Skills Machine Operator - Plastics Processing in the Toronto Region

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a machine operator - plastics processing in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Plastics processing machine operators (NOC 9422).


  • Troubleshoot and make minor adjustments to equipment
  • Weigh resins, colorants and other chemicals according to formulae
  • Monitor and inspect quality of material produced
  • Place weighed materials in mixing machines
  • Operate mixing machine to blend plastic and other chemicals to a specific consistency and viscosity
  • Supervisory Experience
  • Unload mixture into container or conveyor for further processing
  • Pack items for shipping and distribution
  • Set up and operate calender machines to transform plastic bales or slabs into continuous sheets or films of specified thickness
  • Adjust calender rollers for production line change
  • Set up and operate extruding machines to extrude plastic compound through a nozzle or die
  • Change dies on extruding machines according to production line change
  • Set up and operate one or more moulding machines to mould plastic products
  • Prepare and change moulds and adjust equipment for production line change
  • Follow formulation card to mix resin batches for injection moulding process
  • Computer numerical control (CNC) machines
  • Organize and maintain inventory
  • Trimming and sanding plastic or fiberglass parts

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation. This section will be updated soon.

  • Read notes from colleagues to co-ordinate work. (1)
  • Read memos from management regarding changes to policies, procedures or industry regulations. (2)
  • Read brochures and advertisements to meet the information needs of their customers. (2)
  • May refer to communication binders, prepared by their retail establishment and centrally located for easy access, to obtain specific information. (2)
  • Refer to booklets and manuals to acquire new information about duties and emergency procedures or to find specific information as needed on an ongoing basis such as information on pricing. (3)
Document use
  • Ticket takers scan tickets as customers hand them in to verify the date, time, seat number and name of performance. (1)
  • Ushers read movie posters to replace those that are outdated with current ones. (1)
  • Cloakroom attendants complete forms to record the number of binoculars and assistive hearing devices rented out during performances. (1)
  • Parking lot attendants refer to control summary sheets to check the number of outstanding tickets when taking over a shift from another attendant. (2)
  • Tanning salon attendants read tables that relate skin types to appropriate tanning programs. (2)
  • Funeral attendants check all death certificates prior to removing bodies from hospitals to ensure that the certificates have been filled out completely. (2)
  • May write in appointment books to schedule incoming customers. (1)
  • Enter information such as names, addresses and licence plate numbers on various forms to keep records which may be used by others to prepare reports. (1)
  • Write brief notes to remind themselves of specific events or instructions or to share information with co-workers on different shifts. (1)
  • May write detailed notes to supervisors describing incidents relating to customer complaints. (2)
NumeracyScheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Monitor worker schedules, machine downtime and supplier cycle times in order to establish realistic time lines for completing projects. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure, weigh and heat-test preforms as part of a quality check. (1)
  • Measure the thickness of new products by passing products through holes on a template. (1)
  • Measure dimensions of products, such as plastic bottles. (1)
  • Read the pressure gauges for hydraulics and pneumatics to ensure that equipment is running properly. (1)
  • Weigh samples of extruded materials cut into strips and calculate how many feet per pound are being produced. (2)
  • Use specialized measuring tools and techniques such as micrometers, digital scales and shadow graphs, which allow extremely fine measurements of preforms, moulds and mould flash. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare the production of various machines after a set number of cycles. (2)
  • Analyze production data to learn how much plastic is being burnt or overheated in one time period in comparison to another. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate how much product it will take to fill storage containers. (1)
  • Estimate how long jobs will take and when to order materials for subsequent jobs. (2)
Oral communication
  • May communicate with manufacturers to order supplies. (1)
  • May communicate with drivers from truck and rail companies concerning the pickup of completed products. (1)
  • Interact with co-workers to discuss production runs or problems with machines. (1)
  • Communicate with supervisors to receive instructions and to discuss changes in job priorities. (1)
  • May instruct other workers in the use of machinery. (2)
  • May interact with customers taking a plant tour, answering their questions and explaining procedures. (2)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • May find that air temperature and humidity have created problems in product quality. They make adjustments in machinery. (1)
  • May encounter electrical or hydraulic problems with machines. They check connections and call technicians if necessary. (2)
  • May find that moulds are not filling properly. They review the operations to see if it is a mechanical or a processing problem and then take appropriate remedial action. (2)
  • May find that some of the plastic parts being made do not meet specifications. They adjust machines to optimize the temperature of the plastic, the pressure of the injection process and the speed at which the plastic is fed into the machine. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide whether to run machinery that is faulty. (2)
  • Decide whether to accept or reject products, consulting with supervisors if necessary. (2)
  • Decide whether to increase or decrease the pressure and temperature in machines. This is done by periodically checking products as they emerge from the machines and considering how they can eliminate flaws. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Plastics processing machine operators perform repetitive tasks, operating and maintaining machines and packaging products. The order and priority of job tasks are usually determined by supervisors who create the production schedules. Operators have some flexibility in determining the order of tasks, provided that deadlines are met. They co-ordinate their tasks with co-workers, such as those who produce the raw materials for the machines. Machine malfunctions, rush jobs or line breaks may interrupt the flow of work and lead to operators adjusting their priorities, in conjunction with their supervisors. Operators must organize their tasks effectively to respond to several needs at the same time.

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember the sequence of steps in machine setup when changing production runs.
  • Remember how fast individual machines run and at what temperature.
  • Remember troubleshooting procedures for solving problems with machines.
Finding Information
  • Consult machine manufacturers to find out how to program changes on computerized machinery. (1)
  • Refer to specification sheets to learn about materials, part sizes and tolerances for parts produced on machines. (1)
  • Consult production schedules to obtain information on which machines will be used to produce different products. (2)
  • Refer to machine manuals to troubleshoot or set up machines for new products. (2)
Digital technology
  • They may use computer controls to adjust settings on computerized machinery. (1)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Plastics processing machine operators mainly work independently. They may work with a partner when doing preventive maintenance on machines or lifting materials and moulds. Although they all have their individual jobs, they form a team with other members of their shift.

Continuous Learning

Plastics processing machine operators continue to learn. They take first aid training and other safety related courses. They learn about new machinery and production procedures on the job through interaction with co-workers and supervisors.

Labour Market Information Survey
Date modified: