Extrusion operators, sometimes called extruding and drawing machine operators, control and monitor machines that shape thermoplastic materials. They work in a number of manufacturing industries, including general plastics manufacturing, automobile and automotive parts manufacturing, and aerospace manufacturing.
While some employers of plastic extrusion operators may hire candidates who don’t have a high school diploma or GED, many employers prefer to hire workers who do. Otherwise, there are no formal educational requirements for this job. However, new hires go through an on-the-job training process that involves starting with basic tasks, such as feeding the machine, under the supervision of experienced operators. As they learn more and more skills, they eventually begin to work independently. It can take a year or more to become highly skilled at operating an extruding machine.
Operating an extrusion machine requires workers to perform several basic tasks. In some cases, they must mix thermoplastic materials in the form of pellets or powder with colored dyes before feeding it into the extrusion machine. Extruding machine operators set the dials and controls on the machine to ensure that the created product is the right size, shape and thickness. Extruding machines are commonly used to produce items and shapes such as hoses, wires or tubes. Once the product is created, extruding machine operators measure and test it to make sure that it conforms to the requested specifications.