Press machine operators are responsible for set up, operation, and tending machines to saw, cut, punch, crimp, bend or straighten metal or plastic materials.

Are you interested in carving or sculpture? Do you have an eye for detail? If so, a job as a press machine operator may be a great way for you to plug into the world of advanced manufacturing. You’ll work in the most exciting environment possible – the production floor – everyday, running a machine that shapes raw materials into usable parts and finished products. This position also offers lots of opportunity for advancement.

A press machine is one of the most versatile machines in the manufacturing process, which means you’ll see and produce items from huge sheets of plastic and metals to tiny lug nuts. Some purposes of the press machine include punching holes, flattening, and rolling raw materials into different shapes. It’s a potentially dangerous machine, which means you’ll need to have a clear head and a handle on the safety procedures at all times.

Your job will include starting, running, and stopping the machine. You’ll know when something goes wrong and what to do about it, whether it’s reporting the problem or performing minor repairs by yourself. In addition, you’ll need to inspect the products after they've come out of the machine to make sure there are no defects. You might need to technical drawings and adjust the machine according to other instructions. You’ll also need a solid base knowledge of mechanical and electrical systems to know when the machine is performing correctly.

Press machine operator is a more specialized kind of machine operator, which means you’ll need previous experience on the production floor in order to earn the job. Vocational training and certification will make you stand out even more in the field.

Also Known As:

Arbor Press Operator, Metal Machine Operator, Mold Technician, Adjuster, Nibbler Operator

Critical Skills


  • Comprehend and Follow Visual, Written, and Oral Instructions
  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly
  • Precision


  • Advanced Computer Skills
  • Communication - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking/Oral
  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Deductive Reasoning
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Problem Solving
  • Quality Assurance
  • Teamwork
  • Troubleshooting
  • Working with Tools

Key Responsibilities

  •  Tends machine that presses sheets of materials
  • Positions roll of felt on machine spindle, using hoist
  •  Turns steam valves to adjust temperature of presses of machine
  • Inspects items emerging from rollers of machine, and discards defective items
  •  May adjust rollers to maintain specified thickness of material using handtools

Special Requirements

  • Heavy Lifting Ability
  • Physical Strength and Dexterity


  • Creativity
  • Machine Operations
  • Molding

How to get this job

Previous experience with mold/metal making or in machine operations is desired. Courses in press machine or machine operations a plus.

Next Steps for this job

On the job training is key.

Specific job titles and duties vary by employer so check for details.