Numerical Tool and Process Control Programmers Job Description video

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Automation is making manufacturing more efficient while increasing productivity. Some of the credit for this goes to numerical tool and process control programmers. These professionals write the programs for computer-controlled machine tools, or robots, that cut and shape parts made of metal or plastic. The programmer writes the code that enables a computer to tell the machine which tools to use and how to use them. The programmer may write a program for an entire system of machines, or for one particular piece of equipment. He or she reviews the job specifications and draws up an efficient operating plan for the machines that will produce the parts. This involves plotting reference points, cutting paths and hole locations. It requires computing geometrical dimensions, such as angles and curves. The patterns are tested for maximum tool speed, efficiency and accuracy before the programmer enters the coordinates into a program. Then the program is tested some more, on trial runs. The machines must function to extremely exacting standards, with specifications often measured in microns. A micron is 40 millionths of an inch! The program must allow the machine operator to make minute adjustments by entering commands during the production process -- commands that will effectively allow the machine to adjust itself. Employers look for a college degree with strong math and computer skills and usually provide on-the-job training with experienced programmers. Although it may seem like this occupation is designed to make other jobs obsolete, in many ways it represents Man's real power over Machines.

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