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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Paper Converting Machine Operators (9435)

Paper converting machine operators operate various machines which fabricate and assemble paper products such as bags, containers, boxes, envelopes and similar articles. They are employed by paper products manufacturing companies.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read short company notes about how orders are to be handled or new procedures for shift changes. (1)
  • Read safety and lockout procedures. (2)
  • May read bulletins from the paper supplier about changes to paper stock to know how the paper will perform. (2)
  • May read extracts from equipment manuals to learn how to set up machinery for making an unusual size or style of envelope. (3)
  • Refer to equipment manuals to troubleshoot and to make major repairs. These manuals include text, charts and diagrams. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • May look at labels on boxes to confirm they are working on the correct order. (1)
  • Read purchase or work order forms that specify the customer name, the quantity, style and size of product and the expected completion date. (1)
  • Read lists specifying the parts needed for producing particular sizes and shapes of product. (2)
  • May complete forms required as part of ISO 9000 documentation, such as a quality form to report problems with an order. (2)
  • When making a new envelope size, may read a size change program sheet that gives step-by-step instructions on how to make settings and adjustments. They also record machinery settings for specific envelopes to provide information for the next time these are produced. (2)
  • Use a parts' book to look up what parts to order. (2)
  • May look at a sketch or diagram of an envelope showing dimensions, window position, and the sizes and locations of folds, to know how to set up machinery. (3)
  • May look at a computer screen that shows where there are defects on paper that need to be cut out. The image of the paper is cross-hatched with the defects highlighted. (3)
  • Read tables and diagrams illustrating equipment parts in equipment manuals to perform repairs. (3)
  • Read assembly drawings in parts' books with parts labelled. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Enter on invoices the job name, code number and the quantity of the run. (1)
  • May write notes to remind themselves of what tasks need to be done. (1)
  • Write in a daily log short descriptions of problems encountered during the shift. (1)
  • May complete ISO 9000 documentation to give feedback to the supplier about the cut and finish of the cardboard they are supplying. (1)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure the distances set on machinery to check if they match order specifications. (1)
  • Monitor the machine's counter to know how much of an order has been completed. The counter registers 'one' for every 25 items produced. (1)
  • Find the centre point of a space for positioning the blade on a machine. (1)
  • May calculate how much paper is in a partial roll after measuring its diameter. (2)
  • May calculate what size of gear to use for a particular size of envelope, using an algebraic formula that involves several steps and factors. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Conduct random checks of product dimensions to make sure they meet specifications. (1)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate how many boxes to put into each carton to spread them out evenly and avoid products shifting in shipping. (1)
  • Estimate how many rolls of paper will be needed to fill an order, based on the amount of paper per roll and partial roll. (2)
  • Estimate how long it will take to complete priority orders and the feasibility of doing another job in that shift. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • May direct a helper to cut tubes to specific lengths. Inaccurate communication results in wasted production. (1)
  • May communicate with helpers who are unloading products at the end of the machines while operators are feeding and adjusting the machines, to co-ordinate the pace of feeding, to warn of stops and starts and to exchange feedback about product quality. (1)
  • May exchange information with workers on the previous and following shifts to prevent over or under production and to warn of mechanical or safety problems. (2)
  • May receive information from supervisors or provide instruction to co-workers about how to set up for particular jobs. (2)
  • May discuss orders with salespeople or supervisors to clarify details. (2)
  • May discuss mechanical problems with the supervisor and maintenance staff. (2)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May find faults in the paper. They choose the right jig for cutting out paper faults depending on the location and size of the fault. (1)
  • May receive paper that doesn't go through the machine easily or causes blistering. They try to compensate by making various adjustments such as changing roller pressure, realigning the paper or adding more starch or glue. (2)
  • May receive order specifications that are wrong (e.g., the machine cannot make a box with those dimensions or the bottom flaps don't meet). They discuss and resolve the problem with the supervisor or front office, who may have to persuade the customer to accept an alternative. (2)
  • May receive an order that isn't normally produced by the equipment. They try to adapt the equipment, for example by cutting a part out of the scoring head in order to create a dotted score on a carton. (3)
  • May produce defective products such as envelopes that have creases or boxes that don't close properly. They analyze possible causes and use trial and error adjustments of the settings to correct the problem, troubleshoot possible mechanical problems, or ask for help from the supervisor and mechanics. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide whether they have enough paper left in the hopper to allow them to go and unload finished sheets without the machine running out of paper and damaging the blades. (1)
  • Constantly decide whether the quality of the product is good enough to continue the run or whether to stop and adjust or reset the machine. (2)
  • May decide on the sequence of jobs, for example to run two jobs that use the same paper back to back in order to save setup time. (2)
  • Decide when to shut down machines to do repairs. Downtime has an impact on productivity. (2)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Paper converting machine operators who only operate machines have very little planning and organizing responsibility. They produce the orders as given to them by supervisors and perform largely repetitive tasks. (1)

Operators/adjusters who also do machine setup decide on the sequence of jobs considering their urgency and how to maximize efficiency. (2)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember the dimensions and quantities for the order being produced.
  • Remember to check at set intervals that the machine is applying glue correctly.
  • Remember how equipment breakdowns and other problems were solved in the past in order to apply this knowledge in other similar situations.
  • Remember settings and gear sizes for frequently produced products.
Finding Information
  • Ask their supervisors for information and instruction about procedures and products. (1)
  • Refer to job orders to check specifications. (1)
  • May call a manufacturer to find a part or ask for advice on how to fix a problem. (2)
  • May refer to procedure and service manuals to solve production and mechanical problems. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use other computer applications. For example, they may operate keyboard controls of certain stations in the manufacturing process. (1)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Paper converting machine operators mainly work independently. They also work with a helper or as part of a team when operating machines that require one to feed and adjust while others unload, or during breakdowns and changeovers.

Continuous Learning

Paper converting machine operators mostly learn through on-the-job experience. They may take courses on new machinery given by manufacturers, safety and ISO 9000 training.

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