When you think about a food manufacturing plant what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Our bet, the machinery that produces the food.
Motors, convenor belts and pumps, all these things are just parts which compose fast-moving manufacturing plants. Though what happens when these parts break down or a company looks to install a new piece of processing equipment?
Food companies need to call in experts which are already employed right in their plants.
Today Food Grads is diving into the careers of Millwright Mechanics and giving you the facts behind this position. Keep reading to find out about this exciting profession and how these professionals ensure that plant operations run smoothly.
Millwright Mechanics repair and maintain industrial equipment
Millwright mechanics are
workers responsible for modifications, repairs and installations of various types of packing and processing equipment. They perform these roles by assembling, installing and adjusting machinery and equipment such as conveyors, pumps, compressors, heat exchangers, automated and robotic systems.
These professionals are usually responsible for assembling new equipment when it arrives at the manufacturing plant. The assembly of the different machines may take hours, days or even weeks. Millwright mechanics become educated through apprenticeship programs which provide them with a solid foundation they than can apply to their careers.
2. Millwright mechanics need to work independently
Successful millwrights are capable of independent judgement and possess a strong sense of initiative. If a problems arises in a plant that is small it is likely only one millwright will work on the problem. They are able to converse with other co-workers about the problem but in order to be successful they must be comfortable working on their own.
3. Millwright mechanics need to have completed an apprenticeship
Typically companies require millwright mechanics to have completed secondary education. Although not required, many millwrights attend a technical school as this improves a students chance at being accepted into an apprentice program. Courses at the these schools include drawing and schematics, electrical design, machine technology and power transmission.
In Canada, once you have completed high school students are required to be apprenticed under the Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). This requires students to have completed a 7280 hours apprenticeship (approximately four years). Afterwards, they can write an exam for the certificate of qualification as an industrial millwright. It is almost always a requirement for a worker to have a certification such as a Industrial Millwright Mechanic License 443A.
4. Many Millwright Mechanics know programming languages
The food industry has changed substantially within the last few years. Many food companies have switched towards automated processes in the plants. Automation leads to improved productivity, improved product quality and improved profitability. In order for plant equipment to be automated they need to be equipped with control systems like PLC and SCADA. Although this is not a requirement it will aid a millwrights technical skills.
5. Millwright mechanics are in good physical shape
When new machinery enters the plant it needs to be opened and inspected for any damage. If the machinery is light than they may use pulleys and cables. However, if it is too large than they may require the assistance of a hydraulic lift. Millwrights are constantly bending, lifting and getting into tight spots in order to fit bearings, align gears and perform other maintenance tasks. This job would be near impossible without being in good physical shape.
6. Millwright mechanics need to be problem solvers
Everyday is unique for a millwright mechanic because new and different problems arise everyday. For example, if a conveyor belt stops working they need to determine whether a defective part needs to be refurbished, repaired and replaced. It is up to the mechanic to decide this.
7. Millwright mechanics support on going research projects
As it was mentioned before millwright mechanics are responsible for assembling new equipment when it enters a plant. They have an extensive knowledge about the equipment present in the plant and support engineers when new projects occur. They let them know about any problems which could potentially arise and how it will affect manufacturing.
8. Millwright mechanics have these sets of skills
As with any occupation there are certain sets of skills which will aid you better than others. For a millwright mechanic these skills include:
Strong literacy skills- A millwright mechanic constantly reads manuals for operating, troubleshooting and repairing tools and equipment. Furthermore, they need to be comfortable with reading blueprints, diagrams and schematic drawings to determine work procedures.
- Strong mathematical skills– Millwright mechanics need to compare measurements such as width, height and rotations per minute on a variety of parts to ensure they are within an acceptable range. Using these measurements they can calculate loads, capacities and dimensions for mechanical components and systems. If any of these measurements are off this could mean a lot of trouble down the line!
- Oral communication- As a millwright you might be quite knowledgeable about a certain piece of equipment but that doesn’t mean workers on the line are as well. These professionals need to communicate with co-workers on issues such as safety, productivity and repairs. As well, discuss progress to employees surrounding currently in work equipment.
- Continuous learning- Because new problems arise every day mechanics need to be comfortable with continuously learning. New equipment, unexpected errors and repairs are all reasons they need to learn new information. They learn by reading manuals, exchanging information with supplies and attending training workshops on new equipment and safety procedures.
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