Process Operator Career

Job Description: Set up and operate equipment that mixes or blends ingredients used in the manufacturing of food products. Includes candy makers and cheese makers.

*A job as a Process Operator falls under the broader career category of Food Batchmakers. The information on this page will generally apply to all careers in this category. We are still seeking more specific information about this career from experts in this field. If you can provide us with more information, .

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Process Operator Career

What Process Operators do:

  • Observe and listen to equipment to detect possible malfunctions, such as leaks or plugging, and report malfunctions or undesirable tastes to supervisors.
  • Set up, operate, and tend equipment that cooks, mixes, blends, or processes ingredients in the manufacturing of food products, according to formulas or recipes.
  • Turn valve controls to start equipment and to adjust operation to maintain product quality.
  • Select and measure or weigh ingredients, using English or metric measures and balance scales.
  • Follow recipes to produce food products of specified flavor, texture, clarity, bouquet, or color.
  • Press switches and turn knobs to start, adjust, and regulate equipment such as beaters, extruders, discharge pipes, and salt pumps.
  • Record production and test data for each food product batch, such as the ingredients used, temperature, test results, and time cycle.
  • Clean and sterilize vats and factory processing areas.
  • Mix or blend ingredients, according to recipes, using a paddle or an agitator, or by controlling vats that heat and mix ingredients.
  • Observe gauges and thermometers to determine if the mixing chamber temperature is within specified limits, and turn valves to control the temperature.
  • Determine mixing sequences, based on knowledge of temperature effects and of the solubility of specific ingredients.
  • Place products on carts or conveyors to transfer them to the next stage of processing.
  • Examine, feel, and taste product samples during production to evaluate quality, color, texture, flavor, and bouquet, and document the results.
  • Fill processing or cooking containers, such as kettles, rotating cookers, pressure cookers, or vats, with ingredients, by opening valves, by starting pumps or injectors, or by hand.
  • Give directions to other workers who are assisting in the batchmaking process.
  • Manipulate products, by hand or using machines, to separate, spread, knead, spin, cast, cut, pull, or roll products.
  • Inspect vats after cleaning to ensure that fermentable residue has been removed.
  • Test food product samples for moisture content, acidity level, specific gravity, or butter-fat content, and continue processing until desired levels are reached.
  • Inspect and pack the final product.
  • Modify cooking and forming operations based on the results of sampling processes, adjusting time cycles and ingredients to achieve desired qualities, such as firmness or texture.
  • Formulate or modify recipes for specific kinds of food products.
  • Cool food product batches on slabs or in water-cooled kettles.
  • Grade food products according to government regulations or according to type, color, bouquet, and moisture content.
  • Operate refining machines to reduce the particle size of cooked batches.
  • Homogenize or pasteurize material to prevent separation or to obtain prescribed butterfat content, using a homogenizing device.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

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.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment - Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment - Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

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