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Extruding and Forming Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Synthetic and Glass Fibers
SOC Code: 51-6091.00

Set up, operate, or tend machines that extrude and form continuous filaments from synthetic materials, such as liquid polymer, rayon, and fiberglass.

Sample of reported job titles: Control Room Operator, Extruder Operator, Extrusion Line Operator, Extrusion Operator, Hot End Operator, Line Technician, Pelletizer Operator, Process Operator, Process Technician, Spindraw Operator


  • Remove excess, entangled, or completed filaments from machines, using hand tools.
  • Set up, operate, or tend machines that extrude and form filaments from synthetic materials such as rayon, fiberglass, or liquid polymers.
  • Load materials into extruding and forming machines, using hand tools, and adjust feed mechanisms to set feed rates.
  • Start metering pumps and observe operation of machines and equipment to ensure continuous flow of filaments extruded through spinnerettes and to detect processing defects.
  • Move controls to activate and adjust extruding and forming machines.
  • Record details of machine malfunctions.
  • Notify other workers of defects, and direct them to adjust extruding and forming machines.
  • Press buttons to stop machines when processes are complete or when malfunctions are detected.
  • Observe flow of finish across finish rollers, and turn valves to adjust flow to specifications.
  • Observe machine operations, control boards, and gauges to detect malfunctions such as clogged bushings and defective binder applicators.
  • Open cabinet doors to cut multifilament threadlines away from guides, using scissors.
  • Press metering-pump buttons and turn valves to stop flow of polymers.
  • Remove polymer deposits from spinnerettes and equipment, using silicone spray, brass chisels, and bronze-wool pads.
  • Clean and maintain extruding and forming machines, using hand tools.
  • Pass sliver strands through openings in floors to workers on floors below who wind slivers onto tubes.
  • Turn petcocks to adjust the flow of binding fluid to sleeves.
  • Turn rheostats to obtain specified temperatures in electric furnaces where glass is melted.
  • Record operational data on tags, and attach tags to machines.
  • Lower pans inside cabinets to catch molten filaments until flow of polymer through packs has stopped.
  • Pull extruded fiberglass filaments over sleeves where binding solution is applied, and into grooves of graphite shoes that bind filaments into single strands of sliver.
  • Wipe finish rollers with cloths and wash finish trays with water when necessary.

Technology Skills

  • Industrial control software - Camstar Manufacturing Execution System MES; Statistical process control SPC software
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel

Tools Used

  • Allen wrench - Allen wrench sets
  • Analytical balances - Electronic balances
  • Blow torch - Gas torches
  • Blowers or dryers - Loader dryers
  • Calipers - Digital calipers
  • Cleaning scrapers
  • Conveyor feeders - Gravimetric feeders; Polymer feed systems
  • Counters - Fray counters
  • Dial indicator or dial gauge - Dial indicators
  • Electronic counters
  • Extruders - Glass material extruders; Synthetic material extruders
  • Forklifts - Wheeled forklifts
  • Furnaces - Industrial ovens
  • Gage block set - Gage block sets
  • Hopper scale - Weigh feeders
  • Humidity sensor - Dryer monitors
  • Industrial shrink wrap equipment - Shrink wrappers
  • Intensive mixers - Color blenders
  • Label making machines - Label makers
  • Ladders - Stepladders
  • Laser printers - Computer laser printers
  • Loading equipment - Haul off machines
  • Micrometers - Digital micrometers; Laser micrometers
  • Multi tool pliers - Multitools
  • Open end wrenches - Adjustable open end wrenches
  • Personal computers
  • Power drills
  • Power staple guns - Automated staple guns
  • Processing tanks - Material hoppers
  • Pyrometers - Digital pyrometers
  • Screwdrivers - Phillips screwdrivers
  • Staple guns - Stapling machines
  • Stereo or dissecting light microscopes - Benchtop microscopes
  • Storage tanks - Vacuum tanks
  • Tachometers - Digital tachometers
  • Tape measures - Measuring tapes
  • Tension testers - Tensile testers
  • Thickness measuring devices - Die gauges
  • Thread unravelling machine - Yarn splicers
  • Wire drawing machine - Wire drawing machines
  • Wire gauge - Wire gauge testers


  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.


  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Equipment Maintenance - Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Repairing - Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.


  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Trunk Strength - The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Rate Control - The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.


  • Interest code: R
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Work Context

  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 91% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 92% responded “Every day.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 86% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 86% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 74% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Consequence of Error - 84% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 13% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 67% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures - 51% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 19% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 15% responded “Never.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings - 73% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 56% responded “Very important results.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 62% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 18% responded “Never.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 49% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Physical Proximity - 59% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 38% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 20% responded “Never.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 58% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Time Pressure - 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Level of Competition - 36% responded “Extremely competitive.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 35% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 43% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 37% responded “About half the time.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 42% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body - 47% responded “About half the time.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 49% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 15% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 45% responded “About half the time.”
  • Degree of Automation - 41% responded “Highly automated.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
92%High school diploma or equivalent
8%Post-secondary certificate

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $16.09 hourly, $33,470 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 20,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Decline (-2% or lower)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 2,100

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