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Career and Education Opportunities for Buffing Machine Operators in Elgin, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for buffing machine operators in the Elgin, Illinois area. There are currently 5,320 working buffing machine operators in Illinois; this should shrink by 15% to about 4,500 working buffing machine operators in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for buffing machine operators, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 15.9% over the next eight years. Buffing machine operators generally set up, operate, or tend grinding and related tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic work pieces.

Income for buffing machine operators is about $14 hourly or $29,290 per year on average in Illinois. Nationally, their income is about $14 hourly or $29,460 per year. Earnings for buffing machine operators are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Foundry and Metal Work in Illinois and not quite as good as general Foundry and Metal Work category earnings nationally.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Elgin where you can study to be a buffing machine operator, among sixty-one schools of higher education total in the Elgin area. Given that the most common education level for buffing machine operators is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a buffing machine operator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Buffing Machine Operator

In general, buffing machine operators set up, operate, or tend grinding and related tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic work pieces.

Buffing machine operators inspect or measure finished workpieces to establish conformance to given requirements, using measuring instruments such as gauges or micrometers. They also observe machine operations to uncover any problems; make needed adjustments to fix problems. Equally important, buffing machine operators have to activate machine start-up switches to grind or cut workpieces, according to given requirements. Finally, buffing machine operators prepare grinding tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic workpieces.

Every day, buffing machine operators are expected to be able to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. It is also important that they respond quickly in general.

It is important for buffing machine operators to lift and position workpieces, manually or with hoists, and secure them in hoppers or on machine tables or chucks, using clamps. They are often called upon to measure workpieces and lay out work, using precision measuring devices. They also set and adjust machine controls in line with product specifications, utilizing knowledge of machine operation. They are sometimes expected to move machine controls to index workpieces, and to modify machines for pre-selected operational settings. Somewhat less frequently, buffing machine operators are also expected to adjust air cylinders and setting stops to set traverse lengths and feed arm strokes.

Buffing machine operators sometimes are asked to prepare grinding tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic workpieces. and maintain stocks of machine components and machining tools. And finally, they sometimes have to set and adjust machine controls in line with product specifications, utilizing knowledge of machine operation.

Like many other jobs, buffing machine operators must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Elgin include:

  • Heat Treating Equipment Operator. Set up, operate, or tend heating equipment, such as heat-treating furnaces, flame-hardening machines, induction machines, or vacuum equipment to temper, harden, or heat-treat metal or plastic objects.
  • Layout Technician. Lay out reference points and dimensions on metal or plastic stock or workpieces, such as sheets, plates, or machine parts, for further processing. Includes shipfitters.
  • Mold Machine Operator. Set up, operate, or tend metal or plastic molding, casting, or coremaking machines to mold or cast metal or thermoplastic parts or products.
  • Solderer. Braze or solder together components to assemble fabricated metal parts, using soldering iron, torch, or welding machine and flux.
  • Tool and Die Maker. Analyze specifications, lay out metal stock, set up and operate machine tools, and fit and assemble parts to make and repair dies, cutting tools, and machinists' hand tools.
  • Welder. Use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.
  • Welding Operator. Set up, operate, or tend welding, soldering, or brazing machines or robots that weld, braze, or heat treat metal products, components, or assemblies.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Buffing Machine Operator Training

Elgin Community College - Elgin, IL

Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, IL 60123-7193. Elgin Community College is a medium sized college located in Elgin, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,821 students. Elgin Community College has a one to two year program in Machine Tool Technology/Machinist which graduated two students in 2008.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has a less than one year program in Machine Tool Technology/Machinist which graduated two students in 2008.

Oakton Community College - Des Plaines, IL

Oakton Community College, 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016-1268. Oakton Community College is a large college located in Des Plaines, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,552 students. Oakton Community College has an associate's degree program in Machine Tool Technology/Machinist which graduated two students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Precision Sheet Metal Operator: PSMO Certification is the metal fabricating industry's first comprehensive exam designed to assess a candidate's knowledge of fundamental precision sheet metal fabrication processes in shearing, sawing, press brake, turret punch press, laser cutting, and mechanical finishing.

For more information, see the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Elgin, Illinois

Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois photo by James Jordan

Elgin is located in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 106,330, which has grown by 12.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elgin, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Elgin cost $156,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-two new homes were constructed in Elgin, down from seven hundred fifty-six the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Elgin are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, metal and metal products, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 20.5% of Elgin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elgin is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Elgin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Elgin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Elgin is home to the Fox Bluff Corporate Center and the Elgin Fire Station Number 2 as well as Wing Park and College Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wing Park Manor Shopping Center, Tyler Creek Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Elgin can choose from Elgin-Days Inn, Colonial Lodge Motel and Crowne Plaza for temporary stays in the area.