When looking to get a degree or certification in industrial maintenance, there are numerous roads that someone can go down. This type of work encompasses many different fields which can leave potential students confused. Three very popular maintenance jobs are electrician, mechanic, and process controls (PLCs).
If someone pursues the electrical field, they receive a lot of the training a general residential electrician receives; only, they will not be putting it to practice by performing basic home inspections. The maintenance performed is much more hands-on. The electricians are responsible for performing repairs or maintenance on electrical equipment, such as generators, transformers, and motors, keeping the electricians out in the field instead of in the office waiting for a phone call about a neighborhood black-out. As the world and industrial system becomes more automated, the need for these types of electricians will only increasing, leaving industrial electricians with a great job-outlook for the future.
Industrial maintenance mechanics differ very much from the mechanic that works in an auto repair shop. Instead of working on car and truck engines, these mechanics work on industrial machinery engines in some type of plant or factory. It is their sole purpose to make sure that the machinery being used stays in optimal working condition. Mechanics are trained and equipped to handle many different types of troubleshooting and repairs in the engine from electrical problems to hydraulic or pneumatic malfunctions. The training they receive gives them the knowledge needed to fix almost any problem within the machinery they are working with.
Process control, or PLC, is one of the most technical jobs that maintenance specialist can have. It deals with working from a database. There is one specific computer, server, or mother board that controls the jobs of all the other components attached to it. If something goes wrong with the main component, everything else is affected (similar to when an internet server in an office goes out… if the server goes, no one in the network can get access to the internet wreaking havoc among those that require it to finish their job). Process Control technicians will receive excellent computer training for the type of system they will be working with, ensuring that if anything goes wrong with it, they have the ability to fix it. This key component is essential in making sure everything else runs smoothly throughout the facility.
There are many reason that someone decides to go into the field of industrial maintenance: it is a very hands-on job that rarely leaves down-time in the day; the specialized training that doesn’t require attending a 4-year university has the benefits of getting people in the work force quickly; the job outlook is only increasing due to the advancements in technology that have been made. The largest decision to make in the process of becoming certified is the type of training to receive. With the large variety they offer, it makes it easy to find something that is of interest.