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Industrial machinery mechanics maintain and repair factory equipment and other industrial machinery such as conveying systems, production machinery, and packaging equipment. Workers must follow safety precautions and use protective equipment such as hardhats, safety glasses, and hearing protectors. Most mechanics work full time. However, they may be on call or assigned to work nights or weekends. Overtime is common.
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Industrial machinery mechanics typically do the following:
Machinery mechanics use technical manuals, their understanding of industrial equipment, and careful observation to discover the cause of a problem. For example, after hearing a vibration from a machine, a mechanic must decide whether it is due to worn belts, weak motor bearings, or some other problem. Mechanics often need years of training and experience to diagnose all problems fully. They also use computerized diagnostic systems and vibration analysis techniques to help figure out the source of problems. After diagnosing a problem, they may take the equipment apart to repair or replace the necessary parts.
Increasingly, mechanics are expected to have the electrical, electronics, and computer programming skills to repair sophisticated equipment on their own. Once a repair is made, mechanics test a machine to make sure that it is running smoothly.
Industrial machinery mechanics might also do preventive maintenance. In addition to hand tools, mechanics commonly use lathes, grinders, or drill presses. Many are also required to weld.
Most industrial machinery mechanics work in factories or powerplants or at construction sites. Most are employed full time during regular business hours. However, mechanics may be on call or assigned to work nights or weekends. Overtime is common.
Industrial machinery mechanics suffer common injuries, such as cuts, bruises, and strains. They also may work in awkward positions, including on top of ladders or in cramped conditions under large machinery. To avoid injuries, they must follow safety precautions and wear protective equipment such as hardhats, safety glasses, steel-tipped shoes, and hearing protectors. Even so, they experience rates of injuries and illnesses that are much higher than the national average.