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What Does a Laser Operator Do?

A laser cutter is used to cut a sheet of metal.
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  • Written By: Crystal Cook
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 28 June 2014
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A laser operator is in charge of a machine that uses a laser to cut products to certain specifications, often in textiles and materials such as plastic and wood. These operators are in charge of setting up the machine, adjusting it as needed, and doing any maintenance or minor repairs that may be required. Laser operators also must be able to communicate well with supervisors and co-workers.

Setting up the machine is part of the job for a laser operator and can be a complicated process. Machines have to be programmed with the proper specifications and controls such as heating elements, speeds and tensions have to be adjusted. Operators take the specifications that are given and program the machine to produce the desired result. In textiles, this would include cutting the fabric to the proper length, style and in the proper material. Once cut, it is the laser operator's job to inspect the products made and make sure that each one meets the specifications.

Machines may need to be adjusted while products are being made. A laser operator may have to adjust the programming or another element, such as the speed, to ensure that the machine is running properly. When a machine has to be adjusted, the laser operator performs a test run to make sure the settings are right before continuing with the work. Laser operators take great care to meet specifications and avoid waste, or a product that is not made correctly.

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Regular maintenance is required and is part of an operator's job. Each company has its own schedule for routine maintenance. The operator will clean the machines, oiling and lubricating the parts that need it. Operators may use air hoses, grease guns, rags, oil cans or cleaning solutions to maintain their machines.

It is the job of the laser operator to make sure that any worn or defective parts on the machine are replaced. Using hand tools, the operator will replace gears, chains, cutters or any other part that needs to be replaced. Operators install, align and level new components. An operator will have to set up the rollers or guides of a machine and put the thread, fabric or yarn in the proper place. There occasionally may be an issue with the machine that a laser operator cannot take care of, and someone from the company that made the machine may need to be called to do repairs.

All laser operators must be able to communicate. It is important for a laser operator to talk with co-workers about job assignments and the machine. Supervisors need to be told if there is a problem and also are the ones who give instructions. Operators will record for the supervisor and for the following shift all the information about their machine's settings and the work completed during each shift.

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