Computer numerical control machine operator

Description

Computer numerical control machine operators set-up, maintain and control a computer numerical control machine in order to execute the product orders. They are responsible for programming the machines, ensuring the required parameters and measurements are met while maintaining the quality and safety standards.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to computer numerical control machine operator:

CNC machinist
cnc programmer/machinist
CNC set up technician
cnc operator
cnc programmer
CNC set-up operative
CNC drill operator
CNC drill technician
CNC operator/machinist
CNC drill operative
CNC mill operator
CNC mill operative
CNC set-up operator
CNC drilling operator
CNC machine operative
CNC set up operative
CNC drilling operative
CNC programmer/machinist
CNC machine operator
cnc operator/machinist
CNC programmer
CNC set-up technician
cnc machinist
computer numerical control machine programmer/operator
CNC set up operator

Minimum qualifications

High school diploma is generally required to work as computer numerical control machine operator. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

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.

Computer numerical control machine operator is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Computer numerical control machine operator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to computer numerical control machine operator.

electron beam welder
laser beam welder
metal sawing machine operator
punch press operator
laser marking machine operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of computer numerical control 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 computer numerical control machine operator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

ICT security technician
computer hardware engineering technician
automated assembly line operator
computer-aided design operator
telecommunications engineering technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of computer numerical control machine operator.

Statistical process control: Method of quality control that uses statistics to monitor processes.
Manufacturing processes: The steps required through which a material is transformed into a product, its development and full-scale manufacturing.
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.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of computer numerical control machine operator.

Supply machine with appropriate tools: Supply the machine with the necessary tools and items for a particular production purpose.
Remove inadequate workpieces: Evaluate which deficient processed workpieces do not meet the set-up standard and should be removed and sort the waste according to regulations.
Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
Remove processed workpiece: Remove individual workpieces after processing, from the manufacturing machine or the machine tool. In case of a conveyor belt this involves quick, continuous movement.
Operate precision measuring equipment: Measure the size of a processed part when checking and marking it to check if it is up to standard by use of two and three dimensional precision measuring equipment such as a caliper, a micrometer, and a measuring gauge.
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.
Read standard blueprints: Read and comprehend standard blueprints, machine, and process drawings.
Ensure equipment availability: Ensure that the necessary equipment is provided, ready and available for use before start of procedures.
Use cam software: Use computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programmes to control machinery and machine tools in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimisation as part of the manufacturing processes of workpieces.
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.
Use automatic programming: Utilise specialised software tools to generate computer code from specifications, such as diagrams, structured informations or other means of describing functionality.
Perform machine maintenance: Perform regular maintenance, possibly including corrections and alterations, on a machine or machine tool to ensure it remains in a proper productive state.
Supply machine: Ensure the machine is fed the necessary and adequate materials and control the placement or automatic feed and retrieval of work pieces in the machines or machine tools on the production line.
Consult technical resources: Read and interpret such 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.
Program a cnc controller: Set up the desired product design in the CNC controller of the CNC machine for product manufacturing.
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.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

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

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Optional skills and competences

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

Tend electron beam welding machine: Tend a metalworking machine designed to join metal pieces by use of an electron beam exuding a concentrated heat source, monitor and operate it according to regulations.
Maintain vacuum chamber: Maintain the chamber or tank used in production processes to manufacture a workpiece in vacuum by preconditioning it, cleaning it, performing gas purging, changing the door seals, changing the filters, and others.
Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
Tend water jet cutter machine: Tend a jet cutter machine, operating and monitoring the machine, according to regulations.
Prepare pieces for joining: Prepare metal or other material workpieces for joining processes by cleaning the workpieces, checking their measurements with the technical plan and marking on the pieces where they’ll be joined.
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.
Monitor gauge: Oversee the data presented by a gauge concerning the measurement of pressure, temperature, thickness of a material, and others.
Record production data for quality control: Keep records of the machine’s faults, interventions and irregularities for quality control.
Apply preliminary treatment to workpieces: Apply preparatory treatment, through mechanical or chemical processes, to the workpiece preceding the main operation.
Use welding equipment: Operate welding equipment in a safe manner; use welding techniques such as shielded metal arc welding or flux-cored arc welding.
Ensure necessary ventilation in machining: Turn on the ventilation systems, such as a vacuum pump or blower, of a manufacturing machine in order to remove noxious fumes, smoke, dust, or for other removal of debris from the surface of the workpiece.
Spot metal imperfections: Observe and identify various kinds of imperfections in metal workpieces or finished products. Recognise the best fitted manner of fixing the problem, which could be caused by corrosion, rust, fractures, leaks, and other signs of wear.
Perform product testing: Test processed workpieces or products for basic faults.
Apply isopropyl alcohol safely: Use isopropyl alcohol in order to improve the morphology and therefore the surface quality of the engraved material in a moderate and safe manner.
Monitor stock level: Evaluate how much stock is used and determine what should be ordered.
Tend cnc milling machine: Tend a computer numerical controlled (CNC) milling machine designed for cutting manufacturing processes on metal, wooden, plastic materials and others, monitor and operate it, according to regulations.
Dispose of cutting waste material: Dispose of possibly hazardous waste material created in the cutting process, such as swarf, scrap and slugs, sort according to regulations, and clean up workplace.
Replace sawing blade on machine: Replace the old blade of a sawing machine with a new one by removing the chip brush, taking away the front blade guide, loosening the blade tension and removing the blade. Assemble and install new blade by replacing the front blade guide, installing the chip brush, replacing the blade cover and adjusting blade tension.
Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
Monitor conveyor belt: Monitor the flow of the work pieces on the conveyor belt as they are processed by the machine to ensure optimal productivity.
Operate metal sheet shaker: Operate shaker by opening up an air valve allowing for slugs, the parts of the workpiece punched out, to fall into the shaker and be mixed and shaken before they’re either recycled and reused or discarded, depending on the material.
Apply cross-reference tools for product identification: Employ cross-reference tools and programmes, listing file names and line numbers, to identify part numbers, descriptions, and the vendor as source of origin.
Tend cnc grinding machine: Tend a computer numerical controlled (CNC) grinding machine designed for manufacturing processes on metal, wooden, plastic materials and others, monitor and operate it, according to regulations.
Procure mechanical machinery: Procure adequate machinery. Research the market to find the best machinery, staying within budget limits, and negotiate the purchase. Maintain records.
Tend punch press: Tend a punch press, monitor and operate it, according to regulations.
Provide advice to technicians: Offer help and advice to service technicians in case of machine malfunctions and other repair tasks.
Mark processed workpiece: Inspect and mark parts of the workpiece to indicate how they will fit into the finished product.
Maintain mechanical equipment: Observe and listen to machinery operation to detect malfunction. Service, repair, adjust, and test machines, parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical principles. Maintain and repair vehicles meant for cargo, passengers, farming and landscaping.
Ensure correct gas pressure: Ensure the necessary, usually constant, pressure of gas which is part of a machine or tool, such as torching equipment, used to process metal workpieces during metal fabrication processes.
Apply precision metalworking techniques: Comply with precision standards specific to an organisation or product in metalworking, involved in processes such as engraving, precise cutting, welding.
Tend cnc laser cutting machine: Monitor and operate a computer numerical controlled (CNC) laser cutting machine according to regulations.
Use cad software: Use computer-aided design (CAD) systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimisation of a design.
Smooth burred surfaces: Inspect and smooth burred surfaces of steel and metal parts.
Ensure correct metal temperature: Ensure the necessary, usually constant, temperature of processed metal workpieces during metal fabrication processes.
Tend laser beam welding machine: Tend a metalworking machine designed to join metal pieces by use of a laser beam exuding a concentrated heat source, monitor and operate it according to regulations.
Tend computer numerical control lathe machine: Tend a computer numerical controlled (CNC) lathe and turn machine designed for cutting manufacturing processes on metal, wooden, plastic materials and others, monitor and operate it, according to regulations.
Replace machines: Evaluate when to invest in replacing machines or machine tools and take the necessary actions.
Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
Interpret geometric dimensions and tolerances: Understand and assess the models and symbolic language of the GD&T system indicating engineering tolerances.
Apply control process statistical methods: Apply statistical methods from Design of Experiments (DOE) and Statistical Process Control (SPC) in order to control manufacturing processes.
Liaise with managers: Liaise with managers of other departments ensuring effective service and communication, i.e. sales, planning, purchasing, trading, distribution and technical.
Adjust temperature gauges: Operate temperature gauges to maintain food and drink items at appropriate temperatures.
Tend metal sawing machine: Tend sawing machine designed for metal cutting processes, monitor and operate it, according to regulations.
Tend cnc engraving machine: Monitor and operate a computer numerical controlled (CNC) engraving machine according to regulations.
Operate scrap vibratory feeder: Operate a vibratory feeder which gradually feeds scrap or other waste material into a bin.

ISCO group and title

7223 – Metal working machine tool setters and operators

 

 


 

 

References
  1. Computer numerical control machine operator – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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