Job: Industrial Instrument Mechanic

By , March 23, 2010

Have you ever blown your bicycle tire into a million pieces because you put too much air in it? You know that dial on the air pump? Well, it’s there for a reason. It measures the air pressure. And if the dial isn’t working right, good chance you’ll be showered with black rubber bits.

Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics maintain, repair, and calibrate similar kinds of dials and instruments for industrial and commercial plants. Many of these devices measure and control things like the pressure and temperature of liquids and gases. If you are detail-oriented, have good analytical skills and would appreciate the sense of satisfaction that comes from ensuring equipment others rely upon is working properly, consider becoming an Industrial Instrument Mechanic.

Keeping the Place Humming

Technology is everywhere, meaning the ability to maintain high-tech equipment and power supplies continually increases in value. Industry and individuals depend on the skills of Industrial Instrument Mechanics to ensure fire and burglar alarms, closed circuit television systems, X-ray equipment, temperature sensors and other instruments are properly installed and in good working order.

Instrumentation mechanics must have knowledge of pneumatics, electropneumatics, hydraulics, electricity, and electronics. An interest in the scientific and technical aspects of the job is required, and the highly successful workers in this field dedicate themselves to keeping current with changes in technology. Everyone looks to the instrument mechanic if the machinery stops because of some instrument malfunction, so workers who are able to get along with other trades, pay attention to detail, and like to understand and solve problems will have an advantage.

It’s their job to install, maintain, and repair measuring and control instruments to ensure they work properly. Technicians and mechanics need to be keen observers because all kinds of problems can arise if instruments are faulty. For example, if instruments are not calibrated or malfunction at a hydro facility, and the problems are not detected, transformers could burst into flames. (You don’t want to have to use your firefighting skills as well!)

Specific Duties

Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics main duties are to

  • Inspect and test control devices, diagnose problems, calibrate (adjust to the right setting) and maintain equipment.
  • Consult manufacturers’ specifications and discuss equipment performance with process operators.
  • Carry out preventive maintenance.
  • Remove and replace defective parts and install new components, and
  • Write maintenance reports and reports based on statistics from their testing.

Adjusting your Skills to the Right Setting (Education & Training)

  • Grade 12 education is preferred
  • The most common path to certification is through apprenticeship. The Industrial Instrument Mechanic apprenticeship process requires time spent on the job and in-school training.
  • After completion of five-level apprenticeship training, a passing grade on the interprovincial exam will result in the BC Certificate of Apprenticeship, the BC Certificate of Qualification, and the Interprovincial Standard Endorsement, also known as Red Seal.
  • Mathematics and an ability to work to precise specifications are essential to the job. You will find this trade especially rewarding if you enjoy identifying and solving problems.
  • Ongoing education in electronics and computer use is necessary in order to be successful.

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