Industrial Maintenance Technician Job Description
Employers hire industrial maintenance technicians to attend to machinery in a plant, factory, or similar setting. By keeping equipment in good working order and swiftly fixing problems, production goals can be met. Industrial maintenance techs generally work in 12-hour shifts. Since many facilities operate continuously, services are needed both day and night, and because breakdowns can arise at any time, most employers require their techs to be prepared for mandatory overtime as situations dictate. Aspiring industrial maintenance technicians should be prepared for physical demands such as moving around, lifting, and standing for prolonged periods. They also should realize that manufacturing floors may be hot, dusty, and noisy.
Industrial Maintenance Technician Duties and Responsibilities
While the nature of the employer’s business will play a large role in determining the scope of an industrial maintenance technician’s job, some tasks are common to most who take on such a position. Analysis of job postings reveals the following core activities as common to the profession:
Perform Machine Maintenance
In order for machines to keep working properly, they need routine care. Industrial maintenance technicians perform actions such as cleaning, lubricating, running diagnostic tests, and inspecting for worn parts. These efforts help prevent serious problems from occurring down the road.
Read Work Orders
When a piece of equipment is making a strange noise, not performing up to par, or exhibits some other sign of concern, a work order gets drawn up. Industrial maintenance techs look at this document in order to get an idea of how to proceed with correcting the situation.
Troubleshooting and Repair
The problem with an unsatisfactory machine isn’t always obvious. Therefore, industrial maintenance techs need to draw on their knowledge in order to play detective. They may try various adjustments or replace certain parts to see if those actions make a difference. For difficult situations, techs may consult industrial machinery mechanics or ask them to take over the repair.
Install New Machines
When new machines are added to the floor, industrial maintenance technicians are often called upon to help with setup and quality assurance.
Instruct New Hires
Because of their knowledge of the company’s machines, procedures, and safety concerns, industrial maintenance techs show new employees the ropes in order to get them up to speed quickly.
Industrial Maintenance Technician Skills and Qualifications
Employers appreciate industrial maintenance technicians who are alert self-starters capable of spotting problems and taking the initiative to solve them. Quick resolution keeps operations flowing, schedules on track, and profits coming in. Other skills critical to success include:
- Multitasking – industrial maintenance technicians receive requests from numerous people and must juggle multiple projects while deciding which demands require urgent action
- Mechanical and electrical aptitude – a thorough understanding of how mechanical and electrical components work aids with troubleshooting and repair
- Logical mindset – approaching situations in a methodical, organized manner leads to better problem-solving
- Foresight – seeing the big picture of how one change will affect other machine parts or operations enables thoughtful actions and helps predict future concerns
- Industrial skill set – specific abilities needed differ by position but may include experience with hydraulics, fabrication, and welding; all industrial maintenance techs should know how to use basic tools such as screwdrivers and wrenches
Industrial Maintenance Technician Education and Training
At minimum, industrial maintenance technicians hold a high school diploma or the equivalent. Hiring managers often prefer applicants who have attended vocational school and acquired skills in welding, machine alignment, maintenance fundamentals, hydraulics, electricity, and other pertinent fields. Hands-on training is a large part of such programs.
Candidates can further improve employment prospects by becoming a certified maintenance and reliability technician. This distinction involves passing a test proving competency in maintenance practices, preventative and predictive maintenance, troubleshooting and analysis, and corrective maintenance.
Industrial Maintenance Technician Salary and Outlook
The median hourly wage for an industrial maintenance technician, according to PayScale, is about $20. Workers at the low end of the range earn roughly $15 per hour, while the highest paid make close to $28 hourly. Overtime can affect total compensation. Full-time employees generally receive medical, dental, and life insurance; paid time off; and a retirement plan.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that employment of “industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights” will grow 7 percent through 2026. As the manufacturing industry continues to increase its reliance on machinery and automation, workers will be needed to keep equipment operating correctly.
We’ve put together this list of other sources to help you to learn more about becoming an industrial maintenance technician:
Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals – this nonprofit professional society works to “develop and promote excellence in maintenance, reliability, and physical asset management while creating leaders in the profession.” Its website is particularly helpful for people with questions about certification and continuing education
Industrial Maintenance – this LinkedIn group serves as a platform for its 50,000-plus members to connect and share information about the industry
National Association of Manufacturers – NAM is a go-to place for everything related to the manufacturing industry. From stats to trends, aspiring industrial maintenance techs are sure to find plenty of interest on this organization’s website
Industrial Maintenance – one reviewer calls the second edition of this comprehensive textbook “one for the toolbox for years to come.” Covering issues such as safety, machinery, troubleshooting, industrial print reading, and electrical theory, readers get a great overview of the various duties involved in working as a tech
“Cool Jobs! Industrial Maintenance Technician” – receive a first-hand look at what’s involved in the career and the education needed to get hired through this YouTube video
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