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CNC - Overview

Numerical control machine operators set up and maintain computerized machine tools. These machines are programmed to cut and shape parts made of metal or plastic.

Numerical control machine operators run computer-controlled machines. These machines cut, shape, drill, or otherwise modify metal or plastic parts. The computer program tells the machine which tools to use and how to use them.

Operators set up, tend, and maintain the machines. They set up the machine by loading the machine controller (computer) with instructions or programs. The programs determine the speed and feed ratios as well as the size and position of cuts.

Once the programs are entered, operators read blueprints to select, measure, install, and secure the tools and attachments the machines will use. They use hand tools and precision instruments to attach the items. Finally, they attach the work pieces and start the machines.

While the machines are operating, operators may enter commands or adjust machine controls to correct errors. They may stop machines to change the tools or the setup. When the process is completed, they stop machines to remove the finished products. Operators measure the finished products to ensure they meet requirements.

Numerical control machine operators also maintain the machines. They replace machine tools when they become worn or broken. They contact supervisors or programmers when problems occur.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.