Punch press operators set up and tend punch presses designed to cut workpieces into their desired shape by propelling a hydraulic ram to punch holes into them with a single die set that pushes through the top dead centre, through the surface, and to the bottom dead centre of the workpiece.
The following job titles also refer to punch press operator:
CNC laser punch press operator
injection moulding machine operative
CNC punchpress operative
press brake operative
CNC punch press operator
press punch setter
turret punch press operative
brake press setter
plastic punch press operator
punch press worker
punch machine operator
CNC turret machine operator
CNC punch press brake operator
punch machine setter
CNC punch operator
CNC press brake operator
press brake setter/operator
CNC laser punchpress operative
press punch operative
press punch inspector
centre punch operator
punch press brake operator
plastic press operator
punch press operative
press brake setter
press brake operator
Turret punch press operator
No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a punch press 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.
Punch press operator is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Punch press operator career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to punch press operator.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of punch press operator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of punch press operator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of punch press 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 punch press 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tend punch press: Tend a punch press, monitor and operate it, according to regulations.
- 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.
- 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
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of punch press operator. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Cutting technologies: The variety of cutting technologies, such as software or mechanics, guiding cutting processes through lasering, sawing, milling etc.
- Manufacturing of metal structures: The production of metal structures for construction.
- Manufacturing of cutlery: The manufacture of different cutlery items, such as forks, spoons, knives, razors or scissors.
- Electrical engineering: Understand electrical engineering, a field of engineering that deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism.
- Ferrous metal processing: Various processing methods on iron and iron-containing alloys such as steel, stainless steel and pig iron.
- Manufacturing of small metal parts: The manufacture of metal cable, plaited bands and other articles of that type, uninsulated or insulated cable not capable of being used as a conductor of electricity, coated or cored wire as well as barbed wire, wire fencing, grill, netting, cloth etc. Manufacture of coated electrodes for electric arc-welding, nails and pins, chain and springs (except watch springs): as well as leaves for springs.
- Manufacturing of metal containers: The manufacture of reservoirs, tanks and similar containers of metal, of types normally installed as fixtures for storage or manufacturing use. The manufacture of metal containers for compressed or liquefied gas.
- Types of metal: Qualities, specifications, applications and reactions to different fabricating processes of various types of metal, such as steel, aluminium, brass, copper and others.
- Manufacturing of metal assembly products: The manufacture of rivets, washers and similar non-threaded products, screw machine products, screws, nuts and similar threaded products.
- Manufacturing of steel drums and similar containers: The manufacture of pails, cans, drums, buckets, boxes, through metalworking processes.
- Types of plastic: Types of plastic materials and their chemical composition, physical properties, possible issues and usage cases.
- Manufacturing of heating equipment: The manufacture of electrical ovens and water heaters by metalworking processes.
- Manufacturing of door furniture from metal: The manufacture of metal items that can be attached to a door in order to support its function and appearance. The manufacture of padlocks, locks, keys, hinges and the like, and hardware for buildings, furniture, vehicles etc.
- Manufacturing of light metal packaging: The manufacture of tins and cans for food products, collapsible tubes and boxes, and of metallic closures.
- Manufacturing of weapons and ammunition: The manufacture of heavy weapons (artillery, mobile guns, rocket launchers, torpedo tubes, heavy machine guns), small arms (revolvers, shotguns, light machine guns), air or gas guns and pistols, and war ammunition. Also the manufacture of hunting, sporting or protective firearms and ammunition and of explosive devices such as bombs, mines and torpedoes.
- 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.
- Manufacturing of steam generators: The manufacture of steam or other vapour generators, the manufacture of auxiliary plant for use with steam generators: condensers, economisers, superheaters, steam collectors and accumulators. The manufacture of nuclear reactors, parts for marine or power boilers. Also the production of pipe system construction comprising further processing of tubes generally to make pressure pipes or pipe systems together with the associated design and construction work.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of punch press operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- 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.
- Record production data for quality control: Keep records of the machine’s faults, interventions and irregularities for quality control.
- Monitor stock level: Evaluate how much stock is used and determine what should be ordered.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
- Apply control process statistical methods: Apply statistical methods from Design of Experiments (DOE) and Statistical Process Control (SPC) in order to control manufacturing processes.
- 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
- Punch press operator – ESCO