Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights

Summary

industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers image
Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights all repair manufacturing equipment.
Quick Facts: Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights
2016 Median Pay $49,100 per year
$23.61 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training See How to Become One
Number of Jobs, 2016 476,100
Job Outlook, 2016-26 7% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 32,400

What Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights Do

Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers maintain and repair factory equipment and other industrial machinery, such as conveying systems, production machinery, and packaging equipment. Millwrights install, dismantle, repair, reassemble, and move machinery in factories, power plants, and construction sites.

Work Environment

Workers in this occupation must follow safety precautions and use protective equipment, such as hardhats, safety glasses, and hearing protectors. Most work full time in manufacturing facilities. However, they may be on call and work night or weekend shifts. Overtime is common.

How to Become an Industrial Machinery Mechanic, Machinery Maintenance Worker, or Millwright

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights typically need a high school diploma. Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers also usually need at least a year of on-the-job training. Most millwrights go through an apprenticeship program that may last up to 4 years.

Pay

The median annual wage for industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights was $49,100 in May 2016.

Job Outlook

Employment of industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The need to keep increasingly sophisticated machinery functioning and efficient will continue to create demand for these workers.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights Do About this section

Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers
Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers adjust and calibrate equipment.

Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers maintain and repair factory equipment and other industrial machinery, such as conveying systems, production machinery, and packaging equipment. Millwrights install, dismantle, repair, reassemble, and move machinery in factories, power plants, and construction sites.

Duties

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights typically do the following:

  • Read technical manuals to understand equipment and controls
  • Disassemble machinery and equipment when there is a problem
  • Repair or replace broken or malfunctioning components
  • Perform tests and run initial batches to make sure that the machine is running smoothly
  • Detect minor problems by performing basic diagnostic tests
  • Test malfunctioning machinery to determine whether major repairs are needed
  • Adjust and calibrate equipment and machinery to optimal specifications
  • Clean and lubricate equipment or machinery
  • Move machinery and equipment

Industrial machinery mechanics, also called maintenance machinists, keep machines in working order by detecting and correcting errors before the machine or the products it produces are damaged. Many of these machines are increasingly run by computers. Industrial machinery mechanics use technical manuals, their understanding of industrial equipment, and observation to determine the cause of a problem. For example, after detecting a vibration from a machine, they must decide whether it is the result of worn belts, weak motor bearings, or some other problem. They may use computerized diagnostic systems and vibration analysis techniques to help figure out the source of problems. Examples of machines they may work with are robotic welding arms, automobile assembly line conveyor belts, and hydraulic lifts.

After diagnosing a problem, the industrial machinery mechanic may take the equipment apart to repair or replace the necessary parts. Once a repair is made, mechanics test a machine to ensure that it is operating correctly.

In addition to working with hand tools, mechanics commonly use lathes, grinders, and drill presses. Many also are required to weld.

Machinery maintenance workers do basic maintenance and repairs on machines. They clean and lubricate machinery, perform basic diagnostic tests, check the performance of the machine, and test damaged machine parts to determine whether major repairs are necessary.

Machinery maintenance workers must follow machine specifications and adhere to maintenance schedules. They perform minor repairs, generally leaving major repairs to industrial machinery mechanics.

Maintenance workers use a variety of tools to do repairs and preventive maintenance. For example, they may use a screwdriver or socket wrenches to adjust a motor’s alignment, or they might use a hoist to lift a heavy printing press off the ground.

Millwrights install, maintain, and disassemble industrial machines. Putting together a machine can take a few days or several weeks.

Millwrights perform repairs that include replacing worn or defective parts of machines. They also may be involved in taking apart the entire machine, a common situation when a manufacturing plant needs to clear floor space for new machinery. In taking apart a machine, millwrights carefully disassemble, categorize, and package each part of the machine.

Millwrights use a variety of hand tools, such as hammers and levels, as well as equipment for welding, brazing, and cutting. They also use measuring tools, such as micrometers, measuring tapes, lasers, and other precision-measuring devices. On large projects, they commonly use cranes and trucks. When millwrights and managers determine the best place for a machine, millwrights use forklifts, hoists, winches, cranes, and other equipment to bring the parts to the desired location.

Work Environment About this section

Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers
Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights usually work in manufacturing facilities.

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights held about 476,100 jobs in 2016. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights was distributed as follows:

Industrial machinery mechanics 346,900
Maintenance workers, machinery 89,700
Millwrights 39,500

The largest employers of industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights were as follows:

Manufacturing 54%
Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment (except automotive and electronic) repair and maintenance 9
Wholesale trade 9
Construction 6

Injuries and Illnesses

Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers have higher rates of injuries and illnesses than the national average. To avoid injuries, workers must follow safety precautions and use protective equipment, such as hardhats, safety glasses, steel-toed shoes, gloves, and earplugs.

Work Schedules

Most industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers are employed full time during regular business hours. However, mechanics may be on call and work night or weekend shifts. Overtime is common, particularly for mechanics.

How to Become an Industrial Machinery Mechanic, Machinery Maintenance Worker, or Millwright About this section

Industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers
Industrial machinery mechanics may receive more than a year of on-the-job training, while machinery maintenance workers typically receive training that lasts a few months to a year.

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights typically need a high school diploma. Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers also usually need a year or more of training after high school.

Most millwrights go through an apprenticeship program that lasts about 4 years.

Education

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights generally need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some mechanics and millwrights complete a 2-year associate’s degree program in industrial maintenance. Industrial maintenance programs may include courses such as welding, mathematics, hydraulics, and pneumatics.

Training

Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers typically receive more than a year of on-the-job training. Industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers learn how to perform routine tasks, such as setting up, cleaning, lubricating, and starting machinery. They also may be instructed in subjects such as shop mathematics, blueprint reading, proper hand tool use, welding, electronics, and computer programming. This training may be offered on the job by professional trainers hired by the employer or by representatives of equipment manufacturers.

Most millwrights learn their trade through a 3- or 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must have at least 144 hours of relevant technical instruction and up to 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. On the job, apprentices learn to set up, clean, lubricate, repair, and start machinery. During technical instruction, they are taught welding, mathematics, how to read blueprints, and machinery troubleshooting. Many also receive computer training.

After completing an apprenticeship program, millwrights are considered fully qualified and can usually perform tasks with less guidance.

Employers, local unions, contractor associations, and the state labor department often sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Physically able to do the work

Important Qualities

Manual dexterity. Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights must have a steady hand and good hand–eye coordination when handling very small parts.

Mechanical skills. Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights use technical manuals and sophisticated diagnostic equipment to figure out why machines are not working. Workers must be able to reassemble large, complex machines after finishing a repair.

Troubleshooting skills. Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights must observe, diagnose, and fix problems that a machine may be having.

Pay About this section

Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights

Median annual wages, May 2016

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights

$49,100

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

$43,440

Total, all occupations

$37,040

 

The median annual wage for industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights was $49,100 in May 2016. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,440, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $75,220.

Median annual wages for industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights in May 2016 were as follows:

Millwrights $52,440
Industrial machinery mechanics 50,040
Maintenance workers, machinery 44,550

In May 2016, the median annual wages for industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Manufacturing $49,340
Construction 48,790
Wholesale trade 47,600
Commercial and industrial machinery and equipment (except automotive and electronic) repair and maintenance 44,540

Most industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers are employed full time during regular business hours. However, mechanics may be on call or assigned to work night or weekend shifts. Overtime is common, particularly for mechanics.

Job Outlook About this section

Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights

Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26

Total, all occupations

7%

Installation, maintenance, and repair occupations

7%

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights

7%

 

Overall employment of industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by occupation.

The increased adoption of sophisticated manufacturing machinery will require more mechanics and millwrights to keep machines in good working order. Increased automation, including the use of many computer-controlled machines in factories and manufacturing plants, should raise the demand for machinery maintenance workers in order to keep the machines functioning properly. The increased use of machinery in manufacturing will require millwrights to install and disassemble this equipment, as well as perform some repair work on it.

Job Prospects

Job prospects will be good, particularly for applicants with a broad range of skills in machine repair as older workers retire or otherwise leave the occupation.

Employment projections data for industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights, 2016-26
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights

476,100 508,500 7 32,400

Industrial machinery mechanics

49-9041 346,900 370,400 7 23,500 employment projections excel document xlsx

Maintenance workers, machinery

49-9043 89,700 94,700 6 5,000 employment projections excel document xlsx

Millwrights

49-9044 39,500 43,400 10 3,900 employment projections excel document xlsx

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of industrial machinery mechanics, machinery maintenance workers, and millwrights.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2016 MEDIAN PAY Help
Electrical and electronics engineers

Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems, and power generation equipment. Electronics engineers design and develop electronic equipment, including broadcast and communications systems, such as portable music players and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices.

Bachelor's degree $96,270
Electricians

Electricians

Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems in homes, businesses, and factories.

High school diploma or equivalent $52,720
General maintenance and repair workers

General Maintenance and Repair Workers

General maintenance and repair workers fix and maintain machines, mechanical equipment, and buildings. They paint, repair flooring, and work on plumbing, electrical, and air-conditioning and heating systems, among other tasks.

High school diploma or equivalent $36,940
Machinists and tool and die makers

Machinists and Tool and Die Makers

Machinists and tool and die makers set up and operate a variety of computer-controlled and mechanically controlled machine tools to produce precision metal parts, instruments, and tools.

See How to Become One $43,160
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair pipes that carry liquids or gases to, from, and within businesses, homes, and factories.

High school diploma or equivalent $51,450
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join or cut metal parts. They also fill holes, indentations, or seams in metal products.

High school diploma or equivalent $39,390
wind turbine technicians image

Wind Turbine Technicians

Wind turbine service technicians, also known as windtechs, install, maintain, and repair wind turbines.

Postsecondary nondegree award $52,260
Medical equipment repairers

Medical Equipment Repairers

Medical equipment repairers install, maintain, and repair patient care equipment.

Associate's degree $48,070

Contacts for More Information About this section

For information about industrial machinery mechanics and machinery maintenance workers, visit

National Association of Manufacturers

Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals

For information about millwrights and the precision-machined products industry, training, and apprenticeships, visit

Precision Machined Products Association

For further information on apprenticeship programs, write to the Apprenticeship Council of your state’s labor department or to local firms that employ machinery mechanics and repairers. Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s ApprenticeshipUSA program online or by phone at 877-872-5627.

O*NET

Industrial Machinery Mechanics

Maintenance Workers, Machinery

Millwrights

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/industrial-machinery-mechanics-and-maintenance-workers-and-millwrights.htm (visited November 28, 2017).

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What They Do

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Work Environment

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How to Become One

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Pay

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State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2016 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2016

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2016, which is the base year of the 2016-26 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2016-26

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

2016 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.