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Studies & Degrees in Heavy Equipment Maintenance

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Heavy equipments are those that are used in building construction and highways, in mining, and in large agricultural farms. These include bulldozers, railcars, trucks, tractors, electric shovels, cranes, etc. These industries are into “heavy” works that cannot be done manually by employees within reasonable amount of time. It is this fact that brought heavy equipment in the picture. These equipments do the work; although, just like any other machines, these are controlled, operated, and maintained by human. Since these industries rely heavily on heavy equipment, it is of great importance that every piece works at full capacity. Otherwise, this would warrant ceased or slowed operations; hence, cost to company. Companies also want to secure its investment by ensuring equipment they bought can be used the longest possible time (especially because heavy equipment are expensive). More than these reasons, the use of faulty heavy equipment could put life of people using or around it at risk. No one would want to be cut in half by electronic shovel that went out of control in the middle of its job!

There are commercial companies that offer heavy equipment maintenance solutions. These are usually the companies that also produce heavy equipment, and maintenance is part of their after-sales support. These companies offer complete design, installation, commissioning, and repair of heavy equipment. Industries like mining and civil construction (buildings, highways, bridges, etc.) may also opt to employ full-time heavy equipment maintenance mechanics since equipment maintenance is a crucial part of their day-to-day operations.

Heavy Equipment Maintenance is the field that covers the study of design, fuel, electrical, automotive, transmission, and mechanical systems of heavy equipment; welding; pneumatics; safe and environment-friendly checking procedures; repairing of parts of equipment; proper way of parking or storing heavy equipment onsite and offsite; and hydraulics. Graduates of this field can work as heavy equipment mechanic, consultant, or trainer.

Heavy equipment maintenance mechanics are responsible for doing the regular maintenance check on heavy equipment; providing operations’ staff technical instructions on how to operate the equipment; conducting fault diagnostics on repair and maintenance activities; acting on results of fault diagnostics and analysis of maintenance activities; and implementing safety protocols in using and storing heavy equipment. To acquire expertise, mechanics usually specialize in one area or type of heavy equipment: (1) it can be mobile heavy equipment, such as excavators, bulldozers, and graders. This one gives the largest employment rate among the specializations under this field. Mechanics with this specialization are typically employed by commercial companies that produce, distribute, or lease heavy equipment. They may also get employment from the federal government as mechanics of tanks and armoured equipment; (2) it can also be a specialization in farm equipment, such as lawn tractors; and (3) another specialization is the railcar equipment, including subway cars and rolling stock.

Employers would, of course, go for applicants with mechanical aptitude. Likewise, since the use of hand-held diagnostic devices is becoming the trend, applicants should feel comfortable with using computer and electronic devices. Focus on details, especially in design and operations of equipment per the operations manual, is very critical. Students can enrol in training programs after graduating from High School, but certification is issued only after successfully passing the written and hands-on exams administered by legit certifying bodies in the industry.