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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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Plating, Metal Spraying and Related Operators (9497)

This unit group includes workers who operate machines or equipment to deposit metallized substances on metal or other articles to provide decorative, protective or restorative coatings. They are employed by metal products manufacturing companies and by customized metal plating and coating shops.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) labels which include the ingredients of products, warnings and instructions on what to do in an emergency. (1)
  • Read instructions on powder coating containers. (1)
  • Read notes from co-workers to get information about problems encountered in a previous shift. (1)
  • Read work orders and notes from customers to clarify jobs. (1)
  • Read city bylaws regarding effluent discharge to be aware of job-related environmental issues. (2)
  • May read electroplaters' catalogues and trade magazines to get ideas on new techniques, products and equipment. (2)
  • Read manuals dealing with electroplating and users' guides for powder coating. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Read tags which show that metal has been inspected and is ready for electroplating. (1)
  • Complete a production form several times a day to record the number of pieces in each job and the time taken to coat them. (1)
  • Read labels identifying the contents of chemical baths, additives and concentrations. (2)
  • Read labels on powder boxes to find the colour and type. (2)
  • Read amperage charts to determine the number of amps per hour needed to electroplate a certain material. (2)
  • Read plating schedules and tables showing the number of amperes and hours required to plate pieces in various jobs. (2)
  • Read the powder inventory list on a bulletin board which shows how many pounds of each type of powder remain. There may be 100 types of powder in the shop. (2)
  • Interpret drawings or sketches showing which part of each piece is to be coated. (2)
  • May complete way bills for couriers or truckers who pick up completed orders. (2)
  • Read order forms to find information on the number of pieces required, the type of finish required (chrome, brass, copper), the coating colour and special instructions. (3)
  • Read graphs showing the PH (potential of hydrogen) for neutralizing baths. This varies with the type and amount of material to be treated. (3)
  • Read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) posted on each tank to find out about chemical hazards. (3)
  • May prepare a quote form for clients, recording the measurements of surface areas of pieces to be coated and the shop rate for coating. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Complete production forms recording amperage, hours and number of pieces, along with brief comments on any problems about the job. (1)
  • Write notes to supervisors to record processing problems, such as pieces that are too big for the shop to handle. (1)
  • Write special instructions and record customer concerns on work orders. (1)
  • Fill in a daily log to record the quantity of additives and concentrations of the chemical baths. (1)
  • Write notes to co-workers to warn them of mix-ups in orders or to clarify instructions. (2)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • May prepare quotes for customers, indicating costs of jobs. (2)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • May keep records of daily job production and the costing of various pieces for accounting purposes. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Weigh coating powder. (1)
  • Calculate the area of parts brought in for coating and copy the measurement on work orders. (2)
  • Use a variety of tools and procedures to measure the liquid for the anodizing process, the thickness of a layer of zinc and the acidity content (pH level) of chemical baths. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • May determine the efficiency of immersing metal in chemical baths by recording the concentration and the time spent in the bath and comparing these results to an established standard. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate how long to spend finishing an individual piece before plating based on how much the piece is worth and the type of plating being applied. (1)
  • Estimate the time it will take to electroplate an order based on the size of the pieces and the type of plating to be applied. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Communicate with delivery personnel who are dropping off pieces for coating to inform them where to unload the pieces. (1)
  • Interact with co-workers to co-ordinate the use of common tools and discuss problems. (1)
  • Communicate with supervisors and office staff to discuss scheduling. (1)
  • Interact with customers to discuss orders and provide advice on surface preparation and other technical matters. (2)
  • Talk to inspectors to discuss residue left on the metal by the manufacturing process. Such residue makes plating difficult. (2)
  • May instruct trainees in the processes of electroplating or anodizing metals. (2)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May have difficulty keeping track of all the pieces in a customer's order. They check the work order for specific numbers and search all the places in the shop where pieces of metal may have been placed. (1)
  • May inadvertently drop a piece of metal in the chemical bath. The piece could be burned during efforts to retrieve it or the concentration of the bath could be affected. Whenever the bath is contaminated in this way, they check the state of the bath to make sure it is still effective. (1)
  • May have a plating job that comes out with a poor quality finish. They check coating solutions to see if they should be replaced and inspect the racks on which the metal pieces were suspended. If there is no obvious problem to correct, they ask the supervisor to call in expert help. (2)
  • May find that a colour did not turn out properly or that some stains have appeared on the plated metal. They check for impurities which may have found their way into the tank. (2)
  • May have a rush order brought in the middle of the night. They have already set up their racks but now must change the arrangement to get new pieces in. They must determine how to get the new job done without delaying other orders. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide on the number of amps per hour required to coat articles. This is based on the number of pieces in the job and the quality of the plating that is required. The information is pre-determined using an existing chart as a reference. (1)
  • Decide whether to reject jobs if the pieces seem over sized for the ovens or if the surface does not look clean enough to work with. (2)
  • Decide whether to lengthen the time that pieces are immersed in the baths based on experience with the reaction time for various types of metals. (2)
  • Decide whether a minor colour variation from that requested by the customer is serious enough to stop the order. (2)
  • Decide whether to cull some pieces between their exit from the baths and their going to electrolysis. (2)
  • Decide how to set up and suspend the pieces on the racks for maximum efficiency. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Plating, metal spraying and related operators complete job tasks as prioritized by supervisors. Since the process has little variation from job to job, operators' days tend to be routine. Although planning is very short range, focusing on minute by minute activities, the sequencing of tasks is important to completing the job correctly. Parts must be dropped into the electrolyte in the right order if they are to receive an even coating. Organizational skills are used to ensure that the correct sequence of activities is followed without fail.

Plating, metal spraying and related operators may be working on several jobs at once and must ensure that all pieces move through the process according to exact timings. Failure to follow the exact timings may result in damaged pieces. There are not frequent disruptions to their workday, but they may need to reprioritize tasks several times a week.

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember numerical information for a short time, for instance, how many pieces are in the potassium cyanide solution.
  • Remember a specific plating problem which occurred several years ago and what steps were followed to correct the problem so that they may avoid a similar problem in the future.
  • Memorize the specifications of key jobs so that they can do a repeat of the job several months later without redoing the calculations.
Finding Information
  • Look at charts to find the number of amperes per hour required for various types of jobs. (1)
  • Read job orders to find out what needs to be done. (1)
  • Look up formulae or other information on electroplating procedures in manuals. (2)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology

This occupation does not use computers.

Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Plating, metal spraying and related operators generally work independently. They may work with a partner on occasion when assembling and disassembling the pieces on the racks. There may be 8 or 10 operators in a machine shop. Despite the independent nature of their work, they come together to work in a team when there is a heavy workload or when problems have severely disrupted schedules. Their co-operation in a team environment is important since they share many tools and pieces of equipment.

Continuous Learning

Plating, metal spraying and related operators continue to learn. They use resources such as users' guides and videos on powder coating and other processes. Manufacturers' representatives give demonstrations from time to time to update operators on new products. They may take an occasional course such as a water treatment course to learn more about the recycling of water which takes place in the electroplating process.

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