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Furnace and Kiln Operator  What They Do

Just the Facts


Operates or tends heating equipment other than basic metal, plastic, or food processing equipment. Includes activities, such as annealing glass, drying lumber, curing rubber, removing moisture from materials, or boiling soap.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Manufacturing Production pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Monitors equipment operation, gauges, and panel lights to detect deviations from standards.
  • Confers with supervisors or other equipment operators to report equipment malfunctions or to resolve production problems.
  • Presses and adjusts controls to activate, set, and regulate equipment according to specifications.
  • Records gauge readings, test results, and shift production in log books.
  • Reads and interprets work orders and instructions to determine work assignments, process specifications, and production schedules.
  • Examines or tests samples of processed substances, or collect samples for laboratory testing, to ensure conformance to specifications.
  • Transports materials and products to and from work areas, manually or using carts, handtrucks, or hoists.
  • Stops equipment and clears blockages or jams, using fingers, wire, or hand tools.
  • Loads equipment receptacles or conveyors with material to be processed, by hand or using hoists.
  • Removes products from equipment, manually or using hoists, and prepares them for storage, shipment, or additional processing.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Ager Operator -- Controls continuous process equipment to age alkali cellulose for use in cellophane manufacture.
  • Annealer -- Controls furnace to relieve internal stresses in metal objects and to soften and refine grain structure.
  • Boiler Control Room Operator -- Oversees equipment that controls a factory's power supply or a building's heat, refrigeration and cooling systems.
  • Calciner Operator -- Controls calciners and allied equipment from instrumented panelboard to heat ore slurry, dry slurry, and drive off impurities.
  • Curing Oven Attendant -- Tends electric ovens that cure electronic and aircraft parts, for example printed circuit boards and composite structures and assemblies.
  • Flame Degreaser -- Tends oven and auxiliary equipment that burn away grease from used automobile parts preparatory to rebuilding.
  • Glazing Machine Operator -- Tends equipment that heats and fire polishes glassware, for example tubes, kitchen utensils, and trays to remove defects, for example rough surfaces, air bubbles, and chips, or to seal tubes.
  • Kettle Operator -- Processes coal tar hydrocarbons into intermediate compounds for use in manufacture of dyestuffs and pharmaceutical products.
  • Lehr Tender -- Tends automatic or semiautomatic lehrs that anneal flat glass or glassware to relieve internal stresses or to fuse painted designs on glassware.
  • Lime Kiln Operator -- Tends kiln and mixing tanks to recover lime from lime sludge and produce slaked lime from recovered lime.
  • Matrix Drier Tender -- Tends cylinder drier that dries sheets of matrix paper.
  • Shrink Pit Operator -- Controls shrink-pit furnace to assemble hoops and liners to tubes to form cannon barrels.
  • Skein Yarn Drier -- Tends machine that dries skeins of yarn.
  • Vulcanizer -- Tends machine that vulcanizes synthetic composition outsoles to leather or fabric uppers.