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Millwright Careers, Jobs and Training Information

Millwright Career and Job Highlights

  • Four year training programs, either via community college or apprenticeship programs are typically expected along with on the job training.
  • Good possibilities exist for those with skills, in spite of expected slow growth in the employment rate for this industry.
  • Around 60 percent of millwrights are union members, resulting in one of the highest rates in the economy.

Millwright Career Overview

Millwrights work with machines and heavy equipment utilized by various industries, employing their skills to perform installations, repairs, and replacements. Millwrights must constantly enhance their abilities, whether it involves reading blueprints or pouring concrete, since the array of factories in which they work in is so vast and advancements in technology made so rapidly.

The millwright’s job starts with arrival of new machinery, as the new machinery has to be unloaded, pass through inspection, and placed in line in the factory. Millwrights use lifting systems incorporating pulleys and cables to lift and transport light machinery. When it comes to moving heavy machinery, millwrights may use hydraulic lifts or cranes. Since millwrights are typically responsible for lifting and positioning equipment it is important they understand the limits placed on ropes, cables, hoists and cranes.

Production managers work with millwrights to see that machinery is positioned in the ideal location. Sometimes new machinery will necessitate a new foundation, and millwrights will oversee and carry out this project, thereby requiring they understand blueprints and the attributes of different materials used in construction.

Millwrights also work on the assembly of new equipment, working hard to ensure that gears and wheels are aligned properly, bearings are fitted correctly, motors are attached, and belts are connected in compliance with manufacturer’s instructions. Millwrights must level and align machinery precisely as prescribed and thus this job requires measuring angles, how thick materials are, and short distances utilizing instruments like squares, calipers, and micrometers. When exact, precise measurements are necessary, millwrights turn to lasers and ultrasonic measuring devices. Other tools used by millwrights include hand and power tools, and metalworking tools like lathes or grinding machines.

Besides assembling and disassembling machines, millwrights also work together with mechanics to carry out maintenance and make repairs. Some of the maintenance is done in order to avoid problems, such as lubricating, repairing, or replacing components.

Machinery is becoming more and more complicated and automated, making installation and maintenance more complicated as well for millwrights. Some millwrights, for instance, might perform installations and maintenance on computerized machinery that fabricates parts. This type of equipment demands extensive understanding and careful attention meaning millwrights must work alongside computer, engineering, and electrical experts along with representatives from the manufacturer to ensure in is installed properly.

The conditions in which one works differ by industry. Millwrights that work for manufacturers typically work in shop and wear protective devices to prevent typical dangers. For instance, safety equipment like protective belts, safety goggles, and hardhats are used to avoid accidents from parts that may fall or become airborne. Millwrights working outside doing construction work might work in uncomfortable weather.

Millwrights may work alone or in groups. They must work fast and accurately since machinery that is offline causes losses in time and money. Close to a third of all millwrights say they work more than 40 hours in an average week. Millwrights especially work overtime or shift work during the occasional power outage or other emergency.

Millright Career Training and Job Qualifications

Most millwrights have about 4 years of formal training, which is typically received through avenues like apprenticeship or via community colleges, both of which join real world experience with classroom instruction. Normally these programs will incorporate instruction in disassembling, building, fixing and relocating machinery. Other skills taught to beginners include work done in carpentry, welding, and sheet-metal work as well as how to work with concrete. Trainees are also taught in subjects such as mathematics, blueprint reading, hydraulics, electricity, computers, and electronics.

Applicants that are high school graduates with some degree of training from a vocational school training or experience are favored by employers. Instruction related to mathematics, science, mechanical drawing, and machine shop come in handy. In addition to that training, millwrights have to keep up with advancements to in technology new techniques, like laser shaft alignment and vibration analysis.

A degree of mechanical ability is key since millwrights have to put to together and take apart complex machinery. Millwrights also must be strong and agile since they must lift equipment and climb a lot. Millwrights also work a lot in groups, and thus need good social skills to interact and relate with others and delegate responsibilities and instructions.

Promotion for millwrights is shown through better wages. Some millwrights become supervisors while others start their own contractor business.

Millright Job and Employment Opportunties

The growth rate for millwright positions is expected to increase at a slightly slower pace than the average for all occupations through 2012. Much is expected of millwrights as they must perform maintenance, installations, and repairs as well as take apart machinery, thus applicants with good skills will have good opportunities. Those with instruction in installations of new machinery with current technology will have the best opportunities. Besides openings created from growth, positions will open up thanks to retirements and those who leave for other jobs.

Growth in employment of millwrights follows cycles, increasing and decreasing as investments to automate the factories rises and falls. Companies that hope to stay in competition with other firms have to will need the help of millwrights to remove outdated machinery and perform installations of new equipment. Increases in employment will also be curbed by the increase in foreign competitors as well as technological advancements like hydraulic torque wrenches, ultrasonic measuring devices, and laser shaft alignment which facilitate more work done by fewer workers. Additionally, the need for more millwrights will be tempered as electronic techs and industrial machinery mechanics who are paid less than millwrights take on more installing and maintenance tasks.

Millright Earnings Information

Millwrights were paid on average $20.19 an hour in 2002. The middle 50 percent made anywhere from $15.77 to $25.48. The bottom 10 percent made less than $12.39, and the top 10 percent make $29.49 or more. Wages differ depending on the industry one works in and where they are geographically located. Here are the average wages for millwrights in the largest industries.

  • Motor vehicle parts manufacturing – $28.14
  • Building equipment contractors – $19.33
  • Nonresidential building construction – $18.98

Close to 60 percent of millwrights are union members, which is one of the highest rates in economy.