Machine tending is a type of work position that requires managing the operation and performance of some type of machinery or equipment. Typically, a machine tender will be responsible for not only operating the assigned machinery but also for handling the day-to-day tasks associated with maintaining the equipment so that it performs efficiently. The exact scope of responsibilities involved will often depend on the type of equipment that is operated and the structure of the work environment in which the machine tender labors.
A machine tender typically goes beyond the tasks assigned to a machine operator. For the most part, machine operators are responsible for performing tasks that are directly related to the actual production of goods associated with the machine itself. In contrast, a machine tender will not only operate the machinery but also engage in tasks that are designed to manage the upkeep of the equipment and help promote efficient production. Those tasks are usually defined as part of the job description and do not extend to addressing technical issues that would require advanced training in machine repair.
With a machine tender, the tasks involved may include simple maintenance such as cleaning off the components of the machine in between certain tasks. For example, a machine tender in a textile plant may be responsible for cleaning spinning or warping frames once one lot of yarn is completed, but before a lot of yarn of a different color or merge is loaded onto the frames. This task helps to minimize the potential for contamination that in turn would lower the quality of the goods produced later in the cycle using that second lot of yarn. In like manner, a tender in an electronics plant may be tasked with removing any residue of metal or plastic from the machinery at regular intervals throughout the work shift, reducing the chances of that residue adversely affecting the quality of the goods produced.
While a machine tender is not usually required to perform in-depth repairs to equipment, the maintenance tasks that are carried out according to specific standards set by the employer are very important. By making sure the equipment is properly lubricated or is kept relatively clean of any contaminants, the useful life of the machinery is extended and the quality and quantity of output is kept within an acceptable range. Typically, a new machine tender will receive training or mentoring from an experienced tender, then eventually be assigned his or her own machinery to operate and maintain according to those company standards.