Extruder Operator

Press materials through industrial machines to make specific shapes.

What does an Extruder Operator do?

Extrusion is the process of forcing a material through a machine, and having it come out a precise size and shape at the other end. Think of the sugar cookies your mom makes every Christmas. The dough is forced through a metal die on a cookie press, producing rows of perfectly shaped snowflakes and trees. As an Extruder Operator, you run the machines that perform this type of work.

There are many materials that are transformed through the extrusion process. In addition to cookies, many other food products are extruded as part of their manufacturing process. As an Extruder Operator, you might also work with ceramics, plastics, or metals.

Regardless of the material you work with, though, the process is similar. You are in control of the rate of output, and make adjustments to increase or decrease the speed. You also watch the parts of the machine to make sure they don’t get backed up, fail to apply the proper amount of force, or stick.

Some Extruder Operator jobs require you to evaluate the temperature and color of the item. When you work with molten metal, for example, you learn to determine the product’s readiness based on the shade of the liquid moving through the press.

In addition to maintaining the proper operation of your extruder, you also perform quality control tests. You gather random samples, and test for safety, strength, uniformity, volume, shape, and myriad other characteristics before writing a report for the boss.