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Details for Plating and Coating Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic


Set up, operate, or tend plating or coating machines to coat metal or plastic products with chromium, zinc, copper, cadmium, nickel, or other metal to protect or decorate surfaces. Includes electrolytic processes.


  • Inspect coated or plated areas for defects such as air bubbles or uneven coverage.
  • Immerse objects to be coated or plated into cleaning solutions, or spray objects with conductive solutions to prepare them for plating.
  • Immerse workpieces in coating solutions or liquid metal or plastic for specified times.
  • Set up, operate, or tend plating or coating machines to coat metal or plastic products with chromium, zinc, copper, cadmium, nickel, or other metal to protect or decorate surfaces.
  • Position and feed materials into processing machines, by hand or by using automated equipment.
  • Test machinery to ensure that it is operating properly.
  • Operate hoists to place workpieces onto machine feed carriages or spindles.
  • Maintain production records.
  • Adjust controls to set temperatures of coating substances and speeds of machines and equipment.
  • Remove objects from solutions at periodic intervals and observe objects to verify conformance to specifications.
  • Observe gauges to ensure that machines are operating properly; make adjustments or stop machines when problems occur.
  • Position containers to receive parts, and load or unload materials in containers, using dollies or handtrucks.
  • Perform equipment maintenance such as cleaning tanks and lubricating moving parts of conveyors.
  • Clean and maintain equipment, using water hoses and scrapers.
  • Determine sizes and compositions of objects to be plated, and amounts of electrical current and time required.
  • Suspend sticks or pieces of plating metal from anodes (positive terminals) and immerse metal in plating solutions.
  • Monitor and measure thicknesses of electroplating on component parts in order to verify conformance to specifications, using micrometers.
  • Adjust dials to regulate flow of current and voltage supplied to terminals in order to control plating processes.
  • Rinse coated objects in cleansing liquids; then dry them with cloths, centrifugal driers, or by tumbling in sawdust-filled barrels.
  • Examine completed objects to determine thicknesses of metal deposits, or measure thicknesses by using instruments such as micrometers.
  • Measure or weigh materials, using rulers, calculators, and scales.
  • Suspend objects such as parts or molds from cathode rods (negative terminals), and immerse objects in plating solutions.
  • Measure, mark, and mask areas to be excluded from plating.
  • Mix and test solutions, and turn valves to fill tanks with solutions.
  • Place plated or coated materials on racks and transfer them to ovens to dry for specified periods of time.
  • Plate small objects such as nuts or bolts, using motor-driven barrels.
  • Read production schedules to determine setups of equipment and machines.
  • Spray coating in specified patterns according to instructions.
  • Position objects to be plated in frames, or suspend them from positive or negative terminals of power supplies.
  • Measure and set stops, rolls, brushes, and guides on automatic feeders and conveying equipment or coating machines, using micrometers, rules, and hand tools.
  • Preheat workpieces in ovens.
  • Replace worn parts and adjust equipment components, using hand tools.
  • Attach nozzles, position guns, connect hoses, and thread wire in order to set up metal-spraying machines.
  • Remove excess materials or impurities from objects, using air hoses or grinding machines.
  • Clean workpieces, using wire brushes.
  • Install gears and holding devices on conveyor equipment.
  • Operate sandblasting equipment to roughen and clean surfaces of workpieces.
  • Cut metal or other materials, using shears or band saws.
  • Charge furnaces.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.



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