Millwright and Industrial Mechanic Spotlight

Millwrights (sometimes referred to as Industrial Mechanics) have one of the most technically difficult jobs of the trades. They install, maintain, troubleshoot, overhaul and repair stationary industrial machinery and mechanical equipment.

What a typical day looks like:

Millwrights tinker. They turn. They monitor. They fix. They work on new or maintenance projects and install, repair or overhaul machinery and equipment in manufacturing, processing and production facilities or on construction sites. This can include working on a vast variety of systems including mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, fuel, lubrication, cooling and exhaust with components that include pumps, fans, tanks, conveyors, presses and generators.

Regardless of what system or component they are working on, they are always focused on pinpointing problems before they start and keeping facilities operating. They provide mechanical expertise for new construction and repairs within the plant according to safety, quality and trade standards and guidelines. Plants can be loud and complex, so they also have a safety mindset as they work around rotating equipment and other moving parts, electricity and chemicals.

Typically employed in the exploration and production (E&P), oil sands, oil and gas services and pipeline sectors of the oil and gas industry, working conditions can vary from one job to another including confined spaces, high elevations and noisy, dusty, cold or unusually warm conditions. Many construction and turnaround maintenance jobs will be remotely located and they may need to move from project to project, live in a camp and work extended hours. If they work in an operations plant, they will work shifts and, depending on the remoteness of the operations, may also be away from home and live in a camp.

The kinds of problems Millwrights solve at work:

Millwrights get things running, keep things humming and fix anything that’s broken. During the commissioning of a plant or compressor station, for instance, starting up compressors may be a big part of the job. They might “slow-roll” the compressors (start out at 10 to 15 per cent of the regular speed), listening for “knocks” and then conduct vibration analyses and other diagnostic activities to ensure the equipment is starting up properly. If things don’t sound or look right, they’ll use their experience and investigative skills to find out the root cause of a problem.

Skills used most on the job:

Millwrights are a whiz at mechanics and mathematics and thrive on the challenge of troubleshooting. They’re able to follow procedures closely when adjusting machinery or installing new equipment but adapt to change easily too. They also bring good eye-hand coordination, strength, agility and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

Millwrights keeps operations operating. They are able to safely install, maintain and repair a wide variety of components needed to keep the oil and gas industry flowing.

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