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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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Other Products Machine Operators (9617)

This unit group includes all machine operators, not elsewhere classified, who operate machines to cut, press, stamp, mould, treat, finish or otherwise fabricate components or products, such as jewellery, buttons, pencils, crayons, non-prescription lenses, brushes, notions and other miscellaneous products. They are employed by a wide variety of manufacturing companies.

Reading Help - Reading
  • May read text on product labels for material composition and instructions. (1)
  • May read memos and notices posted on bulletin boards to stay abreast of company policies and announcements, such as staff changes, and union business, such as meeting dates and times. (2)
  • May read minutes of safety committee meetings to review suggestions and to track the issues forwarded for discussion. (2)
  • May read specifications to prepare for a job by reviewing such information as design and engineering instructions. (2)
  • May read trade magazines and journals to learn about new products and machining techniques. (2)
  • May read manuals to learn how to operate new machines and to troubleshoot problems. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Read Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) labels on supplies, such as solvents and coolants, to follow safe handling procedures and read labels on machine controls to adjust them to different settings. (2)
  • Read production tables to plan and organize their work. (2)
  • Read equivalency tables to use interchangeably tools based on the metric and imperial systems of measurement, such as using the metric equivalent of a 1/4 inch drill. (2)
  • Read job sheets at the start of each new job to obtain such information as job numbers, parts numbers, deadlines and machining operations required. (2)
  • Look at pictures of machines and parts in manuals to make routine changes to machinery attachments. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write a reminder note to record a key figure, such as the weight of a piece of metal which was melted down. (1)
  • Enter production information on job sheets and other forms to record such information as identification numbers, dates, start and stop times and descriptions of any difficulties encountered. (1)
  • Prepare work orders from the information provided by clients in letters. (2)
  • May write monthly summary reports on production of more than one paragraph in length to record information on productivity, waste and suggestions for improving work processes. (2)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Measurement and Calculation Math
  • May weigh gold to make gold wire for jewellery. (1)
  • May measure cardboard boxes to position colour prints or may measure plastic products to mark where grommet holes should be drilled. (1)
  • May read temperature and hydrogen gauges to ensure that the readings are within specified limits. (1)
  • May calculate the areas of different moulds when determining what combination of moulds of different sizes can fit onto a given size of platen. The objective is to maximize production from each heating. (2)
  • May take precise measurements such as the width of a piece of metal with callipers to ensure it is the correct thickness. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • May take an average of a run for statistical process control. For example, they may run tests to ensure that every box has a hand hold the right size. (2)
Numerical Estimation
  • May estimate when a piece of metal has reached its maximum in a bend. This is estimated through feeling and seeing the metal and knowing its tolerance. (1)
  • May estimate the amount of time and quantity of supplies required to complete each job. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Communicate with co-workers in the purchasing department to ensure that stock is purchased in accordance with the company's just-in-time (JIT) inventory system. (1)
  • Communicate with other machine operators to discuss production issues, such as quality control standards, upcoming orders and how the equipment is running. (1)
  • Interact with forepersons or production supervisors to discuss work schedules, to receive instructions and to seek advice about production problems. (2)
  • Speak with customers by phone to ensure that they understand custom product specifications. (2)
  • Participate in group discussions during production meetings or safety committee meetings. (2)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May conclude that a component is outside the designated specifications. They check the operation of their machine and may make minor repairs. (1)
  • May deal with competing demands for the use of shared machines when trying to complete high-priority jobs. They interact with other machine operators to co-ordinate access to the machines in a manner which keeps everyone productive and on deadline. (2)
  • May find that a machine is not functioning properly. They determine if making adjustments to such factors as cycle time and pressure will compensate for the malfunction on an interim basis or if the machine must be serviced immediately. (2)
  • May find that cardboard boxes are not feeding through the machine with ease. They follow a systematic approach to diagnosing the root cause of the problem by changing one variable at a time until the cause of the problem is isolated. (3)
Decision Making
  • May decide when to advise the purchaser to order more plastic or other supplies, considering the company's just-in-time (JIT) inventory system. (1)
  • Decide on the sequence of tasks to maximize efficiency for the day's work orders, considering how to make the least number of wire or colourant changes as possible. (2)
  • Decide whether products are in conformance with quality control standards. (2)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Products machine operators in this group perform repetitive tasks but the content of the tasks may vary depending on the work at hand. Work priorities and related deadlines are tied to customer demand and forepersons provide each product machine operator with work order assignments detailing this information. Within this context, products machine operators have wide scope to determine the order of their tasks, sequencing multiple tasks for efficiency and do some planning, for example, ensuring that the necessary tools and supplies are available when needed. Some co-ordinate with the work plans of other machine operators to arrange access to shared equipment, such as airlines. (2)

Significant Use of Memory
  • May memorize parts codes for rubber moulds used in jewellery fabrication to efficiently obtain rubber moulds with minimal down time.
  • May remember the handling characteristics of different types of metal.
Finding Information
  • Look up the status of work orders on databases. (1)
  • Use materials from manufacturers and suppliers to get information about new technology, such as computer-controlled machines. (2)
  • Refer to tool catalogues to stay abreast of new products and related pricing. (2)
  • Refer to equipment and repair manuals to obtain technical information. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • They may operate machines with computer numeric control (CNC). (1)
  • They may input data related to work in progress. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Products machine operators in this group mainly work independently. They co-ordinate with supervisors to troubleshoot production problems, co-workers to arrange access to shared equipment and workers in other departments, such as assembly, to receive quality feedback and information about their needs.

Continuous Learning

Products machine operators in this group have a need for ongoing learning to acquire information about new products and machining procedures and to upgrade their computer skills. New learning is acquired through informal on-the-job training activities, such as peer mentoring and independent reading. Some products machine operators participate in formal training sessions related to such topics as safety and quality assurance.

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