International
- 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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