As cited by Wikipedia:
A millwright originally was a specialized carpenter who had working knowledge of drive shafts, bearings, gearing and mechanical belts. The "mill" in millwright refers to the genesis of the trade in building flour mills, sawmills, paper mills and fulling mills powered by water or wind.A number of prominent early-modern civil engineers originally trained as millwrights, including James Brindley, John Rennie and William Fairbairn.
The modern millwrightA millwright today is someone who maintains or constructs industrial machinery for assembly lines, pumping stations and other utilities, print shops, and other industries employing fixed heavy machinery.
General dutiesMillwrights are usually responsible for the unassembled equipment when it arrives at the job site. Using hoisting and moving equipment, they position the pieces that need to be assembled. Their job requires a thorough knowledge of the load bearing capabilities of the equipment they use as well as an understanding of blueprints and technical instructions.Millwrights must be able to read blueprints and schematic drawings to determine work procedures, to construct foundations for and to assemble, dismantle and overhaul machinery and equipment, using hand and power tools and to direct workers engaged in such endeavors. The use of lathes, milling machines and grinders may be required to make customized parts or repairs. In the course of work, millwrights are required to move, assemble and install machinery and equipment such as shafting, precision bearings, gear boxes, motors, mechanical clutches, conveyors, and tram rails, using hoists, pulleys, dollies, rollers, and trucks. In addition, a millwright may also perform all duties of general laborer, pipefitter, carpenter, and electrician.. A millwright may also perform some of the duties of a welder, such as arc welding, MIG welding and oxyacetylene cutting.Millwrights are also involved in routine tasks, such as lubrication of machinery, bearing replacement, seal replacement, cleaning of parts during an overhaul and preventative maintenance.Millwrights also must have a good understanding of fluid mechanics (hydraulics and pneumatics), and all of the components involved in these processes, such as valves, cylinders, pumps and compressors.Modern standards of practice for millwrights also require working within precise limits or standards of accuracy, at heights without fear; the use of logical step-by-step procedures in work; planning, solving problems and decision-making based on quantifiable information.Millwrights are trained to work with a wide array of precision tools, such as vernier calipers, micrometers, dial indicators, levels, gauge blocks, and optical and laser alignment tooling.Areas of specialtyA typical job description for an industrial maintenance mechanic (millwright) often includes the primary purposes of installing, maintaining, upgrading and fabricating machinery and equipment according to layout plans, blueprints, and other drawings in industrial establishment.Millwrights by nature of their profession have to be extremely well versed in many aspects of construction/demobilization. They may install a conveyor system at an airport one week and the following week work at an industrial wastewater treatment plant.Millwrights in the power generation industry assemble, set, align and balance turbine/rotors. Millwrights also perform critical lifts involving major components to be flown level at up to and within .005” (5 thousandths of an inch). Millwrights are generally chosen to work on tasks associated with flying and setting heavy machinery.Millwrights are also in demand as teachers for vocational programs, both at the high school level and in post-secondary institutions. Many high schools feature fabrication courses that include metal work, where the experience of a qualified millwright is valuable. Often, these millwrights are paid a premium based on their years of field experience.A high percentage of millwrights join unions. Those with a high level of skill often start their own businesses as independent contractors.
TrainingMost millwrights are educated through apprenticeship programs where they receive a combination of classroom education along with a good deal of on-the-job training. Most programs last about four years. Apprentices are usually paid a percentage of the average millwright's wage, and this percentage increases with experience.
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