Siiri found a permanent job in Murata’s silicon sensor production after graduating from upper secondary school and after first working in a couple of fixed-term positions in production at other companies. Read the story of Siiri, who works in assembly, to find out what the work of an operator entails and which aspects of the job might surprise you.

What is an operator?

At our premises in Vantaa, Murata’s production workers, i.e., operators, manufacture silicon sensors that measure movement with extreme precision. They are utilized in the automotive industry and health care applications. Silicon sensors are used in applications such as pacemakers and electronic stability control systems, and they will also be used in self-driving cars in the future. What does the job of an operator entail in practice?

Depending on the day and week, operators work in various phases of production in their own production line. “We usually spend the first four hours of the day at one workstation and then another four hours at another workstation,” Siiri says, describing the typical workday of an assembly operator. “In assembly, we glue, wire-bond and apply gel to the small sensor elements, i.e., chips, manufactured from a silicon wafer. Finally, the sensors are covered before the products end up in final testing,” Siiri continues.

The work duties vary slightly, depending on which area of production the operator works in. The work is often relatively independent, but cooperation skills and the ability to understand the operation of the operator’s own production area as a whole is also required. The work utilizes a great variety of manufacturing equipment, and the compliance of the products with quality requirements is ensured with visual inspections, among other things. Because the small and sensitive products must be handled with care, dexterity comes in handy.

The characteristics of sensor production may surprise you – for whom is it suited?

In Vantaa, sensors are manufactured in a special environment – a clean room. In a clean room, the spreading of dust and particles shed by people has been minimized, as they would damage the structures of the sensitive sensors and affect their quality if they ended up on the products. Because of this, the work uniform of an operator covers up a lot: it comprises an overall, a hood, a hair cap, and a mask as well as gloves and clean room shoes. Siiri says, however, that you get used to the work outfit surprisingly quickly.

“At first, I couldn’t even recognize the people in the clean room. For a long time, I thought two guys of the same size were the same person! Luckily, the first four weeks were enough time for me to start recognizing my trainer, whose overall was a different color.”

In Siiri’s opinion, the work of an operator is suited for a precise person who wants to follow the rules for a clean room and can handle shift work. And why does Siiri herself like working in production at Murata? “I like learning new things, and I know that there are good in-house opportunities here to advance my career if I wish. It also feels nice to have newer operators come and ask me for advice and for them to trust my instructions,” Siiri says.