Plating Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
Set up, operate, or tend plating machines to coat metal or plastic products with chromium, zinc, copper, cadmium, nickel, or other metal to protect or decorate surfaces. Typically, the product being coated is immersed in molten metal or an electrolytic solution.
Sample of reported job titles: Anodizer, Anodizing Line Operator, Chrome Plater, Coater Associate, Coater Operator, Electro Plater, Galvanizer, Line Operator, Machine Operator, Plater
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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
- Immerse workpieces in coating solutions or liquid metal or plastic for specified times.
- Adjust dials to regulate flow of current and voltage supplied to terminals to control plating processes.
- Inspect coated or plated areas for defects, such as air bubbles or uneven coverage.
- Set up, operate, or tend plating or coating machines to coat metal or plastic products with chromium, zinc, copper, cadmium, nickel, or other metal to protect or decorate surfaces.
- Observe gauges to ensure that machines are operating properly, making adjustments or stopping machines when problems occur.
- Remove objects from solutions at periodic intervals and observe objects to verify conformance to specifications.
- Maintain production records.
- Remove excess materials or impurities from objects, using air hoses or grinding machines.
- Examine completed objects to determine thicknesses of metal deposits, or measure thicknesses by using instruments such as micrometers.
- Rinse coated objects in cleansing liquids and dry them with cloths, centrifugal driers, or by tumbling in sawdust-filled barrels.
- Determine sizes and compositions of objects to be plated, and amounts of electrical current and time required.
- Test machinery to ensure that it is operating properly.
- Measure or weigh materials, using rulers, calculators, and scales.
- Measure, mark, and mask areas to be excluded from plating.
- Immerse objects to be coated or plated into cleaning solutions, or spray objects with conductive solutions to prepare them for plating.
- Read production schedules to determine setups of equipment and machines.
- Suspend objects, such as parts or molds from cathode rods, or negative terminals, and immerse objects in plating solutions.
- Suspend sticks or pieces of plating metal from anodes, or positive terminals, and immerse metal in plating solutions.
- Adjust controls to set temperatures of coating substances and speeds of machines and equipment.
- Monitor and measure thicknesses of electroplating on component parts to verify conformance to specifications, using micrometers.
- Operate hoists to place workpieces onto machine feed carriages or spindles.
- Position and feed materials into processing machines, by hand or by using automated equipment.
- Position objects to be plated in frames, or suspend them from positive or negative terminals of power supplies.
- Operate sandblasting equipment to roughen and clean surfaces of workpieces.
- Spray coating in specified patterns according to instructions.
- Clean and maintain equipment, using water hoses and scrapers.
- Plate small objects, such as nuts or bolts, using motor-driven barrels.
- Clean workpieces, using wire brushes.
- Mix and test solutions, and turn valves to fill tanks with solutions.
- Replace worn parts and adjust equipment components, using hand tools.
- Place plated or coated materials on racks and transfer them to ovens to dry for specified periods of time.
- Measure and set stops, rolls, brushes, and guides on automatic feeders and conveying equipment or coating machines, using micrometers, rules, and hand tools.
- Position containers to receive parts, and load or unload materials in containers, using dollies or handtrucks.
- Attach nozzles, position guns, connect hoses, and thread wire to set up metal-spraying machines.
- Perform equipment maintenance, such as cleaning tanks and lubricating moving parts of conveyors.
- Install gears and holding devices on conveyor equipment.
Find occupations related to multiple tasks
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- Compliance software — Hazardous materials management HMS software
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Procurement software — Oracle Advanced Procurement
- 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.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- 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.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
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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.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- 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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- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- 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.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- 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.
- 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 Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- 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.
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- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- 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.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- 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.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- 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.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- 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.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Immerse objects or workpieces in cleaning or coating solutions.
- Adjust flow of electricity to tools or production equipment.
- Operate painting or coating equipment.
- Inspect finishes of workpieces or finished products.
- Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning.
- Record operational or production data.
- Remove products or workpieces from production equipment.
- Operate grinding equipment.
- Trim excess material from workpieces.
- Conduct test runs of production equipment.
- Determine metal or plastic production methods.
- Measure ingredients or substances to be used in production processes.
- Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
- Measure materials to mark reference points, cutting lines, or other indicators.
- Apply protective or decorative finishes to workpieces or products.
- Study blueprints or other instructions to determine equipment setup requirements.
- Clean workpieces or finished products.
- Feed materials or products into or through equipment.
- Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
- Operate cranes, hoists, or other moving or lifting equipment.
- Clean production equipment.
- Maintain production or processing equipment.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of production materials or products.
- Load items into ovens or furnaces.
- Mix substances to create chemical solutions.
- Replace worn equipment components.
- Set equipment guides, stops, spacers, or other fixtures.
- Load materials into production equipment.
- Position containers to receive materials or workpieces.
- Connect supply lines to production equipment or tools.
- Lubricate production equipment.
- Install mechanical components in production equipment.
- Heat material or workpieces to prepare for or complete production.
- Cut industrial materials in preparation for fabrication or processing.
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- Time Pressure — 94% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 93% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 86% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 77% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 56% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Standing — 53% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 46% responded “Very important.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 44% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Contact With Others — 44% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 39% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 64% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 66% responded “40 hours.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 43% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 30% responded “More than half the time.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 41% responded “Very important.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 40% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 35% responded “More than half the time.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 48% responded “Very important.”
- Consequence of Error — 36% responded “Very serious.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 50% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 52% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 39% responded “Some freedom.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 31% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 49% 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|
|49||Less than high school diploma|
|47||High school diploma or equivalent
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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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- 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.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- 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.
- 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.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- 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.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- 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.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful 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)||$16.75 hourly, $34,850 annual|
|Employment (2020)||39,300 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Decline (-1% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||3,800|
|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 Association for Surface Finishing
- 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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