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Plastic injection molding jobs are typically located in the manufacturing industry. The process required to qualify for this type of job includes post-secondary training or significant workplace experience. Plastic injection molding is a term used to describe the process for creating formed plastic products. Plastic products are very flexible and are used to meet a range of different needs — from consumable to hard products.
The process of plastic injection molding requires the use of large, complex machines. A chemical mixture is heated, turned, and then forced to fill a mold cavity. The mixture cools and hardens within the cavity, taking on the shape and form of the mold. This process is very flexible and can be used to make everything from plastic toys to car doors.
There are three different types of plastic injection molding jobs: production line technician, maintenance mechanic, and quality inspector. All these positions require staff who have a fundamental understanding of injection molding equipment, concepts, and procedures. The typical training program is one or two years in length and is available at the community college level.
A production line technician is responsible for the operation of the injection molding machine, monitoring the flow of liquid plastic and ensuring the smooth performance of all the machines and tools used. This position is usually an eight-hour shift, with most operations working on a continuous basis. The technician is expected to control the machine, perform minor maintenance, and make adjustments as necessary for continuing operation.
Of all the plastic injection molding jobs, maintenance mechanic has the most parallels with other manufacturing positions. In this role, the mechanic is responsible for complete tear down, installation, cleaning, and major repairs. Most facilities ensure there is at least one maintenance mechanic on duty at all times. The availability of this type of staff member is critical to ensuring production interruptions are minimized.
The role of quality inspector is to visually and scientifically test a random selection of products off the production line. These tests are conducted against a standard set of tests. All results are documented and any variations outside the accepted standards are highlighted and subject to further review. This type of job is best suited to someone who is detail oriented.
In general, plastic injection molding jobs are well compensated, but often require rotational shifts and working weekends. Talk with career center staff about the different possibilities and career advancement opportunities. Most firms require additional training to advance into management positions.
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