Industrial Machinery Mechanics
Industrial machinery mechanics, also known as industrial machinery repairers, maintain and repair industrial equipment. Industrial machinery mechanics are typically highly skilled. Lower skilled machinery maintenance workers perform routine tasks. Industrial machinery mechanics play an essential role in factories, since broken machines delay production. Also, industrial equipment that is not properly maintained and repaired may damage the products or injure an operator.
Industrial machinery mechanics need the knowledge and skills to detect minor problems and fix them before they become major problems. After the problem has been identified, they may disassemble the equipment and replace or repair parts. They may work with electricians and electronic repairers when fixing electronically controlled machinery. Industrial machinery repairers that are responsible for all repairs of complex equipment need to have electronic and computer skills.
Machinery maintenance workers clean and lubricate machines and conduct diagnostic tests. They also test damaged equipment parts to determine if major repair work is required. Machinery maintenance workers usually follow routine maintenance schedules. They sometimes make minor repairs and the major repairs are performed by machinery mechanics.
- Install, repair and maintain machinery
- After repairs are completed, perform tests to ensure equipment is working properly
- Order replacement parts
- Disassemble machinery and equipment to make repairs and replace parts and reassemble machinery and equipment
- Adjust and calibrate automated manufacturing equipment
- Examine parts for defects
- Keep records of maintenance work and repairs
- Clean, lubricate and adjust parts, machinery and equipment
- Diagnose machinery and equipment problems
Some modern industrial facilities are clean and well lit. Older plants, particularly in heavy industry, may be noisy and dirty. Industrial machinery repairers are susceptible to common shop injuries such as bruises, strains and cuts. They may have to work in awkward positions. Since factories need to keep their machines running, industrial machinery mechanics may be called to work at night or during the weekends to make repairs. Overtime is common in the occupation.
Machinery mechanics need good problem solving abilities since they need to be able to determine the cause of a problem with machines and equipment and make repairs. They also need mechanical aptitude and manual dexterity. Machinery mechanics need good reading comprehension to comprehend technical manuals.
Employment of industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow by 7 percent between 2008 and 2018. These workers will be needed as factories become increasingly automated, however many new computer-controlled machines are capable of quickly diagnosing problems which makes repairs faster and easier which will somewhat slow the employment growth of industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers.
The median hourly wage for industrial machinery mechanics in 2008 was $20.98. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $31.40 per hour.
Machinery maintenance workers can advance in their careers by taking classes and acquiring additional skills. They can move into an industrial machinery mechanic or supervisor position. Industrial machinery mechanics may advance in their careers by working on more complicated equipment and acquiring additional repair skills. The most highly skilled repairers have opportunities to move into supervisor, master mechanic and millwright positions.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Industrial machinery mechanics typically need a year or more of formal education and training to learn the mechanical and technical skills that are required for the occupation. Mechanics used to have a specialty such as electronics, however many factories now require all mechanics to be knowledgeable about hydraulics, electricity, electronics and computer programming.
Some individuals in the occupation began their career as a helper or in another factory job and acquire their skills at the factory and by taking classes provided by their employer. Some employers have their trainees attend technical school while they are provided with on-the-job training. Courses provide teaching in blueprint reading, mathematics, computers, electronics and welding. In addition, associate degrees are available in industrial maintenance.
It's important that mechanics receive training on the particular machines they will be repairing. They can acquire this training while on the job, through manufacturer's or dealer representatives or in a classroom.
Machinery maintenance workers usually are provided with on-the-job training that takes a few months to a year to complete. They learn to perform routine tasks such as cleaning, lubricating and starting machinery. It's common for experienced production workers that demonstrate good mechanical skills to take maintenance jobs.
The major employers are manufacturing companies including chemical, food processing, machinery, motor vehicles and parts, and fabricated metal products. Dealers of industrial equipment as well as the commercial and industrial machinery and equipment repair and maintenance industry provide jobs.