Air separation plant operator


Air separation plant operators control and maintain the equipment for nitrogen and oxygen extraction from air, ensuring the required operational parameters of pressure, flow and temperature are met. They perform product purity tests and monitor its transfer to storage tanks or to fill cylinders.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to air separation plant operator:

air separation plant operative
oxygen plant operator
air separation plant production worker
air separation plant production operative
air separation plant production operator
air separation plant worker
oxygen gas plant operator

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Air separation plant operator is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Air separation plant operator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to air separation plant operator.

gas station operator
chemical processing plant controller
gas processing plant supervisor
chemical plant control room operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of air separation plant operator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of air separation plant operator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

gas production engineer
maintenance and repair engineer
aerodynamics engineer
leather wet processing department manager
fragrance chemist

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of air separation plant operator.

  • Chemical preservation: Process of adding chemical compounds to a product, such as food or pharmaceutical products, to prevent decay caused by chemical changes or microbial activity.
  • Characteristics of chemicals used for tanning: Composition and physico-chemical properties of auxiliary chemicals used in the different tanning processes (tanning agents, fat liquors, pigments, dyes, etc.)
  • Basic chemicals: The production and characteristisc of organic basic chemicals such as ethanol, methanol, benzene and inorganic basic chemicals such as oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of air separation plant operator.

  • Optimise production processes parameters: Optimise and maintain the parameters of the production process, such as flow, temperature or pressure.
  • Transfer oxygen: Transfer liquid or gaseous oxygen by opening the valves to allow the transfer through the heat exchanger to cool air and store the oxygen in tanks ensuring the specific temperature and pressure parameters are met.
  • Control air flow: Control the flow of air through the compression units by turning on the valves in the correct sequence.
  • Operate gas extraction equipment: Operate the equipment used for oxygen and nitrogen extraction equipment such as compressors, fractionating columns, heat exchangers and purifying towers.
  • Test oxygen purity: Test the purity and the moisture content of the processed oxygen making use of the burette moisture meter.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of air separation plant operator. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Mechanics: Theoretical and practical applications of the science studying the action of displacements and forces on physical bodies to the development of machinery and mechanical devices.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of air separation plant operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Cope with manufacturing deadlines pressure: Cope with a tight schedule on the manufacturing processes level and take the necessary actions when deadlines approach or when some processes fail.
  • Monitor environmental parameters: Check the impact of manufacturing machinery on the environment, analysing temperature levels, water quality and air pollution.
  • Maintain equipment: Regularly inspect and perform all required activities to maintain the equipment in functional order prior or after its use.
  • Communicate test results to other departments: Communicate testing information such as testing schedules, samples testing statistics and test results, to the relevant departments.
  • Clean equipment: Perform cleaning routines after equipment use.
  • Clean driers: Clean the refill driers using alumina.
  • Conduct performance tests: Conduct experimental, environmental and operational tests on models, prototypes or on the systems and equipment itself in order to test their strength and capabilities under normal and extreme conditions.
  • Operate hydrogen extraction equipment: Operate the equipment used in hydrogen extraction and processing.
  • Prepare chemical samples: Prepare the specific samples such as gas, liquid or solid samples in order for them to be ready for analysis, labeling and storing samples according to specifications.
  • Work with hot nitrogen: Work with hot nitrogen by conveying it through alternate batteries of driers.

ISCO group and title

3133 – Chemical processing plant controllers

  1. Air separation plant operator – ESCO
Last updated on March 11, 2023