What Do Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders Do?
A metal-refining furnace operator and tender does exactly what it sounds like they do – they tend and operate a furnace. That furnace can be gas, oil, coal, electric-arc, electric-induction, oxygen or open-hearth in nature. They use that furnace to melt and refine metal that can then be cast to produce steel products. This is not considered a growth industry. Recent estimates show that the United States is expected to see an 11% decline in employment in this position by 2022. However, there is still projected to be 270 annual metal-refining furnace operator and tender positions nationwide during the same time period.
Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders Skills and Abilities
Certain skills and abilities are necessary for you to find success as a metal-refining furnace operator and tender. Complex problem solving, quality control analysis, operation monitoring and judgment and decision making are all crucial skills for a person in this position to have at their disposal. As a furnace tender, you will also need to possess abilities such as control precision, manual dexterity and problem sensitivity. All of these skills and abilities help to ensure that your job will be completed the correct way the first time.
Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders Duties
As a furnace operator and tender, there are few duties you will be asked to perform. Withdrawing molten metal from the furnace for analysis is a necessary part of quality control. You will need to remove metal from the furnace for casting, record data, weigh materials and regulate air and fuel within the furnace. As the operator, you will also be responsible for inspections, maintenance and clean-up for the furnace.
Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders Tools and Technology
The first tool you will be using is, of course, the furnace itself. In order to interact with the furnace, you will need some special equipment to keep you from being burned or otherwise injured. Protective gear, foundry ladles and pressure indicators are all necessary tools that keep you and your work safe from harm. Ammeters and conveyer belts make your life easier, as well. Technology such as industrial control software, databases and inventory management software all play key roles in this position.
Education and Training for Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders
Metal-refining furnace operator and tender positions tend to require a high school diploma, GED or higher. Recent numbers indicate that more than 54% of all workers in this position hold a high school diploma or an equivalent. An additional 21.7% have some college, but no degree, while less than 15% don’t have a diploma at all. While no work experience is necessarily required, moderate-term on-the-job training is generally considered essential. Additionally, there are some specific knowledge areas that this position demands. Knowledge of mathematics, production and processing, chemistry and mechanics are all extremely beneficial when working in this position.
Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders Salary
The United States median salary for metal-refining furnace operators and tenders is $41,100 per year. That boils down to roughly $19.78 an hour. The top 10% of people in this position earn over $56,000 per year, while the annual salary of the bottom 10% is just over $27,000. This shows that, where salary is concerned, there is some wiggle room. It is possible to start out on the low end of the pay scale and work your way up to the top.
Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders Jobs by Geography
The top three states for metal-refining furnace operators and tenders are Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania. These states alone account for over 5,000 positions. The highest salaries for this position can be found in Illinois, Nevada and South Carolina.