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Career profile Forge Operator

Also known as Blacksmith, Cold Header Operator, Forge Operator, Forge Press Operator, Forger, Hammer Operator, Header Set-Up Operator, Machine Operator, Process Technician, Set Up Technician

Forge Operator

Also known as Blacksmith, Cold Header Operator, Forge Operator

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$28,180 - $62,550 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Mathematics
  • Education and Training
Core tasks
  • Read work orders or blueprints to determine specified tolerances and sequences of operations for machine setup.
  • Position and move metal wires or workpieces through a series of dies that compress and shape stock to form die impressions.
  • Measure and inspect machined parts to ensure conformance to product specifications.
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What does a Forge Operator do?

Forge Operators set up, operate, or tend forging machines to taper, shape, or form metal or plastic parts.

What kind of tasks does a Forge Operator perform regularly?

Forge Operators are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Read work orders or blueprints to determine specified tolerances and sequences of operations for machine setup.
  • Position and move metal wires or workpieces through a series of dies that compress and shape stock to form die impressions.
  • Measure and inspect machined parts to ensure conformance to product specifications.
  • Set up, operate, or tend presses and forging machines to perform hot or cold forging by flattening, straightening, bending, cutting, piercing, or other operations to taper, shape, or form metal.
  • Turn handles or knobs to set pressures and depths of ram strokes and to synchronize machine operations.
  • Install, adjust, and remove dies, synchronizing cams, forging hammers, and stop guides, using overhead cranes or other hoisting devices, and hand tools.
  • Start machines to produce sample workpieces, and observe operations to detect machine malfunctions and to verify that machine setups conform to specifications.
  • Confer with other workers about machine setups and operational specifications.
  • Trim and compress finished forgings to specified tolerances.
  • Remove dies from machines when production runs are finished.
  • Repair, maintain, and replace parts on dies.

The above responsibilities are specific to Forge Operators. More generally, Forge Operators are involved in several broader types of activities:

Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

What is a Forge Operator salary?

The median salary for a Forge Operator is $41,430, and the average salary is $43,480. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Forge Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Forge Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Forge Operators earn less than $28,180 per year, 25% earn less than $33,790, 75% earn less than $52,420, and 90% earn less than $62,550.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Forge Operators is expected to change by -13.1%, and there should be roughly 1,100 open positions for Forge Operators every year.

Median annual salary
$41,430
Typical salary range
$28,180 - $62,550
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-13.1%

What personality traits are common among Forge Operators?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Forge Operator are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Forge Operators typically have very strong Realistic interests. 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.

Also, Forge Operators typically have moderate Conventional interests. 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.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Forge Operator tend to value Support, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Forge Operators strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Forge Operators moderately value 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.

Lastly, Forge Operators somewhat value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Forge Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and cooperation.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Forge Operators, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
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.

What education and training do Forge Operators need?

Working as a Forge Operator usually requires a high school diploma.

Forge Operators need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Forge Operators

  • 12.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 50.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 23.8% completed some college coursework
  • 7.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 3.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 1.7% earned a Master's degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Forge Operators

Forge Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, mathematics, or education and training knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Forge Operators might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
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.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

Important Abilities needed by Forge Operators

Forge Operators must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Forge Operators need abilities such as near vision, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Forge Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
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 that there is a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Forge Operators

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Forge Operators frequently use skills like operations monitoring, reading comprehension, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Forge Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
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.
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.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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