In Summary - Textile & Fabric Operative
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The Work - Textile & Fabric Operative
Textile operatives are involved in the many processes of textile manufacturing, from the raw materials stage to completing the finished product. Many operatives are responsible for monitoring and controlling textile machinery. Often, these machines use the latest electronics and computerisation.
Precise duties depend on the company and the type of textiles and end products involved. The majority of operatives specialise in a particular job and usually remain within one area of textiles, such as woollens, cotton, carpets or lace.
In the first stage of the process, operatives may select, sort and clean raw materials. They usually monitor machinery that sorts fibres according to length and removes dirt and grease. With woollen textiles, operatives can be involved in spinning and twisting to incorporate man-made fibres or to produce yarns of different thicknesses. Cotton and a wide range of man-made fibres, like acrylic and polyester, are blended and spun to produce yarns for weaving and knitting. Operatives monitor machines and stop them if anything goes wrong. They may be required to solve minor problems.
Two main methods of production are weaving and knitting. Weavers operate a number of high-speed machines. They start and stop machines and look out for errors. They also do various jobs when a machine completes a run, for example 'tying in ends'. Knitters are involved in similar work. They operate the latest technology machines to produce a wide range of knitted fabrics.
Operatives can also specialise in dyeing or colouring processes. Dye house workers control machinery that colours large quantities of yarn or finished cloth. With some fabrics, designs are printed onto cloth, so operators set up and operate various types of printing machines.
Finishing jobs depend on the type of fabric. For example, carpets may be brushed or sheared and woollen fabrics are checked for flaws and quality. Chemical treatments may be applied to fabrics, such as woollens or carpets, to make them shrink-resistant, flameproof or shower proof. Textile operatives usually wear protective clothing such as overalls, safety footwear, gloves and masks.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Remove defects in cloth by cutting and pulling out filling.
- Inspect products to ensure that specifications are met and to determine if machines need adjustment.
- Observe woven cloth to detect weaving defects.
- Thread yarn, thread, and fabric through guides, needles, and rollers of machines for weaving, knitting, or other processing.
- Examine looms to determine causes of loom stoppage, such as warp filling, harness breaks, or mechanical defects.
- Notify supervisors or repair staff of mechanical malfunctions.
- Set up, or set up and operate textile machines that perform textile processing and manufacturing operations such as winding, twisting, knitting, weaving, bonding, or stretching.
- Start machines, monitor operations, and make adjustments as needed.
- Inspect machinery to determine whether repairs are needed.
- Record information about work completed and machine settings.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Training and Teaching Others Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Interests - Textile & Fabric Operative
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Most of the work involves controlling machinery so concentration is essential.
Good hand skills are needed by some operatives, to thread up machines with individual yarns or to correct faults. Good eyesight is useful for many jobs. For dyeing and colouring work your colour vision may be tested.
Operatives often spend long periods on their feet, and may undertake lifting and carrying work.
Health and safety is important in all aspects of the work - it is essential that you follow regulations and adopt safe working practices.
Entry Requirements - Textile & Fabric Operative
Pay & Salary - Textile & Fabric Operative
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 30k - 55k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Textile & Fabric Operative
Useful Contacts - Textile & Fabric Operative
British Textile Machinery Association (BTMA)
Oil and Colour Chemistry Association (OCCA)
Design & Craft Council of Ireland