Millwrights are men and women who build, install, and repair heavy equipment and machinery that is used in a number of different settings. Professionals in millwright careers utilize their knowledge of design, physics, and electricity to work on large drills, power generators, construction equipment, and many other types of machines. Most millwright careers can be found with machine shops, heavy equipment manufacturers, construction companies, and municipal government organizations.
A millwright who works in a machine shop specializes in assembling machines and equipment. He or she works closely with machinists and mechanical engineers to ensure that machines are build exactly to specifications. Since many modern machines rely on computers and automated parts, professionals must understand principles of electricity, physics, and computer science to perform the job. Millwrights often test equipment before it is shipped away to ensure that it works properly and safely. Any problems they notice are reported to supervisors and ultimately to engineers, who can analyze design flaws and prescribe the appropriate course of action.
Many millwright careers are found with companies that specialize in installing new equipment at construction sites or in manufacturing plants. Professionals usually visit a plant or proposed building site to decide on the appropriate place to assemble a new machine and determine what tools will be necessary to complete a job. Under the supervision of a lead millwright, a team of builders set a foundation, unload parts and equipment, and move heavy pieces into place using hoists, cranes, and hydraulic lifts. They follow blueprints to ensure that a machine is assembled and installed correctly, and generally conduct several test runs before declaring a job finished.
A skilled, experienced millwright may specialize in performing maintenance and making repairs on existing equipment. He or she may make regular rounds at a machinist factory or manufacturing plant to perform preventative maintenance on machines, such as lubricating gears and clearing away excess dirt and grease. If a machine stops functioning, the millwright will carefully inspect it, diagnose the problem, make the necessary repairs, and replace broken parts.
In order to obtain most millwright careers, individuals must hold high school diplomas and complete several years of on-the-job training as apprentices. Most apprenticeships take from four to five years to complete, and include practical training as well as some classroom studies. While in training, a new millwright typically assists experienced workers to learn about the different tools and procedures vital to the job. Classroom activities include safety training, blueprint and instruction manual interpretation, physics, and computer science. Individuals who are able to successfully complete apprenticeships can begin working independently and enjoy their new millwright careers.