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Occupational Certificate: Production Process Machine Operator and Assembler 
102580  Occupational Certificate: Production Process Machine Operator and Assembler 
Development Quality Partner - MERSETA (Manufactur) 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Occupational Certificate  Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology  Manufacturing and Assembly 
Undefined  103  Not Applicable  NQF Level 03  Regular-ELOAC 
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Reregistered" 
SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2023-06-30 
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification replaces: 
Qual ID Qualification Title Pre-2009 NQF Level NQF Level Min Credits Replacement Status
71989  National Certificate: Automotive Components: Manufacturing and Assembly  Level 3  NQF Level 03  120  Complete 
71950  National Certificate: Automotive Components: Manufacturing and Assembly  Level 2  NQF Level 02  123  Complete 

The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as a Machine Operator and Assembler.

A Machine Operator and Assembler operates and monitors and adjusts equipment to manufacture and assemble components/parts to specifications given, using applicable equipment and tools.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Plan and prepare for part manufacturing.
  • Set and adjust equipment.
  • Operate and monitor equipment to produce parts.
  • Assemble components/parts to specification.
  • Inspect and test produced part to specifications.

    The National Certificate: Machine Operator and Assembler was developed with the full participation of different manufacturing sectors affected by the occupation, inputs from local manufacturers as well as Further Education and Training Colleges. The development of this qualification will ensure that the training of learners will consistently produce component operators and assemblers that can fully function within the different sectors in different industries. This means that learners are subject to the sectoral regulations and applicable by-laws required for practising within these environments and should be able to move easily between these different sectors.

    This qualification is critical for the economy in that the qualified learners will play a stronger role within the broad spectrum of industries including the automotive sector where locally manufactured components are supplied to Original Equipment Manufacturers locally and internationally. The producers supply parts to the aftermarket which are used for the ongoing repair and maintenance of machines, vehicles, and parts.

    The ability to manufacture and supply a broad spectrum of industries, Automotive Manufacturers, and the Aftermarket will result in the further stabilisation of the Manufacturing sector of the South African economy. Having standards and specifications for the operation of equipment and the assembly of components accepted as industry standards and the attainment of world class manufacturing principles will go a long way towards ensuring that South Africa becomes globally competitive.

    A learner qualified as Machine Operator, and Assembler can work in other related positions dealing with setting, adjustment, and operation of equipment as well as the assembly and packaging of components with all the activities conducted according to approved specifications and with quality, cost and productivity being key outputs. At a higher level, the incumbent could progress with further experience and training to becoming a machine setter. 

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    RPL for access to the external integrated summative assessment: Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning. Accredited providers and workplaces must confirm prior learning by issuing a statement of result or certifying a work experience record.

    RPL for access to the qualification: Accredited providers and approved workplaces may recognise prior learning against the relevant access requirements.

    Entry Requirements:
  • Level 1 with Mathematics and Communication. 


    This qualification is made up of the following compulsory Knowledge, Practical Skills and Work Experience Modules.

    Knowledge Modules:
  • 718905001-KM-01: Machine Operator Theory, Level 3, 18 Credits.
  • 718905001-KM-02: Occupational Safety, Health, Environment and Quality, Level 3, 3 Credits.
  • 718905001-KM-03: Basics of Production, Level 2, 5 Credits.
    Total number of Credits for Knowledge Modules: 26.

    Practical Skill Modules:
  • 718905001-PM-01: Read, draw and interpret basic production drawings and specifications, Level 2, 2 Credits.
  • 718905001-PM-02: Mark off Material, Level 2, 3 Credits.
  • 718905001-PM-03: Identify and inspect tools and equipment used in production and assembly, Level 2, 3 Credits.
  • 718905001-PM-04: Identify and select material for part production, Level 2, 2 Credits.
  • 718905001-PM-05: Prepare and package component or parts, Level 2, 3 Credits.
  • 718905001-PM-06: Set and adjust equipment to part specification, Level 3, 6 Credits.
  • 718905001-PM-07: Assess equipment for calibration, Level 3, 3 Credits.
  • 718905001-PM-08: Conduct first line maintenance of tools and equipment, Level 3, 6 Credits.
  • 718905001-PM-09: Operate and monitor equipment to standards, Level 3, 6 Credits.
  • 718905001-PM-10: Handle components to complete equipment operation, Level 3, 10 Credits.
  • 718905001-PM-11: Conduct quality control and inspection of components, Level 3, 3 Credits.
    Total number of Credits for Practical Skill Modules: 47.

    Work Experience Modules:
  • 718905001-WM-01: Work with equipment and tools procedures to company standards, Level 3, 5 Credits.
  • 718905001-WM-02: Working in machine adjustment and setting environment, Level 3, Credits 5.
  • 718905001-WM-03: Operate and monitor safe operation of equipment, Level 3, 10 Credits.
  • 718905001-WM-04: Joining component using various methods of assembly, Level 2, 5 Credits.
  • 718905001-WM-05: Work with quality inspection/ control team, Level 3, 5 Credits.
    Total number of Credits for Work Experience Modules: 30. 

    1. Plan and prepare for part manufacturing to initiate production sequence.
    2. Operate, monitor, set and adjust equipment to produce parts to specification.
    3. Assemble, inspect and test produced parts/components to conform to specification. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Select appropriate coating methods suitable for various properties of materials.
  • Select correct measuring equipment to measure component/parts.
  • Different elements of the production requirements are shown in the control plan.
  • Identify and select correct materials, tools, and equipment for part/ component production from basic drawings.
  • Select the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed during the production processes.
  • Select correct precision and non-precision measuring equipment for identified component/parts.
  • Execute the different elements of the Control Plan according to production requirements.
  • Prepare the correct testing methods according to specifications for application in part production/manufacturing process.
  • Apply the correct heating and or cooling settings for the various treatment methods of the production process.
  • Select and handle the correct jigs and fixtures according to usage.
  • Check and verify contents of different supply pipes to the machine in compliance with transportation colours.
  • Adhere to safety requirements during the handling of different chemicals and gasses (Range: includes but not limited to the following: safety colours, symbols, and instructions).
  • Plan and prepare the correct disposal methods for the different waste types according to legislative requirements.
  • Load parts to be used from part list according to production drawings and specifications.
  • Prepare, clean and store tools and equipment for marking off, in compliance with standard industry quality, health and safety procedures.
  • Select correct tools and equipment for correct application in compliance with the job requirements and specifications.
  • Tools and equipment are inspected visually and through sound proofing in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications.
  • Select the correct quantity, type, amount, colour and hardness of material for production in compliance with job requirements and material specifications.
  • Selected materials are placed and stored in a correct manner to prevent contamination and in compliance with manufacturer's specifications.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Conduct a first off inspection according to the principles of quality.
  • Carry out minor adjustments to equipment to ensure that parts and components are produced within specification.
  • Mark and remove all defective components and products from production lines in compliance with production quality requirements.
  • Clearing foreign objects, debris and dirt from all equipment illustrates the importance of keeping equipment clean and clear, and the impact this may have on quality and safety.
  • Select the correct hand tools, power tools and auxiliary equipment to operate, monitor, set and adjust equipment.
  • Select and handle materials required for operating, monitoring, setting and adjusting equipment for production of parts.
  • Assemble components at the specified rate according to work instructions and in accordance with specifications given.
  • Conduct proper start up and shutdown procedures to effectively use equipment and follow standard operating procedures.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Identify defects are correctly amongst the components and sub-assemblies by following the first off process.
  • Product specifications are complied with through the identification and separation of good from bad components and/or sub-assemblies.
  • Samples are used as a comparison in order to confirm that components or parts are within the specification permitted by quality control processes and procedures.
  • All defective components and products are marked and removed from the production line as per standard operating procedures.
  • Parts for production are inspected according to a specification and conformance to standards.
  • Tools are used in order to apply the repeatability test which indicates that components or parts comply with quality control processes and procedures.
  • The placement of material within a specified area is free from contamination as per manufacturing specifications.
  • Minor adjustments are made to correct tolerances that based on specifications.
  • Hand and power tools identified from the work instruction are relevant for the assignment.
  • Auxiliary equipment/process used during the component assembly were appropriate for the assignment.
  • Data and an associated description are recorded on the quality inspection sheet indicating that the correct quality inspection procedures have been followed.
  • Use of a measuring instrument to identify faults in products, parts, and components comply with the measuring instrument criteria.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Integrated Formative Assessment:
    The skills development provider will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment:
    An external integrated summative assessment, conducted through the relevant Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) Assessment Quality Partner is required for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the Exit Level Outcomes and Associated Assessment Criteria. 

    An International comparability study was undertaken to evaluate a selected number of Machine operator qualifications from various countries in terms of their scope, levels and related content of the curricula.

    The purpose is of this exercise is to compare the Engineering Production System Worker (Machine Operator and Assembler) curriculum being developed for all manufacturing sector in South Africa. The review included three countries namely: Australia, United Kingdom (UK), and United States of America (USA).

    An analysis of the occupations in the various countries has revealed that there is a great deal of similarity.

    The Certificate 1 in Automotive Manufacturing offers 6 modules, core and elective sharing three each. The core modules are comprised of:
  • Manage personal career goals.
  • Select and use tools and equipment in an automotive manufacturing environment.
  • Apply principles of occupational health and safety in the work environment.

    The Elective modules and comprised of the following:
  • Identify environmental regulations and best practice in a workplace or business.
  • Apply basic communication skills.
  • Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices.

    There are no entry requirements for this qualification.

    United Kingdom:
    The United Kingdom offers an IQ Level 1 Certificate in Polymer Operations (QCF). This is a qualification aimed at those individuals who work in the polymer processing sector at an operational level. It provides learners with formal recognition of their competence. The qualification covers safety, health, environmental requirements, working relationships and contributing to product quality and production activities. It offers a range of optional units including moving and preparing materials, maintaining stock, preparing for either hand-based or machine-based operations, finishing production components, packing, picking and storing.

    United States of America (USA:
    Machine operator training at the lower level is said to usually begin by watching and helping experienced workers on the job. Under supervision, potential employees start by supplying materials, starting and stopping the machines, or removing finished products from it. It is reported that they then advance to more difficult tasks that operators perform, such as adjusting feed speeds, changing cutting tools, or inspecting a finished product for defects. Eventually, some develop the skills and experience to set up machines and help newer operators.

    The complexity of the equipment usually determines the time required to become an operator. Some operators and tenders learn basic machine operations and functions in a few weeks; but other workers, such as computer-controlled machine tool operators, may need a year or more to become skilled or to advance to the more highly skilled job of the setter. Machine operators, assemblers and what is called fabricators in the USA fall into this category.

    Although the entry level, which is an equivalent occupation in the United States of America (USA) does not have formalised training other than on the job training, the United Kingdom (UK) Certificate and the Australian qualification covers the same set of knowledge and skills covered in this qualification. The Polymer Operator Certificate in the UK also covers similar areas. This qualification has improved on the previous qualifications in order to meet current transformational challenges in South Africa and therefore more practical skills activities are included in the curriculum. 

    Horizontal Articulation:
    This qualification articulates horizontally with the following qualification:
  • National Certificate: Automotive Components Manufacturing and Assembly, Level 3.

    Vertical Articulation:
    This qualification does not articulate vertically with any qualifications:
  • Occupational Certificate: Mechanical Fitter, Level 4. 



    Qualifying for external assessment:
    In order to qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required modules by means of statements of results and work experience records including the Foundational Learning Competence.

    Additional legal or physical entry requirements:

    Criteria for the accreditation of providers:
    Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant curriculum on the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) website.

    The curriculum title and code is: Production Process Machine Operator and Assembler: 718905001.

    Encompassed Trades:
    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the National Learners Record Database (NLRD).

    This is not a trade qualification. 

    When qualifications are replaced, some (but not all) of their learning programmes are moved to the replacement qualifications. If a learning programme appears to be missing from here, please check the replaced qualification.

    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.