Machine operators use different equipment depending on what type of product is being manufactured. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment as a machine operator is expected to decline over the next decade. The best employment opportunities will be for machine operators who can run multiple types of equipment. Hourly wages for machine operators vary by company and range from £8.80 to £12.70 as of May 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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A machine operator ensures equipment is operating correctly by utilising monitors and gauges on the equipment. These monitors and gauges record each piece manufactured and warn the operator of any unusual or defective events that will occur during the course of operation. The equipment must be adjusted and cleaned during the manufacturing process by the machine operator to make sure the parts remain within specifications. The machine operator loads the material into the machine in order to maintain production levels.
The machine operator is responsible for ensuring each part is made within designated specifications. This is done utilising different gauges, calipers or tools that test the parts. The inspection will be done for quality assurances purposes and recorded for the quality inspectors to review periodically. Most machine operators are not required to inspect every part but are directed to test and inspect a designated number of parts. For example, the machine operator reviews and inspects a part after 10 items have been produced. During the inspection process, if a part is not within specification, the machine operator will have to make adjustments to the machinery in order to get the parts back into the designated limits.
Each machine operator documents everything that goes on with the equipment. This includes the amount of material used to produce a number of parts. The quality of the parts at periodic inspections for the quality department review. The number of parts produced during a given period of time to show the production efficiency. Any downtime or repairs that where needed during the course of production. Each document is then turned into the production manager or supervisor at the end of a production run or at the end of the machine operators shift.
It is the duty of the machine operator to ensure that his piece of equipment is maintained on the recommended maintenance schedule. This will include cleaning, checking fluids or greasing the equipment as directed by the maintenance department. The machine operator will not be responsible for calibrating the tools utilised in the production process, but will be required to ensure those tools have been calibrated at regularly schedules times.
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