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Career profile Packing Machine Operator

Also known as A-Operator, Bundler, Closing Machine Operator, Computer Numerical Control Machine Operator (CNC Machine Operator), Filler Operator, Machine Operator, Packaging Operator, Packing Attendant, Packing Machine Operator

Packing Machine Operator

Also known as A-Operator, Bundler, Closing Machine Operator

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$23,670 - $51,080 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Mechanical
  • Public Safety and Security
Core tasks
  • Attach identification labels to finished packaged items, or cut stencils and stencil information on containers, such as lot numbers or shipping destinations.
  • Sort, grade, weigh, and inspect products, verifying and adjusting product weight or measurement to meet specifications.
  • Observe machine operations to ensure quality and conformity of filled or packaged products to standards.
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What does a Packing Machine Operator do?

Packing Machine Operators operate or tend machines to prepare industrial or consumer products for storage or shipment.

In addition, Packing Machine Operators includes cannery workers who pack food products.

What kind of tasks does a Packing Machine Operator perform regularly?

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

  • Attach identification labels to finished packaged items, or cut stencils and stencil information on containers, such as lot numbers or shipping destinations.
  • Sort, grade, weigh, and inspect products, verifying and adjusting product weight or measurement to meet specifications.
  • Observe machine operations to ensure quality and conformity of filled or packaged products to standards.
  • Stop or reset machines when malfunctions occur, clear machine jams, and report malfunctions to a supervisor.
  • Remove finished packaged items from machine and separate rejected items.
  • Start machine by engaging controls.
  • Monitor the production line, watching for problems such as pile-ups, jams, or glue that isn't sticking properly.
  • Inspect and remove defective products and packaging material.
  • Tend or operate machine that packages product.
  • Clean, oil, and make minor adjustments or repairs to machinery and equipment, such as opening valves or setting guides.
  • Regulate machine flow, speed, or temperature.
  • Supply materials to spindles, conveyors, hoppers, or other feeding devices and unload packaged product.
  • Adjust machine components and machine tension and pressure according to size or processing angle of product.
  • Stack finished packaged items, or wrap protective material around each item, and pack the items in cartons or containers.
  • Package the product in the form in which it will be sent out, for example, filling bags with flour from a chute or spout.
  • Stock and sort product for packaging or filling machine operation, and replenish packaging supplies, such as wrapping paper, plastic sheet, boxes, cartons, glue, ink, or labels.
  • Count and record finished and rejected packaged items.
  • Clean packaging containers, line and pad crates, or assemble cartons to prepare for product packing.
  • Secure finished packaged items by hand tying, sewing, gluing, stapling, or attaching fastener.
  • Clean and remove damaged or otherwise inferior materials to prepare raw products for processing.

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

Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

What is a Packing Machine Operator salary?

The median salary for a Packing Machine Operator is $32,640, and the average salary is $35,220. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Packing Machine Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Packing Machine Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Packing Machine Operators earn less than $23,670 per year, 25% earn less than $27,490, 75% earn less than $40,640, and 90% earn less than $51,080.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Packing Machine Operators is expected to change by 5.4%, and there should be roughly 43,100 open positions for Packing Machine Operators every year.

Median annual salary
$32,640
Typical salary range
$23,670 - $51,080
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
5.4%

What personality traits are common among Packing Machine 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 Packing Machine Operator are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Packing Machine 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, Packing Machine Operators typically have strong 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 Packing Machine Operator tend to value Support, Relationships, and Independence.

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

Second, Packing Machine 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, Packing Machine Operators moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

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 Packing Machine Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and self-control.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Packing Machine 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.
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.

What education and training do Packing Machine Operators need?

Working as a Packing Machine Operator usually requires a high school diploma.

Packing Machine 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 Packing Machine Operators

  • 32.6% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 41.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 15.5% completed some college coursework
  • 4.8% earned a Associate's degree
  • 5.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Packing Machine Operators

Packing Machine Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, mechanical, or public safety and security knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Packing Machine 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.
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.
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.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Important Abilities needed by Packing Machine Operators

Packing Machine 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, Packing Machine Operators need abilities such as arm-hand steadiness, problem sensitivity, and perceptual speed in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Packing Machine Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

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.
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.
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.
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.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.

Critical Skills needed by Packing Machine 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.

Packing Machine Operators frequently use skills like operations monitoring, monitoring, and operation and control to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Packing Machine Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations 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.
Coordination
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

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.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.