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An industrial maintenance technician services equipment used in industrial settings like factories and process facilities. Training may be available on the job through apprentice programs, or at technical schools, where students receive a mixture of classroom and hands-on learning. Employment prospects in this field can depend on the level of skill as well as the industry and the region. It may be necessary to relocate for the best job opportunities in some cases.
Facilities may keep industrial maintenance technicians on their permanent staff to maintain their equipment, or they may call them in as consultants when they are needed. Part of the work involves the installation and testing of new equipment. It may be necessary for personnel to receive some training before they start using the equipment, and this can also be part of the job. The industrial maintenance technician confirms that personnel know how to use the equipment safely and appropriately to reduce the risk of injuries or equipment malfunctions.
Routine maintenance is also part of the job. Industrial equipment needs regular cleaning, lubrication, and other servicing to stay in good working order. Problems with the equipment can create safety risks or hold up a production line. Routine maintenance can include safety checks or breakdowns of equipment to check for clogs and other issues. This may need to be done quickly or after hours to minimize downtime on the production line.
When equipment malfunctions or breaks, the industrial maintenance technician troubleshoots and repairs it. This can include sophisticated equipment, which may require a knowledge of industrial computer programming as well as skills like welding, plumbing, and electrical wiring. If components are broken, the industrial maintenance technician may need to repair or replace them, as for example if the central processing unit of a machine is not working properly. The job may include working on equipment in a shop environment to ensure that companies have replacements available if manufacturing machines fail on the line.
Hours can be long for an industrial maintenance technician. Some facilities run 24 hours or have extended operating schedules, and they may call in technicians to deal with immediate problems on the line. The job can require completing complex tasks under pressure, communicating information to workers and supervisors, and developing creative solutions to problems to keep a line running smoothly. Continuing education may also be necessary to keep up with developments in the field, including new equipment that may be introduced to the workplace.