Chemical Equipment Operators and Tenders Career Video
Description: Operate or tend equipment to control chemical changes or reactions in the processing of industrial or consumer products. Equipment used includes devulcanizers, steam-jacketed kettles, and reactor vessels.
Chemical equipment operators run the machinery used to control chemical reactions in the manufacture of products from coffee creamer and ketchup to plastics, biomedical products, and industrial coatings. Chemical equipment operators spend much of their time monitoring equipment and processes. They operate a wide variety of equipment, such as pumps, valves, and blowers to ensure processes run smoothly, and record the readouts of gauges and instruments. Chemical equipment workers often handle chemical ingredients; they measure, weigh, and mix substances and add catalysts and reagents to trigger chemical changes. At different stages of production, they test product samples for specific gravity, chemical characteristics, pH levels and more. To keep conditions safe, they patrol work areas to detect leaks and other hazards. Work schedules are typically 40 hours a week, sometimes including long shifts. Workers must maintain focus and attention to detail, as chemicals may be dangerous if released or handled improperly. Production facilities are often loud, and workers wear protective equipment much of the time. Chemical equipment operators typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, although related college coursework or technical certificates may be helpful.