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Cutting, Punching, & Press Machine Setters, Operators, & Tenders, Metal & Plastic

Also called: Machine Operator, Press Operator, Saw Operator, Set-Up Operator

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What they do:
Set up, operate, or tend machines to saw, cut, shear, slit, punch, crimp, notch, bend, or straighten metal or plastic material.
On the job, you would:
  • Examine completed workpieces for defects, such as chipped edges or marred surfaces and sort defective pieces according to types of flaws.
  • Measure completed workpieces to verify conformance to specifications, using micrometers, gauges, calipers, templates, or rulers.
  • Set stops on machine beds, change dies, and adjust components, such as rams or power presses, when making multiple or successive passes.


Engineering and Technology
  • mechanical
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
  • manufacture and distribution of products
Math and Science
  • arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics


Basic Skills
  • keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
  • listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
Problem Solving
  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it


Hand and Finger Use
  • keep your arm or hand steady
  • hold or move items with your hands
Controlled Movement
  • quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat
  • use your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down


People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Attention to Detail
  • Dependability
  • Independence
  • Initiative
  • Integrity
  • Self Control


You might use software like this on the job:

Spreadsheet software
  • Microsoft Excel Hot Technology
Enterprise resource planning ERP software Hot Technology
  • SAP Hot Technology
Computer aided manufacturing CAM software Hot Technology
  • Striker Systems SS-Punch


Education: (rated 2 of 5)
high school diploma/GED or
certificate after high school
usually needed

Examples of Registered Apprenticeship programs include:

  • Press Operator, Heavy Duty
  • Press Setup Operator - Stamping
  • Spring Coiling Machine Setter

Job Outlook

Below Average Outlook
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.

Green Green jobs will increase the demand for this type of work.

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