What Do CNC Machine Operators Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life

Job Description

Job Description

CNC Machine Operators operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces. They also measure dimensions of finished workpieces to ensure conformance to specifications, using precision measuring instruments, templates, and fixtures.

Other tasks include:

  • Mount, install, align, and secure tools, attachments, fixtures, and workpieces on machines, using hand tools and precision measuring instruments.
  • Stop machines to remove finished workpieces or to change tooling, setup, or workpiece placement, according to required machining sequences.
  • Transfer commands from servers to computer numerical control (CNC) modules, using computer network links.
  • Check to ensure that workpieces are properly lubricated and cooled during machine operation.
  • Set up and operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic workpieces.
  • Insert control instructions into machine control units to start operation.

We asked CNC Machine Operators how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

50%

How meaningful is this job

44%


50% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 44% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, CNC Machine Operators stop machines to remove finished workpieces or to change tooling, setup, or workpiece placement, according to required machining sequences. They measure dimensions of finished workpieces to ensure conformance to specifications, using precision measuring instruments, templates, and fixtures.

A typical day for a Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operator, Metal and Plastic will also include:

  • Maintain machines and remove and replace broken or worn machine tools, using hand tools.
  • Control coolant systems.
  • Clean machines, tooling, or parts, using solvents or solutions and rags.
  • Lift workpieces to machines manually or with hoists or cranes.
  • Listen to machines during operation to detect sounds such as those made by dull cutting tools or excessive vibration, and adjust machines to compensate for problems.

We asked some CNC Machine Operators a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job? 17% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job? 33% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job? 77% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job? 16% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job? 12% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job? 32% said yes


Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, CNC Machine Operators also set up future jobs while machines are operating. They may also confer with supervisors or programmers to resolve machine malfunctions or production errors or to obtain approval to continue production.

On a weekly to monthly basis, CNC Machine Operators Examine electronic components for defects or completeness of laser-beam trimming, using microscopes. They might also Lay out and mark areas of parts to be shot peened and fill hoppers with shot.

In addition, they Write simple programs for computer-controlled machine tools.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Implement changes to machine programs, and enter new specifications, using computers.

To some CNC Machine Operators, it is also their responsibility to Review program specifications or blueprints to determine and set machine operations and sequencing, finished workpiece dimensions, or numerical control sequences.


Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operator, Metal and Plastic, you can expect to work more than 40 hours per week.

Do CNC Machine Operators work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
62%


Never
38%


Do CNC Machine Operators work outdoors?

Never
91%


Once a week
5%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Builders and The Organizers

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

You can read more about these career personality types here.



Learn more about CNC Machine Operators

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Related to Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic Job Description

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Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/production/metal-and-plastic-machine-workers.htm
http://www.ntma.org/
http://www.pmpa.org/
http://www.pmaef.org/



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