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Work Activities of Heavy Equipment Mechanics

Aug 17, 2007
The daily routine work of heavy equipment mechanics is not remarkably different from that of other mechanics. While there are a few jobs that are specialized, most of the day-to-day activities of a heavy equipment mechanic are common.

Heavy equipment mechanics spend most of their working time with their equipment itself. They handle and control various tools, objects, and mechanical or electrical controls pertaining to that particular machine. They get to touch, feel and operate the machine. They usually have to use their muscles to carry, push or lift various objects or spares. Arms, fingers, wrists, etc., too need to be used to perform tasks while repairing a machine. The job of an equipment mechanic is challenging as well as demanding. It demands a strong physique coupled with an inherent ability with machines.

A typical workday starts with a round in the heavy machine shop, or a site visit, to inspect newly installed heavy machinery. It also comprises of checking and evaluation of machines that have been in use for a long period, and their maintenance. If a heavy equipment mechanic notices problems with the machine, he gets down to solving it. So one must be prepared to get ones hands dirty, or work in awkward positions.

Here are some routine tasks performed by heavy equipment mechanics:
. Carry out routine maintenance checks to ensure that machines work well.
. Operate the equipment to locate any defect.
. Diagnose components that require repair with the help of hand-held devices, meters, and measuring equipment.
. Examine, and repair parts if required, by taking apart equipment.
. Move or lift large equipment or parts by using hoists.
. Carry out the cleaning and oiling of these machines.
. Use gas and electric welders to repair broken parts or frames.
. Once the equipment is repaired, to check for safety and proper operation.

Frequently, heavy equipment mechanics have to travel to project sites or factories at distant places. Sometimes they work outdoors all through the day and night. So they have to get used to various terrain or climatic conditions. These mechanics are also often exposed to hazardous materials or chemicals, and there are chances of mishaps occurring. Hence, they need to take proper precautions and follow the safety instructions of their superiors. Many mechanics specialize in the repairs and maintenance of a specific category, like diesel engines, transmission systems, electrical systems or brakes.

On the relationship front, as the nature of work involves work at sites or machine shops, the chances of social interactions or human contacts are low. Naturally, there are fewer chances to forge new relationships. They usually interact with others just to learn what they need to know to carry out their job; the rest of the time is spent alone at their work. As for the wages, while it may be relatively low when starting out, it becomes more lucrative with time. Also, heavy equipment mechanics must possess the ability to make fast and accurate judgments, which lead to fast decisions. This quality or capability can be developed with experience.

Unlike any other career option, things like unusual working conditions, physical fatigue, lonely working environments, and frequent travel are a part and parcel of a heavy equipment mechanics job. If you are lucky and get to work with a large manufacturer like Caterpillar, you may become a globetrotter. People who are passionate about heavy machinery, their operations and maintenance, and are happy working alone, will find a career as a heavy equipment mechanic interesting and satisfying.
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