What Does a Metal Finisher Do?

Metal Finisher

By Megainterview Team

A metal finisher is a skilled professional specializing in finishing, polishing, and coating metal surfaces. These professionals use various tools and techniques to achieve the desired finish on metal surfaces, including grinding, sandblasting, polishing, and electroplating. The work of a metal finisher is critical to the manufacturing process, as it ensures that metal parts meet the required specifications and have a smooth, polished finish.

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In this article, we will explore the role of a metal finisher in more detail, including their responsibilities, qualifications, and the types of industries they work in.

Metal Finisher Duties and Responsibilities

Metal finishers have a wide range of duties and responsibilities, which may include:

  • Preparing metal surfaces for finishing by cleaning, degreasing, and sandblasting.
  • Applying various finishing techniques, such as grinding, polishing, and electroplating, to achieve the desired finish on metal surfaces.
  • Using a variety of tools and equipment, such as grinders, polishers, and electroplating tanks, to complete finishing tasks.
  • Inspecting finished metal parts to ensure that they meet the required specifications and quality standards.
  • Identifying and troubleshooting any issues that may arise during the finishing process.
  • Maintaining equipment and tools in good working order.
  • Following safety procedures and wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with metal and chemicals.
  • Keeping accurate records of all finishing processes and materials used.
  • Communicating with other members of the manufacturing team to ensure that finishing requirements are met.
  • Continuously seeking to improve the finishing process and working with the team to implement new techniques and technologies.

It’s worth noting that a metal finisher’s specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on the company or organization they work for and the industry they work in. Some metal finishers may also have additional responsibilities such as training and supervising junior staff, working with safety and environmental regulations, and managing materials inventory.

Metal Finisher Job Requirements

The job requirements for a metal finisher can vary depending on the company or organization they work for but typically include the following:

  • Education: A high school diploma or equivalent is generally required for entry-level positions in metal finishing. Some employers may prefer or require candidates to have a vocational or technical degree in a related field, such as metalworking or manufacturing technology.
  • Training: On-the-job training is typically provided for entry-level positions in metal finishing. This may include learning how to use various tools and equipment, as well as learning the techniques and processes used in the finishing process. Some employers may also provide formal training programs.
  • Experience: Some employers may require candidates to have prior experience in metal finishing, or a related field, such as machining or manufacturing. This experience can be gained through internships, apprenticeships, or entry-level positions.
  • Certifications and licenses: While not always required, certifications such as the National Metal Finishing Resource Center (NMFRC) or the Metal Finishing Institute (MFI) certification can demonstrate a level of knowledge and expertise in the field and can improve job prospects.
  • Physical Requirements: Metal finishers may be required to lift and move heavy equipment and parts and to stand for long periods of time. They may also be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety goggles, gloves, and respirators.
  • Other Skills: Metal finishers should have good manual dexterity, attention to detail, and good problem-solving skills. They should also be able to read and interpret blueprints and engineering drawings and be able to work with precision measuring instruments.

It’s worth noting that the specific job requirements for a metal finisher may vary depending on the company or organization they work for and their industry. Some companies may require additional qualifications or certifications, such as OSHA certifications or Hazardous Materials certifications.

Metal Finisher Skills

Metal finishers should have a variety of skills to be successful in their role, including:

  • Technical skills: Metal finishers should have a good understanding of metalworking processes and techniques and be able to use various tools and equipment to achieve the desired finish on metal surfaces.
  • Attention to detail: Metal finishers must pay close attention to detail when working on metal surfaces to ensure that they meet the required specifications and quality standards.
  • Problem-solving skills: Metal finishers may encounter issues during the finishing process and should have the ability to troubleshoot and solve problems quickly and efficiently.
  • Physical dexterity: Metal finishers should have good manual dexterity to handle and precisely operate equipment and tools.
  • Communication skills: Metal finishers should be able to communicate effectively with other manufacturing team members to ensure that finishing requirements are met.
  • Safety skills: Metal finishers should be familiar with safety procedures and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with metal and chemicals.
  • Technical documentation skills: Metal finishers should be able to document all finishing processes and materials used accurately.
  • Continuous improvement mindset: Metal finishers should be always looking for ways to improve the finishing process and working with the team to implement new techniques and technologies.
  • Time management: Metal finishers work with tight deadlines and should be able to manage their time effectively to meet production schedules.
  • Leadership skills: Some metal finishers may be required to lead and train junior staff and should have good leadership skills.

Metal Finisher Salary

The salary for a metal finisher position can vary depending on factors such as the company, location, and level of experience. According to data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for metal and plastic machine workers, including metal finishers, is $39,040. However, it’s important to note that the salary for metal finishers can vary significantly depending on the type of company or organization they work for, the level of experience and education of the employee, the region of the country, and the type of industry they are working in.

Metal finishers working in the aerospace, medical, and automotive industries may earn higher salaries as these industries require more complex and precise finishing. Additionally, metal finishers with advanced certifications or degrees may also command higher salaries.

It’s also important to note that some metal finishers may be paid on an hourly basis rather than a salary. In such cases, the hourly wage may range between $12 and $20 per hour, and they may be eligible for overtime pay and other benefits.

Metal Finisher Work Environment

The work environment for a metal finisher can vary depending on the type of company or organization they work for. However, in general, metal finishers work in a manufacturing or production setting, often in a shop or factory. They may work in a variety of industries, such as aerospace, automotive, medical, or other manufacturing industries.

The work environment can be noisy and dusty, and metal finishers may be exposed to chemicals, fumes, and vibration from their equipment and tools. They may also work with heavy equipment and machinery and may be required to lift and move heavy parts.

Many metal finishers work full-time schedules, which may include evening, night, and weekend shifts. Some may work overtime to meet production schedules. Additionally, they may be required to work in a standing position for extended periods of time and may be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety goggles, gloves, and respirators.

It’s worth noting that the work environment for a metal finisher may vary depending on the company or organization they work for and the industry they work in. Some metal finishers work in a clean room environment, while others work in a more traditional shop or factory setting.

Metal Finisher Trends

Some of the latest trends in the field of metal finishing include:

  • Automation: Many companies are investing in automation technology to streamline the metal finishing process and improve efficiency. This may include the use of robots, automated grinding and polishing machines, and computer-controlled electroplating systems.
  • Environmental Sustainability: There is an increasing focus on reducing the environmental impact of metal finishing, such as minimizing the use of hazardous chemicals and reducing waste.
  • Surface Finishing Technologies: Companies are exploring new and advanced surface finishing technologies such as laser ablation, bead blasting, and electrochemical polishing to achieve higher precision, smoother finishes, and improved surface properties.
  • 3D Printing: Metal finishing companies are also exploring how to finish and coat 3D printed parts and how to print with metal alloys.
  • Quality and Traceability: Companies are implementing more stringent quality control measures and incorporating traceability systems to ensure that finished parts meet the required specifications and quality standards.
  • Cybersecurity: With the increasing use of automation and connected systems, companies are implementing cybersecurity measures to protect their operations and data from cyberattacks.
  • Industry 4.0: Companies are exploring Industry 4.0 technologies such as IoT, big data, and machine learning to improve production processes, reduce costs, and increase efficiency.

It’s important to note that these trends are subject to change, and the metal finishing landscape is constantly evolving.

How to Become a Metal Finisher

Becoming a metal finisher typically involves the following steps:

  • Education: A high school diploma or equivalent is generally required for entry-level positions in metal finishing. Some employers may prefer or require candidates to have a vocational or technical degree in a related field, such as metalworking or manufacturing technology.
  • On-the-job training: Many employers provide on-the-job training for entry-level positions in metal finishing. This may include learning how to use various tools and equipment and the techniques and processes used in the finishing process.
  • Experience: Some employers may require candidates to have prior experiences in metal finishing or a related field, such as machining or manufacturing. This experience can be gained through internships, apprenticeships, or entry-level positions.
  • Certifications: Some metal finishers may pursue certifications, such as the National Metal Finishing Resource Center (NMFRC) or the Metal Finishing Institute (MFI) certification, to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in the field to improve their job prospects.
  • Safety Training: Metal finishers should be familiar with safety procedures and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with metal and chemicals.
  • Continuous Learning: Metal finishers should be prepared to continuously learn and adapt to changes in the industry and new technologies.

Metal Finisher Advancement Prospects

The advancement prospects for metal finishers can vary depending on the company or organization they work for and their experience level. Some metal finishers may advance to senior positions within their current company, such as lead or supervisor. In contrast, others may move to a different company or start their own metal finishing business.

Some potential career paths for metal finishers include:

  • Lead Finishers: Metal finishers with experience may advance to become lead finishers, who oversee the work of other finishers and ensure that all finishing tasks are completed on time and to the required specifications.
  • Supervisor: Metal finishers with experience and strong leadership skills may advance to become supervisors, who oversee the work of a team of finishers and ensure that production schedules are met.
  • Quality Control: Metal finishers with strong attention to detail may advance to become quality control technicians responsible for inspecting finished parts to ensure that they meet the required specifications and quality standards.
  • Technician: Metal finishers with experience and knowledge of advanced finishing techniques may advance to become technicians who are responsible for operating and maintaining advanced finishing equipment.
  • Entrepreneur: Metal finishers with strong business acumen may choose to start their own metal finishing business.
  • Sales or Customer Service: Metal finishers with strong communication skills may choose to move into sales or customer service roles where they can use their technical expertise to assist customers with their finishing needs.

Metal Finisher Job Description Example

Job Title: Metal Finisher

Reports to: Production Manager

Job Summary: The Metal Finisher will play a key role in the manufacturing process by ensuring that metal parts are finished to the required specifications and quality standards. The individual will be responsible for cleaning, degreasing, and finishing metal surfaces using a variety of tools and techniques.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Prepare metal surfaces for finishing by cleaning, degreasing, and sandblasting.
  • Apply various finishing techniques, such as grinding, polishing, and electroplating, to achieve the desired finish on metal surfaces.
  • Use a variety of tools and equipment, such as grinders, polishers, and electroplating tanks, to complete finishing tasks.
  • Inspect finished metal parts to ensure that they meet the required specifications and quality standards.
  • Identify and troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the finishing process.
  • Maintain equipment and tools in good working order.
  • Follow safety procedures and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with metal and chemicals.
  • Keep accurate records of all finishing processes and materials used.
  • Communicate with other members of the manufacturing team to ensure that finishing requirements are met.
  • Continuously seek to improve the finishing process and work with the team to implement new techniques and technologies.

Qualifications:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • On-the-job training in metal finishing
  • Experience in metal finishing or a related field is a plus
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Physical dexterity
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to read

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