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Career profile Punch Press Operator

Also known as Die Setter, Fabrication Operator, Machine Operator, Machine Setter, Press Operator, Punch Press Operator, Saw Operator, Set-Up Operator, Slitter Operator

Punch Press Operator

Also known as Die Setter, Fabrication Operator, Machine Operator

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$26,400 - $54,630 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Quality Control Analysis
Knowledge Areas
  • Mechanical
  • Production and Processing
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Examine completed workpieces for defects, such as chipped edges or marred surfaces and sort defective pieces according to types of flaws.
  • Measure completed workpieces to verify conformance to specifications, using micrometers, gauges, calipers, templates, or rulers.
  • Set stops on machine beds, change dies, and adjust components, such as rams or power presses, when making multiple or successive passes.
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What does a Punch Press Operator do?

Punch Press Operators set up, operate, or tend machines to saw, cut, shear, slit, punch, crimp, notch, bend, or straighten metal or plastic material.

What kind of tasks does a Punch Press Operator perform regularly?

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

  • Examine completed workpieces for defects, such as chipped edges or marred surfaces and sort defective pieces according to types of flaws.
  • Measure completed workpieces to verify conformance to specifications, using micrometers, gauges, calipers, templates, or rulers.
  • Set stops on machine beds, change dies, and adjust components, such as rams or power presses, when making multiple or successive passes.
  • Set up, operate, or tend machines to saw, cut, shear, slit, punch, crimp, notch, bend, or straighten metal or plastic material.
  • Start machines, monitor their operations, and record operational data.
  • Test and adjust machine speeds or actions, according to product specifications, using gauges and hand tools.
  • Install, align, and lock specified punches, dies, cutting blades, or other fixtures in rams or beds of machines, using gauges, templates, feelers, shims, and hand tools.
  • Read work orders or production schedules to determine specifications, such as materials to be used, locations of cutting lines, or dimensions and tolerances.
  • Position guides, stops, holding blocks, or other fixtures to secure and direct workpieces, using hand tools and measuring devices.
  • Position, align, and secure workpieces against fixtures or stops on machine beds or on dies.
  • Adjust ram strokes of presses to specified lengths, using hand tools.
  • Load workpieces, plastic material, or chemical solutions into machines.
  • Clean and lubricate machines.
  • Mark identifying data on workpieces.
  • Clean work area.
  • Plan sequences of operations, applying knowledge of physical properties of workpiece materials.
  • Operate forklifts to deliver materials.
  • Lubricate workpieces with oil.

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

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
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.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

What is a Punch Press Operator salary?

The median salary for a Punch Press Operator is $36,980, and the average salary is $38,650. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Punch Press Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Punch Press Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Punch Press Operators earn less than $26,400 per year, 25% earn less than $30,440, 75% earn less than $45,630, and 90% earn less than $54,630.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Punch Press Operators is expected to change by -2.5%, and there should be roughly 17,600 open positions for Punch Press Operators every year.

Median annual salary
$36,980
Typical salary range
$26,400 - $54,630
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-2.5%

What personality traits are common among Punch 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 Punch Press Operator are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Punch 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, Punch 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 Punch Press Operator tend to value Support, Relationships, and Independence.

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

Second, Punch Press Operators moderately 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.

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

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 Punch Press Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and independence.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Punch 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.
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.
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 Punch Press Operators need?

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

Punch 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 Punch Press Operators

  • 17.3% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 52.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 20.1% completed some college coursework
  • 6.8% earned a Associate's degree
  • 3.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.3% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Punch Press Operators

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

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

Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
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.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
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.

Important Abilities needed by Punch Press Operators

Punch 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, Punch Press Operators need abilities such as arm-hand steadiness, control precision, and near vision in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Punch Press Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

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.
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).
Reaction Time
The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
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 Punch 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.

Punch Press Operators frequently use skills like operations monitoring, operation and control, and quality control analysis to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Punch 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.
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.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

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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