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Career profile Press Operator

Also known as Extruder Operator, Extrusion Operator, Glass Forming Crew Member, Machine Operator, Press Operator, Tuber Operator

Press Operator

Also known as Extruder Operator, Extrusion Operator, Glass Forming Crew Member

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$25,830 - $55,300 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Mechanical
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Adjust machine components to regulate speeds, pressures, and temperatures, and amounts, dimensions, and flow of materials or ingredients.
  • Examine, measure, and weigh materials or products to verify conformance to standards, using measuring devices such as templates, micrometers, or scales.
  • Press control buttons to activate machinery and equipment.
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What does a Press Operator do?

Press Operators set up, operate, or tend machines, such as glass-forming machines, plodder machines, and tuber machines, to shape and form products such as glassware, food, rubber, soap, brick, tile, clay, wax, tobacco, or cosmetics.

What kind of tasks does a Press Operator perform regularly?

Press Operators are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Adjust machine components to regulate speeds, pressures, and temperatures, and amounts, dimensions, and flow of materials or ingredients.
  • Examine, measure, and weigh materials or products to verify conformance to standards, using measuring devices such as templates, micrometers, or scales.
  • Press control buttons to activate machinery and equipment.
  • Monitor machine operations and observe lights and gauges to detect malfunctions.
  • Notify supervisors when extruded filaments fail to meet standards.
  • Record and maintain production data, such as meter readings, and quantities, types, and dimensions of materials produced.
  • Clear jams, and remove defective or substandard materials or products.
  • Review work orders, specifications, or instructions to determine materials, ingredients, procedures, components, settings, and adjustments for extruding, forming, pressing, or compacting machines.
  • Turn controls to adjust machine functions, such as regulating air pressure, creating vacuums, and adjusting coolant flow.
  • Clean dies, arbors, compression chambers, and molds, using swabs, sponges, or air hoses.
  • Synchronize speeds of sections of machines when producing products involving several steps or processes.
  • Move materials, supplies, components, and finished products between storage and work areas, using work aids such as racks, hoists, and handtrucks.

The above responsibilities are specific to Press Operators. More generally, Press Operators are involved in several broader types of activities:

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.
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.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Press Operator salary?

The median salary for a Press Operator is $36,560, and the average salary is $38,440. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Press Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Press Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Press Operators earn less than $25,830 per year, 25% earn less than $29,780, 75% earn less than $46,010, and 90% earn less than $55,300.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Press Operators is expected to change by 1.1%, and there should be roughly 6,700 open positions for Press Operators every year.

Median annual salary
$36,560
Typical salary range
$25,830 - $55,300
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
1.1%

What personality traits are common among Press Operators?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Press Operator are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Press Operators typically have very strong Realistic interests. 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.

Also, Press Operators typically have strong Conventional interests. 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.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Press Operator tend to value Support, Independence, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Press Operators strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Press Operators moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Press Operators somewhat value 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.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Press Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and initiative.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Press Operators, ranked by importance:

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.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

What education and training do Press Operators need?

Working as a Press Operator usually requires a high school diploma.

Press Operators need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Press Operators

  • 16.6% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 52.2% completed high school or secondary school
  • 17.8% completed some college coursework
  • 6.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 4.5% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Press Operators

Press Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, mechanical, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Press Operators might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

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.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Food Production
Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.

Important Abilities needed by Press Operators

Press Operators must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Press Operators need abilities such as perceptual speed, rate control, and reaction time in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Press Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

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.
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.
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.

Critical Skills needed by Press Operators

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Press Operators frequently use skills like operations monitoring, operation and control, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Press Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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