For heavy equipment to function, a diesel mechanic with specialized education and training is needed. Cranes, bulldozers, graders, scrapers, aerial trucks, blading equipment, backhoes, and others are complex pieces of equipment that contain parts that only a heavy equipment mechanic could fix or maintain. This particular job can be quite challenging but at the same time, rewarding.
Heavy equipment today is much different from equipment used even 10 years ago. While many of the job functions are the same, the machines themselves contain computerized and more technical parts. Because of this, someone with appropriate skills is mandated to repair, and maintain heavy equipment to ensure efficiency and safety for any type project being worked.
Heavy Equipment Industries
Before we get into some of the details of the jobs that a heavy mechanic performs, we wanted to provide a brief overview of the industries that use heavy equipment. By far, the construction industry uses the greatest number of heavy equipment but also the most varied types of equipment. In this case, equipment is used to prepare sites on which homes, businesses, and other structures are built.
In addition to preparing the land, heavy equipment in the construction industry helps with moving extremely heavy materials such as metal beams, dirt, lumber, roofing, and much more from one location to another. This type of equipment is also essential for creating walkways, driveways, roads, and other things on various types of construction sites.
Along with construction, the mining industry is also dependent on heavy equipment. Although sites are also prepared and materials moved, for mining, a number of different equipment is needed for underground work. In this case, a heavy equipment mechanic must understand not just operation, repair, and maintenance of equipment used but also safety issues, especially anything to do with fumes that could be toxic.
Even the agricultural industry needs heavy equipment. For this, equipment is often used for preparing fields, cultivating crops, weeding, spraying, and plowing. However, equipment for agricultural work helps get large and heavy materials and items from fields to end users. The bottom line is that multiple industries must use a variety of machinery in that without it, these industries would be non-existent.
Work Performed by Mechanics
As stated several times, not only would a heavy equipment mechanic need to repair machinery but also provide regular maintenance. Operators go to work every day and put complete confidence in the work performed by mechanics, trusting the equipment will work efficiently but also safely. Without the skills of a highly trained mechanic, any number of major problems could arise, even some that could put the operator or other workers’ lives at risk.
While the primary role of a heavy equipment mechanic is to repair and maintain machinery, there are some mechanics that also possess necessary skills to operate the equipment. Interestingly, for basic maintenance jobs working alone and under normal conditions, a heavy equipment mechanic must have between two and five years of experience. In this role, the following are some of the specific job functions the mechanic would be responsible for handling but under close supervision.
- Handle all necessary repairs to include the replacement of worn or damaged parts
- Provide regular servicing to include using jacks, cranes, and various handheld tools to dismantle and reassemble areas of heavy equipment
- Make adjustments of engines, as well as any additional assemblies such as crawler heads and gear transmissions
- Examine critical parts and operating components of heavy equipment for possible wear and tear, defects, or other damage with the use of specialized tools but also trained eyes and ears
- Test equipment and machines on a regular schedule to ensure things are operating efficiently and safely
- Clean all components using the spray paint or direct immersion technique with appropriate solvent formulated for heavy equipment
- Check for components and parts that need to be welded and then with a gas or electric welder perform the work
- As stated, there are times when a heavy equipment mechanic needs to actually operate the type of machinery being worked on. With this, it would be possible to identify certain problems and get them repaired.
There is such high demand for highly skilled heavy equipment mechanics. The type of work this person does is so critical and precise that spending necessary time to gain the knowledge, expertise, and licensing to work as this type of professional would be a worthwhile professional. Finally, a heavy equipment mechanic with solid training and education, as well as many years of experience might take on another role as trainer or educator of newly hired mechanics.