Profession computer numerical control machine operator

computer numerical control machine operator

CNC operators operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform machine functions on metal or plastic workpieces.

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Tasks computer numerical control machine operator

  • Determine specifications (material, machine operation, etc.), tool and equipment requirements and procedure sequences from blueprints, instructions and machine knowledge.
  • Select tools and materials necessary for the job.
  • Set up machine controls by turning the planned machining operations into a set of instructions.
  • Test the machine operation by a trial run or using computer simulations.
  • Operate CNC-machines for manufacturing.
  • Control machines during operation, e.g. by listening and observing, in order to detect problems or irregularities.
  • Confer with supervisor or programmer to resolve machine malfunctions and production problems.
  • Adjust machines in case of malfunctioning, problems or irregularities.
  • Mount, install, align and secure tools, attachments, fixtures and workpieces on machines, e.g. using hand tools and precision measuring instruments.
  • Maintain machines and remove and replace broken or worn machine parts using hand tools.

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  • Quality standards

    The national and international requirements, specifications and guidelines to ensure that products, services and processes are of good quality and fit for purpose.

  • Manufacturing processes

    The steps required through which a material is transformed into a product, its development and full-scale manufacturing.

  • Statistical process control

    Method of quality control that uses statistics to monitor processes.


  • Perform machine maintenance

    Perform regular maintenance, possibly including corrections and alterations, on a machine or machine tool to ensure it remains in a proper productive state.

  • Program a CNC controller

    Set up the desired product design in the CNC controller of the CNC machine for product manufacturing.

  • Perform test run

    Perform tests putting a system, machine, tool or other equipment through a series of actions under actual operating conditions in order to assess its reliability and suitability to realise its tasks, and adjust settings accordingly.

  • Troubleshoot

    Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.

  • Read standard blueprints

    Read and comprehend standard blueprints, machine, and process drawings.

  • Set up the controller of a machine

    Set up and give commands to a machine by dispatching the appropriate data and input into the (computer) controller corresponding with the desired processed product.

  • Use automatic programming

    Utilise specialised software tools to generate computer code from specifications, such as diagrams, structured informations or other means of describing functionality.

  • Remove processed workpiece

    Remove individual workpieces after processing, from the manufacturing machine or the machine tool. In case of a conveyor belt this involves quick, continuous movement.

  • Remove inadequate workpieces

    Evaluate which deficient processed workpieces do not meet the set-up standard and should be removed and sort the waste according to regulations.

  • Monitor automated machines

    Continuously check up on the automated machine's set-up and execution or make regular control rounds. If necessary, record and interpret data on the operating conditions of installations and equipment in order to identify abnormalities.

  • Supply machine

    Ensure the machine is fed the necessary and adequate materials and control the placement or automatic feed and retrieval of work pieces in the machines or machine tools on the production line.

  • Supply machine with appropriate tools

    Supply the machine with the necessary tools and items for a particular production purpose.

  • Operate precision measuring equipment

    Measure the size of a processed part when checking and marking it to check if it is up to standard by use of two and three dimensional precision measuring equipment such as a caliper, a micrometer, and a measuring gauge.

  • Consult technical resources

    Read and interpret such technical resources such as digital or paper drawings and adjustment data in order to properly set up a machine or working tool, or to assemble mechanical equipment.

  • Use CAM software

    Use computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) programmes to control machinery and machine tools in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimisation as part of the manufacturing processes of workpieces.

  • Ensure equipment availability

    Ensure that the necessary equipment is provided, ready and available for use before start of procedures.

Optional knowledge and skills

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Source: Sisyphus ODB