Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Heavy Equipment Mechanics
Heavy equipment mechanics repair and maintain equipment such as graders, backhoes, and loading shovels.If you've ever hiked a trail that was once an old logging road, you know that these are often located "off the beaten path." If you think the hike was difficult, imagine what it must have been like to drive a logging truck on that road. Trucks used to drive to distant forests miles away from cities and towns. Then they chugged up steep elevations, winding or zig-zagging up the sides of mountains. Constant wear on the engine, clutch, and brakes meant that trucks often broke down. Decades ago, it used to take a day or more to fix trucks. However, nowadays, heavy equipment mechanics have many more tools at their disposal when trucks and other equipment break down.Heavy equipment mechanics repair machines used in heavy equipment construction, logging, and other industrial work. They maintain equipment so that it operates properly and safely. When equipment breaks down, they examine it for defects. Mechanics often use hand-held computers to diagnose components that need repair. They may take the equipment apart to inspect or repair various parts. Sometimes they use jacks or hoists to lift or move large parts.Heavy equipment mechanics check parts for damage using gauges and meters. They may clean parts by spraying them with or soaking them in solvent. They grease and oil parts that need it. Mechanics repair or replace damaged or worn parts. They use hand tools to remove the parts and machine tools to repair some parts. If necessary, mechanics use welding equipment to weld broken frames or parts. When repairs are complete, they reassemble the equipment and test it for performance and safety.Heavy equipment mechanics who work in large repair shops perform more complex repairs. They may rebuild engines, fix electrical problems, or repair hydraulic pumps. A hydraulic pump is one that is operated by fluid under pressure. Mehanics in large shops often specialize in one or two types of work. For example, a shop may have specialists in major engine repair, transmission work, electrical systems, and brake systems.