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Career and Education Opportunities for Buffing Machine Operators in Portland, Maine

For those living in the Portland, Maine area, there are many career and education opportunities for buffing machine operators. About 430 people are currently employed as buffing machine operators in Maine. By 2016, this is expected to shrink 11% to about 380 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for buffing machine operators are expected to shrink by about 15.9%. 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.

Buffing machine operators earn about $18 hourly or $39,190 per year on average in Maine and about $14 per hour or $29,460 per year on average nationally. Incomes for buffing machine operators are better than in the overall category of Foundry and Metal Work in Maine, and not quite as good as the overall Foundry and Metal Work category nationally.

The Portland area is home to twenty-three schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can get a degree as a buffing machine operator. The most common level of education for buffing machine operators is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Portland 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.
  • 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

Southern Maine Community College - South Portland, ME

Southern Maine Community College, 2 Fort Road, South Portland, ME 04106-1698. Southern Maine Community College is a medium sized college located in South Portland, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 5,654 students and an admission rate of 68%. Southern Maine Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Machine Tool Technology/Machinist which graduated zero and eleven students respectively in 2008.

Central Maine Community College - Auburn, ME

Central Maine Community College, 1250 Turner Street, Auburn, ME 04210-6498. Central Maine Community College is a small college located in Auburn, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,426 students. Central Maine Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Machine Tool Technology/Machinist which graduated zero and ten students respectively 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: Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine photo by Pauk

Portland is situated in Cumberland County, Maine. It has a population of over 62,561, which has shrunk by 2.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 102, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $164,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were built in Portland, down from thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 36.4% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 6.3%, which is less than Maine's average of 7.6%. About 14.1% of Portland's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.4%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Mariners Church, Swedenborgian Church and Stroudwater Christian Church are among the churches located in Portland. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Portland is home to the Cumberland Wharf and the Browns Wharf as well as Longfellow Square and Hadlock Field. Shopping centers in the area include Mill Creek Shopping Center, Monument Square Shopping Center and Portland East Shopping Center. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Fairfield Inn Portland Airport and Ramada Limited Portland for temporary stays in the area.