Mechanical engineering technicians, also known as mechanical fitters or installers, design, construct, operate and maintain plant and machinery, and the mechanical components within that machinery. Mechanical engineering technicians work in many sectors, for example:
Mechanical engineering technicians work on projects with other engineering craftspeople and technicians under the supervision of an engineer. They cover a variety of skill areas including welding, hydraulics, pneumatics, fluid mechanics, computer-aided design, CNC machining, and measurement and inspection. Increasingly, they need a broad knowledge of other disciplines such as electronics and electrical engineering.Typical areas of work include:
Design - using computer-aided design (CAD) software to draw up plans for new prototypes, or to investigate potential performance enhancements by modifying existing designs.
Research and development – investigating and testing possible solutions to overcome machinery or process problems.
Construction, installation and operation – fabricating components, and installing, testing and adjusting instruments and machinery to ensure they are running smoothly and meeting performance targets.
Repair and maintenance – carrying out preventative maintenance schedules, diagnosing and rectifying faults in equipment and machinery.
Technicians may also have responsibility for supervising craftspeople and undertaking production planning, purchasing, estimating and quality control duties.
Mechanical engineering technicians work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday, however, they may have to work overtime or shifts if the work relates closely to production. Technicians in a factory environment are likely to work shifts and be on-call.
Work environments can vary from a quiet office, if involved in CAD work, to a noisy factory production line carrying out essential maintenance. Some work may be on outdoor sites. Protective clothing is usually provided where necessary.
To be a mechanical engineering technician, you should:
There are opportunities for mechanical engineering technicians across a wide range of industries. Employers include local and central government departments, the armed services, manufacturers in all industries, research and development companies and public utilities such as water, gas, and electricity. There are also opportunities with manufacturers in materials development and design, marketing, selling and customer support.
Progression routes normally involve taking on supervisory and management duties. There may also be options to specialise in a particular aspect of the role, for instance, CAD work.
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