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Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders
SOC Code: 51-4051.00

Operate or tend furnaces, such as gas, oil, coal, electric-arc or electric induction, open-hearth, or oxygen furnaces, to melt and refine metal before casting or to produce specified types of steel.

Sample of reported job titles: Arc / Argon Oxygen Decarborization Melter (ARC / AOD Melter), Automatic Furnace Operator, Central Melt Specialist, Control Room Operator, Electric Melt Operator, Furnace Operator, Melt Room Operator, Melter, Vacuum Melter, Vessel Operator

Tasks

  • Regulate supplies of fuel and air, or control flow of electric current and water coolant to heat furnaces and adjust temperatures.
  • Draw smelted metal samples from furnaces or kettles for analysis, and calculate types and amounts of materials needed to ensure that materials meet specifications.
  • Weigh materials to be charged into furnaces, using scales.
  • Record production data, and maintain production logs.
  • Observe air and temperature gauges or metal color and fluidity, and turn fuel valves or adjust controls to maintain required temperatures.
  • Operate controls to move or discharge metal workpieces from furnaces.
  • Inspect furnaces and equipment to locate defects and wear.
  • Drain, transfer, or remove molten metal from furnaces, and place it into molds, using hoists, pumps, or ladles.
  • Kindle fires, and shovel fuel and other materials into furnaces or onto conveyors by hand, with hoists, or by directing crane operators.
  • Prepare material to load into furnaces, including cleaning, crushing, or applying chemicals, by using crushing machines, shovels, rakes, or sprayers.
  • Remove impurities from the surface of molten metal, using strainers.
  • Observe operations inside furnaces, using television screens, to ensure that problems do not occur.
  • Sprinkle chemicals over molten metal to bring impurities to the surface.
  • Direct work crews in the cleaning and repair of furnace walls and flooring.
  • Scrape accumulations of metal oxides from floors, molds, and crucibles, and sift and store them for reclamation.

Technology Skills

  • Data base user interface and query software - Process safety management software
  • Industrial control software - Process control software
  • Inventory management software - Production tracking system software
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel

Tools Used

  • Ammeters - Digital ammeters
  • Belt conveyors - Conveyor belt systems; Pivoting conveyors
  • Blow torch - Oxygen lances
  • Closed circuit television CCTV system - Closed circuit television monitors
  • Control unit - Control computers
  • Core drying ovens - Drying systems
  • Ear plugs - Hearing protection plugs
  • Electric furnace - Electric arc furnaces
  • Electrical or power regulators - Rheostats
  • Evaporative coolers - Evaporative cooling systems
  • Flowmeters - Fluid flow meters
  • Forklifts - Wheeled forklifts
  • Foundry ladles - Foundry casting ladles; Foundry transfer ladles; Foundry treatment ladles
  • Foundry molds
  • Foundry shovels
  • Furnaces - Gas furnaces; Oil furnaces; Removable crucible furnaces; Vacuum furnaces (see all 14 examples)
  • Goggles - Chemical protection goggles
  • Hoists - Power hoists
  • Loading equipment - Scrap charging buckets
  • Overhead crane - Foundry overhead cranes
  • Pressure indicators - Air gauges; Pressure gauges
  • Protective gloves - Heat reflective gloves
  • Pulverizing machinery - Slag crushing machines
  • Pyrometers
  • Respirators - Protective respirators
  • Roller conveyors - Holding conveyors
  • Safety glasses - Industrial safety glasses
  • Scissor lift or lift table - Scissor lifts
  • Single gas monitors - Helium leak detectors
  • Spray gun - Sprayers
  • Surface thermometers - Digital thermometers
  • Vacuum pumps - Industrial vacuum pumps
  • Vibrating conveyors - Vibratory conveyors
  • Voltage or current meters - Digital voltmeters
  • Wattmeters - Digital wattmeters
  • Weigh belt feeder - Feed scales

Knowledge

  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Skills

  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • 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.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Abilities

  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Reaction Time - The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Depth Perception - The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
  • Extent Flexibility - The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
  • Hearing Sensitivity - The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • 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.
  • Static Strength - The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Auditory Attention - The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • 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.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Glare Sensitivity - The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Response Orientation - The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
  • 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.
  • Visual Color Discrimination - The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.

Interests

  • Interest code: RIC
    • 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.
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 97% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings - 92% responded “Every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures - 84% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 88% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 55% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 66% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 64% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Conditions - 79% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 59% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 51% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 25% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 43% responded “Very important results.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 58% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 46% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection - 60% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 45% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled - 71% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 48% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 40% responded “Important.”
  • Consequence of Error - 58% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment - 56% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 38% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 26% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Contact With Others - 47% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 42% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure - 35% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body - 39% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 24% responded “Continually or almost continually.”

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.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • 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.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

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.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $19.85 hourly, $41,300 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 18,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Decline (-2% or lower)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 1,500

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