What Does an Industrial Mechanic Do?

In an industrial or construction setting, an industrial mechanic builds, maintains, repairs, or otherwise cares for a variety of machines. An industrial mechanic is also known as a millwright, and his or her specific job functions vary depending on the environment in which he or she works. Because the mechanic is likely to work with a variety of materials, he or she will need to be well-versed in construction techniques. Millwrights typically only need to complete a high school education before beginning an apprenticeship program.

An industrial mechanic’s apprenticeship can last anywhere from one to five years, depending on the requirements set forth governing bodies or unions. The industrial mechanic will likely spend some time in a classroom learning the techniques and information needed to complete jobs properly and safely during his apprenticeship, but the majority of his education will take place on the job. The apprentice will be paired with an experienced industrial mechanic who will teach him or her how to work on a variety of machines and perform a variety of tasks, including welding and schematic reading. Apprentice pay is usually calculated as a percentage of the full-time industrial mechanic’s salary.

The industrial mechanic’s job duties include both diagnostics and repair. He or she must be able to read machine schematics and physically inspect a machine to determine what is causing it to malfunction. The mechanic will then be in charge of obtaining any necessary parts and completing the repair from beginning to end. Many mechanics will work together to maintain machines in larger industrial settings, and multiple mechanics may be assigned to the same machines for ongoing maintenance.

Many modern factories have automated equipment that runs on computers, so the mechanic must often have knowledge of computer systems as well. In order for the machinery to work properly, the mechanic may need to troubleshoot a computer system, and job training will be provided during an apprenticeship to ensure that the mechanic can perform this critical job function. As technology advances, the industrial mechanic must participate in professional development training to stay current on new repair and maintenance techniques. In some parts of the world, the mechanic may be required to obtain certification and renew it on a regular basis in order to work in most situations.