Manufacturing machine operator: job description


What does a manufacturing machine operator do?

Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Core Competencies

Manufacturing machine operators (sometimes called production operators) are builders, fabricators, mechanics, craftsmen, and quality assurance all rolled into one. They work with heavy machinery in the factory, often with computer controlled equipment or more mechanical machines to ensure they are set up correctly, run smoothly and produce high quality products in a safe environment. Machine operators ensure that their machines are running at full capacity, are supplied with the necessary materials and are well maintained.

Typical tasks include:

  • maintain plant machinery

  • ensure the proper functioning and efficiency of the machines

  • perform routine maintenance

  • repair broken machines

  • ensure that enough raw materials are fed into the machines

  • perform periodic production efficiency checks

  • occasionally remove and package finished goods

  • gain in-depth knowledge of a wide range of factory machinery and how it works

Shift work, including nights and weekends, may be required, especially when manufacturing equipment is running continuously 24 hours a day.

Typical Manufacturing Machine Operator Employers

  • Food and beverage companies

  • Consumer Goods Manufacturers

  • Printing and packaging companies

  • Electronic product assembly companies

  • Automobile industry

Job offers for graduate engineers are published online and by career services and specialized recruitment agencies.

Qualifications and training required

A machine operator career is typically pursued by school leavers via an apprenticeship or entry-level employment. To learn more about how you can access this career through a graduation route (e.g. an apprenticeship or post-graduate training program), see the engineering section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at young people at the end of their studies.

There are a number of other opportunities open to engineering graduates in the manufacturing industry, including roles such as packaging technologist, maintenance engineer, manufacturing engineer, materials engineer, and mechanical engineer.

Key skills for machine operators

  • Problem solving

  • Decision making

  • Concentration

  • Attention to detail

  • Team work

  • Able to follow instructions and production schedules

  • Able to act quickly when a problem arises

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