Extruder Operator

Press materials through industrial machines to make specific shapes.
picture of Extruder Operator

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$21,000 – $49,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Extruder Operators 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.

Should I be an Extruder Operator?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • Also known as: Jacket Line Operator, Setup Operator, Stuffer, Vertical Hydraulic

    How to become an Extruder Operator

    Most Extruder Operators have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9waaaa&chl=no+college+%2873%25%29|certificate+%2827%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,73,73
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