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Heavy Equipment Mechanics - An Overview

Aug 17, 2007
Heavy Equipment Mechanics involve the repair, overhaul and the maintenance of mobile, heavy-duty equipment used in construction, forestry, mining, material handling, landscaping, land clearing, farming and similar activities. These days, heavy equipment mechanics have many more tools at their disposal when trucks and other equipment break down.

Heavy equipment mechanics are mostly involved in the repair of machines that are used in logging, construction, and industrial work. They look after the maintenance of equipment, so that they operate safely and smoothly. When there is a break down, they check it for the causes of the malfunction.
Nowadays, mechanics use hand-held computers for component error diagnoses and repair. The use of jacks or hoists helps in this process.

Gauges and meters are also used by heavy equipment mechanics to check parts for damage. The greasing, oiling and cleaning of parts are performed by soaking them in solvents. Mechanics also use welding equipment to mend broken frames or parts. After the repairs, they reassemble the equipment and test it for performance and safety.

Heavy duty mechanics are required to check and determine problems in the functioning of bulldozers, cranes, graders and other heavy construction, logging and mining equipment. They clean, lubricate and maintain equipment according to maintenance schedules. They make adjustments to equipment, repair, or replace defective parts, components, or systems. They test repaired equipment for proper performance. They need to communicate with customers, co-workers, and service managers. They read owner/operator/manufacturer operating manuals and service specification in order to carry out their job.

Specialized courses help novices to learn about maintaining and repairing important drive-line components, including clutches, transmissions, axle assemblies, driveshaft, driving wheel, etc., in trucks, tractors, scrapers, graders, and other heavy equipment. Heavy equipment mechanics that work in large repair shops perform more complex tasks. They may rebuild engines, fix electrical problems, or repair hydraulic pumps. A hydraulic pump is one that is operated by fluid under pressure. Mechanics in large shops often specialize in one or two types of work. For example, a shop may have specialists in major engine repair, transmission work, electrical systems, and brake systems

The courseware focuses on troubleshooting, servicing, maintaining, and rebuilding of both two- and four-cycle engines manufactured by various companies. The candidate must complete his secondary school diploma, with credits in Math, English and Science, as well as technical courses such as electrical systems or auto mechanics. The apprenticeship must be completed within 9000 hours. A combination of on-the-job and in-school training is required, prior to successfully passing a written examination for the Certificate of Qualification.

Modern laboratories employ heavy-duty equipment mechanics to conduct research on overhauling fuel injection pumps. However, most of the heavy mechanics work in construction fields, working in oily or greasy environments, and in all sorts of weather. The work shift is full-time, with a high risk of injury present by working around heavy equipment and power tools. Traveling is also involved, along with weekend and overtime work. Heavy equipment firms employ heavy-duty equipment mechanics. The other organizations that employ mechanics are construction, mining, forestry, material handling businesses, farming, and transportation companies. Apprentices generally earn less than fully qualified mechanics. As skills and expertise increase, the salary also increases. Fully qualified heavy equipment mechanics can earn from $18 - 25 per hour.
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