Heat Treating Equipment Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and Plastic
SOC: 51-4191.00


Set up, operate, or tend heating equipment, such as heat-treating furnaces, flame-hardening machines, induction machines, soaking pits, or vacuum equipment to temper, harden, anneal, or heat-treat metal or plastic objects.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
21,300 employed

Projected (2024):
17,200 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Annealer
  • Annealing Furnace Operator
  • Annealing Furnace Tender
  • Annealing Oven Operator
  • Annealing Torch Operator
  • Bagger
  • Base-Draw Operator
  • Batch Heat Treat Operator
  • Batch Operator
  • Billet Heater
  • Billet Heater Operator
  • Box Annealer
  • Burner
  • Burner Machine Operator
  • Carbonizer
  • Carburizing Furnace Operator
  • Case Hardener
  • Charger
  • Charger Operator
  • Coating Line Worker
  • Crack Off Person
  • Cyanide Case Hardener
  • Cyanide Furnace Operator
  • Cyanide Pot Hardener
  • Cyanide Pot Tender
  • Dental Amalgam Processor
  • Die Hardener
  • Draw Fire Operator
  • Face Hardener
  • Fagot Heater
  • Flame Annealing Machine Setter
  • Flame Hardener
  • Flame Hardening Machine Operator
  • Flame Hardening Machine Setter
  • Forge Heater
  • Furnace Feeder
  • Furnace Operator
  • Hardener
  • Heat Regulator
  • Heat Treat Furnace Operator
  • Heat Treat Operator
  • Heat Treat Technician
  • Heat Treater
  • Heat Treater Apprentice
  • Heat Treating Bluer
  • Heat Treating Furnace Tender
  • Heat Treating Operator
  • Hot Mill Worker
  • Induction Heat Treater
  • Induction Machine Operator
  • Induction Machine Setter
  • Lead Burner Apprentice
  • Machine Operator
  • Manufacturing Assistant
  • Manufacturing Associate
  • Manufacturing Operator
  • Metal and Plastic Heater
  • Metal and Plastic Heating Equipment Setter
  • Metal Annealer
  • Metal Hardener
  • Metal Temperer
  • Metal Treater
  • Muffle Operator
  • Normalizer
  • Oven Operator
  • Parts Processor
  • Peelman
  • Pit Furnace Operator
  • Plate Furnace Operator
  • Preparatory Technician
  • Production Hardener
  • Pulpit Operator
  • Pusher
  • Quenching Machine Operator
  • Reheater
  • Rivet Heater
  • Scarf and Anneal Operator
  • Sheet Heater
  • Sinter Feeder
  • Slab Depiler Operator
  • Soaking Pit Operator
  • Spike Machine Heater
  • Steel Heater
  • Stove Tender
  • Temperer
  • Tempering Oven Operator
  • Tool Hardener
  • Torch Operator
  • Tube Heater
  • Wire Annealer
  • Wire Temperer

  • Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed


    Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.


    These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

    Job 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.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Equipment Selection
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Repairing
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Read production schedules and work orders to determine processing sequences, furnace temperatures, and heat cycle requirements for objects to be heat-treated.
  • Record times that parts are removed from furnaces to document that objects have attained specified temperatures for specified times.
  • Set up and operate or tend machines, such as furnaces, baths, flame-hardening machines, and electronic induction machines, that harden, anneal, and heat-treat metal.
  • Determine types and temperatures of baths and quenching media needed to attain specified part hardness, toughness, and ductility, using heat-treating charts and knowledge of methods, equipment, and metals.
  • Remove parts from furnaces after specified times, and air dry or cool parts in water, oil brine, or other baths.
  • Position stock in furnaces, using tongs, chain hoists, or pry bars.
  • Instruct new workers in machine operation.
  • Adjust controls to maintain temperatures and heating times, using thermal instruments and charts, dials and gauges of furnaces, and color of stock in furnaces to make setting determinations.
  • Determine flame temperatures, current frequencies, heating cycles, and induction heating coils needed, based on degree of hardness required and properties of stock to be treated.
  • Load parts into containers and place containers on conveyors to be inserted into furnaces, or insert parts into furnaces.
  • Mount workpieces in fixtures, on arbors, or between centers of machines.
  • Set up and operate die-quenching machines to prevent parts from warping.
  • Move controls to light gas burners and to adjust gas and water flow and flame temperature.
  • Reduce heat when processing is complete to allow parts to cool in furnaces or machinery.
  • Signal forklift operators to deposit or extract containers of parts into and from furnaces and quenching rinse tanks.
  • Test parts for hardness, using hardness testing equipment, or by examining and feeling samples.
  • Position plastic sheets and molds in plastic bags, heat material under lamps, and force confrontation of sheets to molds by vacuum pressure.
  • Examine parts to ensure metal shades and colors conform to specifications, using knowledge of metal heat-treating.
  • Cover parts with charcoal before inserting them in furnaces to prevent discoloration caused by rapid heating.
  • Repair, replace, and maintain furnace equipment as needed, using hand tools.
  • Start conveyors and open furnace doors to load stock, or signal crane operators to uncover soaking pits and lower ingots into them.
  • Heat billets, bars, plates, rods, and other stock to specified temperatures preparatory to forging, rolling, or processing, using oil, gas, or electrical furnaces.
  • Clean oxides and scales from parts or fittings, using steam sprays or chemical and water baths.
  • Place completed workpieces on conveyors, using cold rods, tongs, or chain hoists, or signal crane operators to transport them to subsequent stations.
  • Stamp heat-treatment identification marks on parts, using hammers and punches.
  • Set and adjust speeds of reels and conveyors for prescribed time cycles to pass parts through continuous furnaces.
  • Mount fixtures and industrial coils on machines, using hand tools.
  • Attach wire or metal to winding mechanisms that will pull parts through furnaces.
  • Place parts on carts, connect vacuum lines to vacuum tubes, and smooth bags around parts to ensure vacuum.
  • Position parts in plastic bags, and seal bags with irons.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Annealing furnaces
  • Atmosphere furnaces
  • Automated salt bath furnaces
  • Batch type hardening furnaces
  • Bridge cranes
  • Carbonitriding equipment
  • Chain hoists
  • Claw hammers
  • Conductivity testers
  • Continuous hardening furnaces
  • Digital thermocouples
  • Electronic hand trucks
  • Exhaust gas collection systems
  • Fiberglass gloves
  • Finger protection gloves
  • Flame-hardening machines
  • Free-standing jib cranes
  • Gas powered generators
  • Heat resistant face masks
  • Induction hardening furnaces
  • Industrial furnace tongs
  • Kevlar gloves
  • Lubricant guns
  • Mechanical vacuum pumps
  • Open end hand wrenches
  • Order pickers
  • Pallet jacks
  • Pallet riders
  • Personal computers
  • Power grinding tools
  • Protective clothing
  • Pry bars
  • Quench presses
  • Sand blasters
  • Shaker hearth furnaces
  • Shock freezers
  • Shot blasters
  • Slotted screwdrivers
  • Soaking pits
  • Steel hardness scopes
  • Steel hardness testers
  • Suction hoods
  • Tempering furnaces
  • Vacuum heat treating furnaces
  • Vacuum leak detectors
  • Wheeled forklifts
  • Winch stackers
  • Data entry software
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Word

  • production

    industry stats

    SOC: 51-0000

    Total Employed: 9,073,290

    Average Annual Salary: $36,220