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Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
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Description: what do they do?
Set up, operate, or tend metal or plastic molding, casting, or coremaking machines to mold or cast metal or thermoplastic parts or products.
Also known as:
Process Technician, Core Machine Operator, Production Technician, Die Cast Technician, Mold Technician, Diecast Machine Operator, Press Operator, Mold Setter, Molder, Machine Operator

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: Consumer products are made with many metal and plastic parts. Metal and plastic machine workers set up the machines that produce the parts, and operate them during production. Hundreds of thousands of machine workers in the manufacturing industry work in different phases of production: following blueprints, they set up the machinery to produce the correct product. Machine setters prepare the machines before production and perform test runs of the initial batches, making repairs or adjustments as needed to ensure quality control. Then, operators take over, and may have to load the machine with metal or plastic materials or adjust machine controls during production. They periodically inspect the parts and conduct minor maintenance. At completion, they remove and test finished products, then document production numbers. Metal and plastic machine operators may specialize in a particular type of machine, for example: Computer-controlled machine tool operators operate robots to perform functions on workpieces. Computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers—called CNC workers— develop computer programs to control automated processes. They require more training than other machine workers. Extruding and drawing machine workers push out thermoplastic or metal materials in the form of tubes, rods, or hoses. Cutting, punching, and press machine workers run machines to saw, bend, or straighten materials. Molding, coremaking, and casting machine workers run machines to form metal or thermoplastic parts or products. Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate more than one type of cutting or forming machine tool or robot. Manufacturing facilities typically employ machine workers full time, usually in shifts that include evenings, weekends, and frequent overtime. With automation, multiple machines may be controlled at the same time, so workers train on different machines and gain a variety of skills. Because these workers operate powerful, high-speed machines, most usually wear protective equipment, such as safety glasses, earplugs, and steel-toed boots. Respirators are common for those in the plastics industry who work near materials that emit dangerous fumes or dust. Employers prefer to hire candidates with high school education, then train machine operators on the job.
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Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Utah
1,850
2016 Employment
2,180
2026 Employment
17%
Percent change
260
Annual projected job openings
United States
145,400
2016 Employment
123,600
2026 Employment
-15%
Percent change
12,900
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic in Utah
LocationUtahUnited States
10%$25,370$21,470
25%$27,920$25,130
Median$31,650$31,090
75%$42,910$39,550
90%$55,230$49,920


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2017 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • No work experience
  • 1 to 12 months on-the-job training

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
  • Inspect metal, plastic, or composite products.
  • 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.
  • Study blueprints or other instructions to determine equipment setup requirements.
  • Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
  • Monitor instruments to ensure proper production conditions.
  • Connect supply lines to production equipment or tools.
  • Operate cranes, hoists, or other moving or lifting equipment.
  • Remove accessories, tools, or other parts from equipment.
  • Apply protective or decorative finishes to workpieces or products.
  • Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
  • Package products for storage or shipment.
  • Remove products or workpieces from production equipment.
  • Clean production equipment.
  • Lubricate production equipment.
  • Maintain production or processing equipment.
  • Move products, materials, or equipment between work areas.
  • Remove workpieces from molds.
  • Mark products, workpieces, or equipment with identifying information.
  • Repair templates, patterns, or molds.
  • Replace worn equipment components.
  • Record operational or production data.
  • Select production equipment according to product specifications.
  • Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
  • Select production input materials.
  • Set equipment guides, stops, spacers, or other fixtures.
  • Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
  • Trim excess material from workpieces.
  • Operate grinding equipment.
  • Smooth metal surfaces or edges.
  • Fill cracks, imperfections, or holes in products or workpieces.
  • Mix substances to create chemical solutions.
  • Load materials into production equipment.
  • 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.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • 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.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - Keeping your arm or hand steady.
  • Manual Dexterity - Holding or moving items with your hands.
  • Control Precision - Quickly changing the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
  • Multilimb Coordination - Using your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • 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.
  • Operate hoists to position dies or patterns on foundry floors.
  • Remove parts, such as dies, from machines after production runs are finished.
  • 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.
  • Perform maintenance work such as cleaning and oiling machines.
  • Obtain and move specified patterns to work stations, manually or using hoists, and secure patterns to machines, using wrenches.
  • Remove finished or cured products from dies or molds, using hand tools, air hoses, and other equipment, stamping identifying information on products when necessary.
  • 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 and install blades, tools, or other attachments for each operation.
  • 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.
  • Smooth and clean inner surfaces of molds, using brushes, scrapers, air hoses, or grinding wheels, and fill imperfections with refractory material.
  • 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.
  • Shape molds to specified contours, using sand, and trowels and related tools.
  • Assemble shell halves, patterns, and foundry flasks, and reinforce core boxes, using glue, clamps, wire, bolts, rams, or machines.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.