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Separating and Still Machine Operator  What They Do

Just the Facts


Sets up, operates or tends continuous flow or vat-type equipment; filter presses; shaker screens; centrifuges; condenser tubes; precipitating, fermenting or evaporating tanks; scrubbing towers; or batch stills. These machines, such as dairy processing equipment, extract, sort or separate liquids, gases or solids from other materials to recover a refined product.

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


A person in this career:

  • Dumps, pours, or loads specified amounts of refined or unrefined materials into equipment or containers for further processing or storage.
  • Operates machines to process materials in compliance with applicable safety, energy, or environmental regulations.
  • Monitors material flow or instruments such as temperature or pressure gauges, indicators, or meters to ensure optimal processing conditions.
  • Turns valves or move controls to admit, drain, separate, filter, clarify, mix, or transfer materials.
  • Sets up or adjusts machine controls to regulate conditions such as material flow, temperature, or pressure.
  • Examines samples to verify qualities such as clarity, cleanliness, consistency, dryness, or texture.
  • Starts agitators, shakers, conveyors, pumps, or centrifuge machines.
  • Inspects machines or equipment for hazards, operating efficiency, malfunctions, wear, or leaks.
  • Collects samples of materials or products for laboratory analysis.
  • Communicates processing instructions to other workers.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • 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.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • 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 conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Maintaining a body position that prevents falling when in an unstable position
  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Bending, stretching, twisting, or reaching
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Blender / Cook --
  • Brewer --
  • Cellar Worker --
  • Cheese Maker --
  • Digester Cook --
  • Machine Tender --
  • Paper Machine Tender --
  • Plant Operator --
  • Pulper Operator --
  • Winemaker --