Blow moulding machine operator

Description

Blow moulding machine operators operate and monitor blow moulding machine to mould plastic goods, according to requirements. They regulate temperature, air pressure and volume of plastic, according to specifications. Blow moulding machine operators remove finished products and cut away excess material, using a knife. They regrind surplus material and rejected workpieces for reuse, using a grinding machine.

Working environment

Injuries and Illnesses

Plastic machine workers often operate powerful, high-speed machines that can be dangerous and must observe safety rules. Operators usually wear protective equipment, such as safety glasses, earplugs, and steel-toed boots, to guard against flying particles of plastic, machine noise, and heavy objects, respectively.

Other required safety equipment varies by work setting and machine. For example, respirators are common for those in the plastics industry who work near materials that emit dangerous fumes or dust.

Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations.

Work Schedules

Most plastic machine workers are employed full time. Some work more than 40 hours per week. Because many manufacturers run their machinery for extended periods, evening and weekend work is also common.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to blow moulding machine operator:

plastic process machine operator
plastics production machine operative
plastics process machine operative
blow moulding technician
plastic blow molding machine operator
plastic blow moulding machine operator
blow moulding machine operative
plastic blow moulding machine operative
blow molding technician
blow molding machine operator
plastic blow molding machine operative
plastics production machine operator
blow molding machine operative

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as a blow moulding machine 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.

Blow moulding machine operator is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Blow moulding machine operator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to blow moulding machine operator.

injection moulding operator
cake press operator
plastic heat treatment equipment operator
compression moulding machine operator
pultrusion machine operator

Long term prospects

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

automated assembly line operator
plastic and rubber products manufacturing supervisor
pulp control operator
industrial robot controller
desalination technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of blow moulding machine operator.

  • Plastic resins: The process of heating hydrocarbons, forming and combining polymers to create plastic resins which are used to make different kinds of products.
  • Quality standards: The national and international requirements, specifications and guidelines to ensure that products, services and processes are of good quality and fit for purpose.
  • Blow moulding: The three main techniques to create hollow plastic and glass parts, namely extrusion blow molding, injection blow molding and injection stretch blow molding.
  • Blow moulding machine parts: Parts of the machine that produces plastic products such as bottles by injecting air under high pressure into heated preforms placed into moulds, such as the hopper, the extruder, the die head and the mould.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of blow moulding machine operator.

  • Monitor gauge: Oversee the data presented by a gauge concerning the measurement of pressure, temperature, thickness of a material, and others.
  • Tend blow moulding machine: Monitor, set-up and adjust the blow moulding machine controls and mandrel using the control panel or handtools in order to mould plastic products according to specifications.
  • Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
  • Use personal protection equipment: Make use of protection equipment according to training, instruction and manuals. Inspect the equipment and use it consistently.
  • Trim excess material: Trim surplus material of fabric such as fiberglass mats, cloth, plastics or rubber.
  • Monitor automated machines: Continuously check up on the automated machine’s set-up and execution or make regular control rounds. If necessary, record and interpret data on the operating conditions of installations and equipment in order to identify abnormalities.
  • Consult technical resources: Read and interpret technical resources such as digital or paper drawings and adjustment data in order to properly set up a machine or working tool, or to assemble mechanical equipment.
  • Set up the controller of a machine: Set up and give commands to a machine by dispatching the appropriate data and input into the (computer) controller corresponding with the desired processed product.
  • Monitor valves: Monitor and accordingly adjust the valves in order to allow a specific amount of liquids (such as ammonia sulfuric acid or viscous soap) or steam into the mixer or machine.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

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

  • Types of moulding: The characteristics and procedures used in the various types of moulding such as blow moulding, compression moulding, injection moulding and thermoforming.
  • 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 blow moulding machine operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Finish plastic products: Finish the product by sanding, branding and polishing the plastic surface.
  • Select mould types: Select the appropriate type and size of mould based on the operation.
  • Add colour: Add the required colour according to specifications for tinting batch.
  • Inspect quality of products: Use various techniques to ensure the product quality is respecting the quality standards and specifications. Oversee defects, packaging and sendbacks of products to different production departments.
  • Perform test run: Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.
  • Maintain equipment: Regularly inspect and perform all required activities to maintain the equipment in functional order prior or after its use.
  • Assemble moulds: Assemble iron moulds using handtools to hoist and bolt sections.
  • Maintain moulds: Clean and repair moulds, e.g. by smoothening out imperfections on the surface.
  • Manage waste: Manage or dispose of significant amounts of waste materials or hazardous materials. Ensure required licenses and permits are in place and reasonable management practices, industry standards, or commonly accepted farming practices followed.
  • Mix moulding and casting material: Measure and mix ingredients for casting and moulding materials, according to appropriate formula.
  • Tend injection moulding machine: Operate and monitor a machine that contains a reciprocating screw that forces the raw material forwards while inducing melting, and injects the molten plastic into a mould.
  • Extract products from moulds: Remove finished products from moulds and examine them in detail for anomalies.
  • Feed hoppers: Feed hoppers with the required materials using various tools such as lifting equipment or shovels.
  • Report defective manufacturing materials: Maintain required company records and forms in order to report any defective materials or questionable conditions of manufacturing machinery and equipment.
  • Operate lifting equipment: Transport heavy objects using lifting equipment such as cranes, forklifts etc.
  • Clean moulds: Clean the mould using water, grease or oil, washing and scraping them by hand.
  • Grind wasted plastic: Grind the wasted plastic into powder for further reuse.
  • Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.

ISCO group and title

8142 – Plastic products machine operators


References
  1. Blow moulding machine operator – ESCO
  2. Metal and Plastic Machine Workers – Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Last updated on July 18, 2022

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