How to become a Plastics Process Operative

plastics process operative careers

What does a Plastics Process Operative do?

Plastic process operatives monitor machines involved in mass production of all kinds of plastic items. The work consists of weighing and sometimes mixing different raw materials together before feeding them into the machine and making any necessary adjustments to the settings.

A number of machines may be controlled at once, and might produce items via different processes such as injection moulding or extrusion. This requires familiarity with different types of machine, and the operative will often need to carry out simple maintenance tasks.

Once production has started, plastic process operatives make quality control checks, both visually and by measuring size or weight. Some products may require ‘flash’ (excess plastic) to be trimmed off, and any defective products are recycled. Operatives may have to label the products, stack them for collection and/or pack them in boxes.

A record of the amounts of raw materials used, the quantity of products and details of any problems that have occurred, along with changes made to rectify the problem will need to be kept throughout the production process.

What's the working environment like working as a Plastics Process Operative?

Plastics process operatives commonly work 35-40 hours a week, often covering early, late and night shifts, and weekends. A driving licence is often required due to the nature of shift working.

The work is in well-ventilated factories or workshops which can be very warm due to the heating of raw materials. Dust and fumes are usual. Operatives normally wear overalls, and sometimes face masks and gloves. They may have to stand for long periods and bend to lift heavy materials.

What does it take to become a Plastics Process Operative?

To be a plastics process operative you should:

  • have some knowledge of working safely with machines
  • have some scientific knowledge and understanding
  • be able to concentrate for long periods and pay attention to detail
  • be able to work quickly and steadily on repetitive tasks
  • have numeracy skills in order to measure and mix quantities of raw materials
  • be physically fit and have good vision for checking quality.

Plastics Process Operative Career Opportunities

Some operatives progress to supervisory posts such as chargehand, inspector or supervisor. For those adept at working with machines, machine moulding or setting may be possible. Product quality is an important aspect of the work, and with relevant qualifications, there may be opportunities to move into quality control work.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Plastics Process Operative that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Minerva House
Bruntland Road
AB12 4QL
Tel: 01224 787800

Polymer Training Limited
Halesfield 7
Tel: 01952 587020

Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3)
1 Carlton House Terrace
Tel: 020 7451 7300

Facts and Stats:

  • 4,076,000 people work in manufacturing in the UK, making it the nation''s top occupation
  • Brazil is the top coffee-producing country in the world, producing 1,653,020 tonnes a year
  • Chicago has more chocolate manufacturers within a small radius than any other place in the world

Courses to help you become a Plastics Process Operative