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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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Papermaking and Finishing Machine Operators (9433)

Papermaking and finishing machine operators operate process machinery and equipment and assist papermaking and coating control operators to produce, coat and finish paper. They are employed by pulp and paper companies.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read activity logs which record problems of the last shift. (1)
  • Read memos concerning production procedures and safety. (2)
  • Read lockout procedures established by the company. (2)
  • Read company newsletters and bulletins. (2)
  • Read production schedules. (2)
  • May read union information sheets. (2)
  • Read operator manuals for calender and dryer equipment. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Read tags on numerous pumps, valves and electrical switches. (1)
  • Read daily production sheets which indicate the type of paper to be produced and its destination. (1)
  • Read Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) labels. (2)
  • Read specification lists for each job. (2)
  • Read work orders which indicate the sizes of cores to load. (2)
  • May read tables explaining the criteria for paper-drying performance. (2)
  • May read graphs on the computer screen which provide information on moisture content, rate of evaporation and steam temperature. (2)
  • May read computerized data on the height and weight of paper bales in order to reprogram machines if the height and weight deviate from the norm. (2)
  • May refer to illustrations of paper faults to identify and carry out repairs. (2)
  • May read the troubleshooting chart next to the machine which explains how to identify specific production problems. (2)
  • May record production information in winder log forms. (2)
  • May read a density monitor in a line graph that plots density, roll diameter and paper speed. (3)
  • May read assembly and schematic drawings in manuals to solve equipment problems. (3)
  • May read control screens which show conformance or non-conformance to quality norms in a colour coded display. (3)
  • May complete winder log charts that record data about every reel and set of paper. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write machine readings and other notations in a production log book. (1)
  • Record equipment problems in a maintenance log book. (1)
  • Enter data from the production program into the computerized production monitor system. (1)
  • Correct computerized labels showing production lots, destinations and packing directions. (1)
  • Fill in production non-conformance forms to record problems such as diverted rolls, mechanical faults and lost time. Sometimes comments are more than a paragraph long. (2)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • May schedule production adjustments by monitoring computer printouts of paper rolls produced and culled. They calculate the number of additional parent reels that will be needed to produce the number of rolls ordered. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure the diameter of rolls to ensure that they meet customer requirements. (1)
  • Measure and set the slitters on the winder to cut paper rolls of specified widths from a parent reel. (1)
  • Read various gauges and level indicators to ensure they fall within specifications. (1)
  • May measure to determine which collar to put on the winder shaft after the cores have been loaded. The collar is used to fill the left over space on the winder shaft and stop the core from moving out of position. (2)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare the specifications for a product with those of a sample sheet to verify if production is meeting quality standards and the expectations of customers. (1)
  • Read computer data after an alarm sounds to ascertain which of three variables triggered the alarm - paper composition, errors in machine settings or operator judgement. (2)
  • Monitor data about paper faults, such as the size, type, location and number of rolls diverted or rejected over time in order to know how to adjust calculations and settings. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the quantity of paper that should go into the baler press. (1)
  • Estimate how many more sets of large reels of paper are needed to produce the remaining number of rolls required. (2)
  • Estimate the number of hours it will take to complete rolls of one grade before switching to another grade. The estimate is based on a number of factors such as the average rate of production for reels and sets of rolls, the quality of the present process and judgement as to whether culls or other problems are likely to occur. Failure to estimate accurately can affect the timing of other operations and lead to lost production. (3)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Receive directions from supervisors, such as the assignment and reassignment of tasks. (1)
  • Exchange information on production volume, quality and schedules with other operators. (2)
  • Discuss problems, such as poor paper quality or machine malfunctions, with foremen. (2)
  • Discuss product quality with the stock person who supplies the paper for the reels. (2)
  • Explain mechanical and production problems to millwrights and electricians. (2)
  • Give instructions to labourers about cleanup procedures. (2)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May find holes and defects in the paper. They must make adjustments in machine settings to bypass the holes and defects or cull sections of the paper. (1)
  • May find that paper is tearing or creasing. They must alter humidity levels, jet water pressure and proximity of dryers to stabilize the situation. (1)
  • May find that edges are rough and jagged. They must quickly diagnose the cause, which could be dull slitter blades, incorrect speed or a quality problem in the parent reel and take appropriate action. (2)
  • May have paper which is not balanced correctly on the roller and slips off. They must make an emergency stop to adjust the paper or the roller. (2)
Decision Making
  • Decide how many cores to get ready to meet production goals. (1)
  • Decide whether to reject a roll of paper with perforations, streaks or stains. (2)
  • Decide when to call in millwrights or electricians to do repairs, taking into account the consequences of down time during repairs. (2)
  • Decide whether to continue with a specific job when there is a high incidence of breakage or switch production temporarily to another job. (2)
  • Decide when adjustments must be made to machines to keep jobs within specifications and to deal with faults and rejected rolls. They make quick decisions on adjustments to tension, speed and pressure since paper is moving thousands of feet per minute. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Papermaking and finishing machine operators carry out repetitive tasks under the supervision of a foreman or lead hand. Little planning is needed when machines are running well. When machines are malfunctioning, however, work must be reorganized to ensure that production does not stop during repairs. They take into account the number of jobs waiting and the shipping deadlines when reprioritizing tasks. Co-ordination with other workers along the line is essential since most operators' jobs are part of a larger process which involves a production team. (2)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember codes for baled paper.
  • Remember all the adjustments made to machine settings so that these may be entered on a form.
  • Remember metric and imperial equivalents for core and roll sizes.
  • Remember the sequence of steps in the production process. Failure to remember one step will create problems further down the line.
Finding Information
  • Call up customer information and codes on a computer database. (1)
  • Refer to specification sheets to guide possible adjustments for various grades of paper. (1)
  • Consult co-workers and foremen about production and quality. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use other computer applications. For example, they may enter codes into computerized process control machinery. (1)
  • They may locate customer information on an ISO database. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Papermaking and finishing machine operators often work independently, operating controls, adjusting settings and loading cores. Some, such as the Winderman and the Fourth Hand, work in partnership. Operators are part of a production line team.

Continuous Learning

Papermaking and finishing machine operators receive on-the-job training in new processes. They receive courses when new equipment is introduced, such as the soft calender course and the dryer felt guiding course. Some workers take training in Emergency Response, and in environmental protection. ISO (International Standards Organization) 9000 training has been offered to workers in companies working towards ISO registration.

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