From children's toys to computer hardware to aeroplanes, manufacturing plants produce goods that are sent out to the marketplace. Some of the individuals responsible for producing those goods are called factory assembly line workers. These are the front-line workers, the ones who use their hands and machinery to put components together and create finished products.
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The primary duty of a factory assembly line worker is to put together finished products and the various pieces that go together to form finished products. Depending on the manufacturing facility and the specific product, the assembly line worker might use various tools and machines, in conjunction with his hands, to complete his work. He is responsible for fitting components together, which sometimes involves cutting or trimming a component. The worker might use computers, robots and/or sensing technologies.
The factory assembly line worker is often an integral part of the quality control process. As such, she identifies defective components and finished goods and alerts her superiors. She might also be responsible for setting, reprogramming, calibrating and maintaining computer systems, robotic arms and other pieces of machinery. Housekeeping is additionally a part of the factory assembly line worker's responsibilities; she is held accountable for keeping her workstation clean.
Factories can range from high-tech to low-tech and from bright and spotless to dirty and dark. Most factories are loud. An assembly line worker may accrue overtime, but these jobs are usually completed within a 40-hour work week. Shift work is common, especially in factories that run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The worker may need to wear protective clothing, such as goggles, earplugs or a hard hat. In some cases, workers are exposed to chemicals or fumes and/or are required to lift heavy items.
In most cases, a factory assembly line worker needs to possess a high school diploma or GED to secure a job. In more advanced fields, though, where skilled work is completed, for example working with electronics or motor vehicle products, an associate's degree or completion of vocational-technical training might be needed. Employers usually seek assemblers with strong manual dexterity and good eyesight.
Workers should possess a team orientation, a commitment to quality, a respect for following processes and procedures, a systematic approach to task accomplishment and a strong task focus. The work can be repetitive, so they need to be persistent.
Factory assembly line workers are generally paid hourly, and the wage varies by industry, geographic location and the skill needed to operate the machinery/computers. A May 2008 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey found the median hourly wage of assemblers to be £8.0, with the middle 50 per cent earning between £6.30 and £10.10. Assemblers in motor vehicle manufacturing earned an average of £16.10 per hour, while workers in plastics product manufacturing earned £7.30 per hour on average.
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