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What Industrial Machinery Mechanics and Maintenance Workers Do

Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers maintain and repair factory equipment and other industrial machinery, such as conveying systems, production machinery, and packaging equipment.  


Industrial machinery mechanics typically do the following:

Machinery maintenance workers typically do the following:

Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers maintain and repair complex machines, such as an automobile assembly line’s conveyor belts, robotic welding arms, and hydraulic lifts.

The following are the two types of industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers:

Industrial machinery mechanics, also called industrial machinery repairers or maintenance machinists, keep machines in good working order. To do this, they must be able to detect and correct errors before they become larger problems.

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, the industrial machinery mechanic 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 handtools, mechanics commonly use lathes, grinders, or drill presses. Many are also required to weld.

Machinery maintenance workers do basic maintenance and repairs on machines. They are responsible for cleaning and lubricating machinery, performing basic diagnostic tests, checking performance, and testing damaged machine parts to determine whether major repairs are necessary.

Maintenance workers must follow machine specifications and adhere to maintenance schedules. They perform minor repairs, generally leaving major repairs to machinery mechanics.

All maintenance workers use a variety of tools to do repairs and preventive maintenance. For example, they may use a screwdriver or socket wrenches to adjust a motor’s alignment. They may use a hoist to lift a heavy printing press off the ground.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition