Corporations and advanced manufacturing companies today work to operate several different types of machinery and major industrial equipment. These industrial machines need regular upkeep and timely maintenance. All of that is part of the industrial maintenance technician job description.
The modern industrial maintenance mechanic or technician is at the center of machinery maintenance.
However, job descriptions and overall maintenance tasks in 2020 need more diversely skilled service technicians.
In this article, I'll go over what an industrial maintenance technician does, what duties come with the job title, what an average industrial mechanic/technician makes in a year, as well as the perks and benefits.
Let's take a look.
What is an Industrial Maintenance Technician? [Job Overview]
An industrial maintenance technician is someone who repairs, upgrades, and maintains large industrial machines and heavy-duty mechanical equipment.
They perform maintenance work on a scheduled or emergency basis, while monitoring the running conditions of all the equipment they are designated towards.
Also called a general technician, these professionals make sure the equipment under their supervision performs as planned, till the end of the production cycles.
The 'industrial technician' aspect of the job applies to several disciplines, such as manufacturing maintenance, electrical systems and power supply maintenance, as well as mechanical modification.
Here is a brief overview of their responsibilities:
- Perform maintenance procedures on all allocated equipment
- Troubleshoot specific machine parts or an array of machinery
- Develop preventive maintenance schedules for various industrial equipment
- Watch control systems for signs of mechanical deterioration
- Diagnose problems via manual observation and electronic aids
- Allocate tasks to junior industrial maintenance technicians [for senior officials]
Additionally, an industrial maintenance technician may have their responsibilities based on their qualifications and experience in their chosen industry.
Several experienced industrial maintenance technicians also work as technical leadership and engineers
The current trend of smart operation allows a single technician to work in several capacities and automate various tasks that don't need their immediate response every time.
Primary Responsibilities of an Industrial Maintenance Technician in 2020
Industrial maintenance technician jobs are not what they used to be, at least in companies that are keeping with the digital revolution.
Today, both full-time and part-time technicians are experts in a variety of cross-functional operations and technical areas. This adds responsibilities to the standard tasks that technicians are expected to perform.
However, before they take on more advanced responsibilities, today's industrial maintenance technicians need to perform some fundamental maintenance types.
Here are the three prime responsibilities of today's industrial maintenance technicians.
General Machine Maintenance
Basic mechanical maintenance is performed whenever the equipment needs repairs and is a common form of maintenance for companies with major industrial machinery.
Electricians, mechanics, and millwrights are prime examples of general industrial maintenance technicians.
The unscheduled and random nature of general maintenance makes it ideal for mechanics and pre-engineers who are starting out in their chosen fields.
While technicians are generally associated with mechanical or sanitary work, IT professionals and line-robotics experts can also fall under that category.
Preventative maintenance is any form of industrial maintenance that's done on a regular basis to increase the life of machinery and prevent downtime.
This sort of maintenance is performed on a planned basis, with the repair schedule being set as per equipment needs.
To perform preventive maintenance, technicians have to:
- Look at repair schedules and optimize machinery as planned.
- Observe machine performance on the spot, to determine more effective repair periods.
- Perform maintenance after a certain number of running cycles.
- Set up and operate within maintenance plans to save time and money.
- Work alongside department stakeholders to keep equipment running smoothly.
Preventive maintenance is an effective approach to make sure that even more complicated machines run without any long or short-term issues.
Predictive maintenance is an advanced form of preventive maintenance, which takes into account equipment performance over a period of time.
It's one of the most common forms of maintenance for modern industrial tech and automated machines
To perform predictive maintenance, technicians have to:
- Monitor equipment performance and health tracking tools to weed out potential causes of equipment failure.
- Watch production performance in real-time to determine working capacity in the near future.
- Perform multiple types of tests on equipment, to make sure that there are no lingering issues.
Predictive maintenance is usually done to reduce instances of emergency maintenance and minimize the costs of repairs in the future.
Soft Skills for Industrial Maintenance Technicians in 2020
Being a technician responsible for consistent high-value production at a manufacturing facility requires a broad set of skills.
Here are some of the most important soft skills for modern industrial maintenance technicians:
- Advanced Trend Awareness: Basic technical skills are an obvious requirement for any industrial technician. However, a technician in 2020 needs to know the latest tech trends in the industry. Furthermore, they should know how to maintain robotic and automated machinery.
- Flexible Technical Skills: Industrial maintenance technicians should have expertise with a variety of tools. More than that though, they should be able to function in different but related roles such as coordination, work order processing, and supervision.
- Positive Energy and Stamina: One of the most basic but often overlooked needs for technicians is good physical conditions and a positive attitude. These are necessary for the collaborative work environments of today.
- Effective Problem Solving Skills: Technicians may sometimes face highly complicated machinery issues. In light of this, they should have excellent problem-solving and critical thinking skills to overcome any and all complex equipment repairs.
- Collaboration and Teamwork: Field technicians are often communicating and collaborating with mechanics and supervisors, as well as members of other technical teams. To be effective workers, they need to be comfortable and communicative in a team environment, and willing to collaborate with other staff to solve problems.
Additionally, all industrial technicians need to be able to run maintenance management systems or at least have basic computer skills, to be able to learn how to use such software.
This quality will make them highly valuable job prospects and ideal candidates for promotion.
Typical Qualifications of an Industrial Maintenance Technician
Almost all industrial maintenance jobs require a technical or engineering degree, or vocational diploma in a relevant field.
Generally, an industrial maintenance technician should have the following qualifications:
- Bachelor's degree in a valid technical field
- 4-Year diploma from a technical college, with adequate on-site training
- Associate degree with at least 2 years of experience in an industrial setting
- Online course certification in an industrial maintenance technician program with extensive work experience
- High school diploma with credentials from an engineering certification authority
Furthermore, a modern technician should have hands-on experience with the sort of high-tech automated machinery that modern companies are using. They should preferably be certified in their usage.
There are tons of online courses that can help candidates develop the skill sets they need for career advancement.
These courses can upskill industrial maintenance technicians, while also preparing them for the challenges their jobs will bring.
Industrial Maintenance Technician Salary and Perks
According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a current industrial maintenance technician in the US is $39,995 per year.
This can vary based on a candidate's individual qualifications and work experience, as well as the company's salary offer.
Additionally, different companies offer job complexity and performance-based benefits. However, all technicians get some benefits such as life, health, dental, and injury insurance.
How to Become an Ideal Industrial Maintenance Technician
The current generation of engineering technology has turned even basic industrial technicians into high-tech troubleshooters.
Senior managers are trusting software to respond to repair alerts and allocate resources, while mechanics are using on-board computers to detect issues. In fact, mechanics very rarely have to disassemble a machine to discover the defect.
All of this is has resulted in a dramatic improvement of the overall production cycle, asset quality and health, and a tech-forward industrial framework.
Today, any working industrial maintenance technician has to make technology a vital part of their workflow.
Considering this, candidates need to focus on courses and certifications that provide them skills to function well in high-tech industries.
In conclusion, it pays to upgrade your skills in order to adjust to the transforming industrial landscape. Any potential industrial maintenance technician who wants to succeed in it should upskill themselves accordingly.