Metal-Refining Furnace Operators and Tenders

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Also known as:  Electric Arc Furnace Operator, Melt Room Operator, Smelter Operator

ABOUT METAL-REFINING FURNACE OPERATOR OR TENDER CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
High-impact bars inside a car door, steel girders supporting skyscrapers, even that piece of foil around your sandwich, have one thing in common - all were once ore or scrap metal that was melted down and carefully mixed with additives, before being shaped.

Metal-refining melters, furnace ope ...
rators, blowers and keepers monitor and control vessels and furnaces that melt and purify metal so that it can be poured into a mold to make a product. They may work in various types of metal refineries, foundries and scrap metal recycling facilities.

In integrated steel mills they control the process that makes iron, which is subsequently refined into steel. The steel furnace operators and furnace keepers are among the highest paid production people in the mill. While they may spend part of their time in the hot and noisy furnace area, the steel furnace operators are usually found in an air conditioned pulpit control room, operating computers and monitoring visual displays.

The furnace operator, using computerized charge models, watches over the amounts of scrap, hot metal, and additive used and makes adjustments as necessary. He or she is responsible for ensuring that the proper ratio of raw materials is maintained, and for adjusting the furnace temperature. Then the furnace operator uses the controls that allow the iron to be purified into steel. Once this is completed, the molten metal is tapped into a ladle, which is used to pour the steel into a mold. The mold will cast a slab of steel.

All the data generated in the iron and steel making process is captured into a computer system. A good grasp of basic mathematics, a high school education, and on-the-job training will help you advance from an entry-level position to the control room.

Being adaptable and willing to keep up with technology could "heat up" your prospects for a career in this field.

SNAPSHOT Expand
Operate or tend furnaces, such as gas, oil, coal, electric-arc or electric induction, open-hearth, or oxygen furnaces, to melt and refine metal before casting or to produce specified types of steel.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
MED
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
LOW
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
HIGH
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
HIGH
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Weigh materials to be charged into furnaces, using scales.
Regulate supplies of fuel and air, or control flow of electric current and water coolant to heat furnaces and adjust temperatures.
Inspect furnaces and equipment to locate defects and wear.
Observe air and temperature gauges or metal color and fluidity, and turn fuel valves or adjust controls to maintain required temperatures.
Operate controls to move or discharge metal workpieces from furnaces.
Draw smelted metal samples from furnaces or kettles for analysis, and calculate types and amounts of materials needed to ensure that materials meet specifications.
Drain, transfer, or remove molten metal from furnaces, and place it into molds, using hoists, pumps, or ladles.
Record production data, and maintain production logs.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Manual Dexterity The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Control Precision The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Arm-Hand Steadiness The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Selective Attention The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
Reaction Time The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
Far Vision The ability to see details at a distance.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Quality Control Analysis Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
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