Industrial machinery works around the clock to manufacture food products, generate power, and move suitcases at the airport. Industrial machinery maintenance workers, mechanics, and millwrights make sure industrial machinery stays on the job. Machinery maintenance workers do basic maintenance and repairs, such as cleaning and lubricating machinery, performing basic diagnostic tests, and testing damaged parts. Using computerized diagnostic equipment and expertise, industrial machinery mechanics detect and fix mechanical problems; just listening to a machine’s vibration, they can distinguish a worn belt from a weak motor bearing. Millwrights install and disassemble industrial machines as well as conduct repairs. They often move machines within a facility, carefully categorizing and sequencing every part. They use cranes and forklifts to bring the heavy parts to the new location. In addition to hand tools, these workers use welding and cutting equipment, and precision-measuring devices. Because of the high risk of injury on the job, safety precautions and protective equipment such as hardhats, steel-toed shoes, and earplugs are essential. Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers typically work regular, full-time hours, although overtime is common, especially for mechanics. Millwrights may have more variable schedules with downtime between projects, as they usually work on a contract basis to assemble or disassemble machines. While all 3 need a high school education to enter the field, machinery maintenance workers typically receive on-the-job training; industrial machinery mechanics need a year or more of training; and most millwrights learn their skills in a 4-year apprenticeship— although an associate’s degree in industrial maintenance may suffice.
What they do:
Install, dismantle, or move machinery and heavy equipment according to layout plans, blueprints, or other drawings.
On the job, you would:
Insert shims, adjust tension on nuts and bolts, or position parts, using hand tools and measuring instruments, to set specified clearances between moving and stationary parts.
Level bedplate and establish centerline, using straightedge, levels, and transit.
Align machines or equipment, using hoists, jacks, hand tools, squares, rules, micrometers, lasers, or plumb bobs.
Engineering and Technology
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
Education and Training
teaching and course design
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working
installing equipment, machines, wiring, or computer programs
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
Hand and Finger Use
hold or move items with your hands
put together small parts with your fingers
quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat
use your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down
Ideas and Logic
order or arrange things
notice when problems happen
listen and understand what people say
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Computer aided design CAD software
Dassault Systemes SolidWorks
Enterprise resource planning ERP software
high school diploma/GED or certificate after high school usually needed