Extrusion Operator at work

What is an Extrusion Operator?

Extruding Machine Operators set up, operate, or tend machines to extrude or draw thermoplastic or metal materials into tubes, rods, hoses, wire, bars, or structural shapes. They also measure and examine extruded products to locate defects and to check for conformance to specifications, adjusting controls as necessary to alter products.

Other tasks include:

  • Determine setup procedures and select machine dies and parts, according to specifications.
  • Start machines and set controls to regulate vacuum, air pressure, sizing rings, and temperature, and to synchronize speed of extrusion.
  • Reel extruded products into rolls of specified lengths and weights.
  • Install dies, machine screws, and sizing rings on machines that extrude thermoplastic or metal materials.
  • Change dies on extruding machines according to production line changes.
  • Clean work areas.

Typical day at work

On a daily basis, Extruding Machine Operators maintain an inventory of materials. They measure and examine extruded products to locate defects and to check for conformance to specifications, adjusting controls as necessary to alter products.

A typical day for an Extruding and Drawing Machine Setter, Operator and Tender, Metal and Plastic will also include:

  • Clean work areas.
  • Reel extruded products into rolls of specified lengths and weights.
  • Load machine hoppers with mixed materials, using augers, or stuff rolls of plastic dough into machine cylinders.
  • Test physical properties of products with testing devices such as acid-bath testers, burst testers, and impact testers.
  • Adjust controls to draw or press metal into specified shapes and diameters.

Other responsibilities

  • Besides their typical day, Extruding Machine Operators also operate shearing mechanisms to cut rods to specified lengths. They may also replace worn dies when products vary from specifications.
  • On a weekly to monthly basis, Extruding Machine Operators weigh and mix pelletized, granular, or powdered thermoplastic materials and coloring pigments. They might also reel extruded products into rolls of specified lengths and weights.
  • In addition, they load machine hoppers with mixed materials, using augers, or stuff rolls of plastic dough into machine cylinders.
  • Although specific duties may vary, many of them install dies, machine screws, and sizing rings on machines that extrude thermoplastic or metal materials.
  • To some Extruding Machine Operators, it is also their responsibility to determine setup procedures and select machine dies and parts, according to specifications.
Extrusion Die Diagram