Construction Millwrights and Industrial Mechanics (Except Textile) - What They Do

Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics install, maintain, troubleshoot, overhaul and repair stationary industrial machinery and mechanical equipment. This unit group includes industrial textile machinery mechanics and repairers. Construction millwrights are employed by millwrighting contractors. Industrial mechanics are employed in manufacturing plants, utilities and other industrial establishments.

Job duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Read blueprints, diagrams and schematic drawings to determine work procedures
  • Install, align, dismantle and move stationary industrial machinery and mechanical equipment, such as pumps, fans, tanks, conveyors, furnaces and generators according to layout plans using hand and power tools
  • Operate hoisting and lifting devices such as cranes, jacks and tractors to position machinery and parts during the installation, set-up and repair of machinery
  • Inspect and examine machinery and equipment to detect and investigate irregularities and malfunctions
  • Install, troubleshoot and maintain power transmission, vacuum, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, and programmable logic controls
  • Adjust machinery and repair or replace defective parts
  • Operate machine tools such as lathes and grinders to fabricate parts required during overhaul, maintenance or set-up of machinery
  • Clean, lubricate and perform other routine maintenance work on machinery
  • Construct foundations for machinery or direct other workers to construct foundations
  • Assemble machinery and equipment prior to installation using hand and power tools and welding equipment.

Job titles

  • card grinder
  • maintenance millwright
  • industrial mechanic apprentice
  • construction millwright
  • industrial mechanic
  • millwright apprentice
  • plant equipment mechanic
  • millwright
  • treatment plant maintenance mechanic
  • card fixer
  • knitting machine mechanic
  • loom fixer
  • loom technician
  • mechanic, textile machines
  • open-end technician
  • spinning fixer
  • fixer, textile machinery
  • textile fixer
  • industrial sewing machine mechanic
Employment Requirements

This is what you typically need for the job:

  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Completion of a three- to four-year apprenticeship program or A combination of over five years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college or industry courses in industrial machinery repair or millwrighting is usually required to be eligible for trade certification.
  • Textile machinery mechanics hired from other industries may require additional training in textile processes and experience as a textile manufacturing machinery operator.
  • Industrial mechanic (millwright) trade certification is compulsory in Quebec and available, but voluntary, in all other provinces and the territories.
  • Construction millwright trade certification is available, but voluntary, in Ontario.
  • Industrial sewing machine mechanic trade certification is available, but voluntary, in Quebec.
  • Red Seal endorsement is also available to qualified industrial mechanics or millwrights upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.

Essential Skills


  • Read short handwritten notes and text entries on forms, e.g. read short descriptions on maintenance forms of work completed and troubles encountered. (1)
  • Read instructions and warnings written on signs, labels and packaging, e.g. read labels affixed to cleaning fluids to learn first aid procedures. (1)
  • Read memos and notices, e.g. read memos to learn about scheduled power shutdowns, proposed meetings and upcoming health and safety workshops. (2)
  • Read trade journals, brochures and website articles to learn about new products and stay up-to-date on new technology. (3)
  • Read technical bulletins, e.g. read technical bulletins issued by manufacturers to learn how to troubleshoot equipment faults. (3)
  • Read a variety of operating, troubleshooting and repair manuals, e.g. read operating manuals to obtain assembly, repair and operating instructions for pumps, transmissions and other types of equipment. (3)
  • Read regulations and standards, e.g. read regulations and standards issued by the Technical Safety Standards Association and the Canadian Welding Bureau to learn about the regulations and code requirements that impact their work. (4)

Document use

  • Scan labels on product packaging, equipment, drawings and panels to locate specifications, voltages and identification numbers. (1)
  • Observe warning signs and symbols, e.g. locate icons on fire extinguisher labels to identify their appropriateness for various types of fires. (1)
  • Locate data in lists, tables and schedules, e.g. use schedules to locate types and dates of upcoming maintenance programs. (2)
  • May interpret graphs, e.g. interpret line graphs of volume outputs to determine how well equipment, such as pumps and compressors, are operating. (2)
  • Enter data into a variety of forms, e.g. enter data, such as part numbers, specifications, times, quantities and dates, into requisitions and purchase orders. (2)
  • Locate data, such as specifications, classifications and material coefficients, in complex tables, e.g. interpret specification tables to determine the requirements for complex equipment installations. (3)
  • Interpret complex schematic drawings, e.g. view schematic drawings of complex mechanical, structural, pneumatic and hydraulic systems to understand how they operate and to troubleshoot faults. (4)
  • Study complex scale drawings, e.g. study engineered drawings to determine the assembly steps for industrial equipment, and the size and location of various components and parts, such as bearings, bushings, belts and chains. (4)


  • Write brief text entries in entry forms and log books, e.g. describe malfunctions, challenges encountered and work completed in work orders and maintenance sheets. (1)
  • May write email messages to supervisors, co-workers and suppliers, e.g. write email messages to request information about equipment specifications. (2)
  • Write text entries in forms and log books, e.g. describe potential worksite risks in hazard assessment forms and note changes to equipment settings in log books. (2)
  • Write incident reports, e.g. write incident reports to describe equipment malfunctions and the work performed to repair them. (2)
  • May write detailed maintenance and repair procedures to help co-workers plan and execute maintenance tasks and repairs. (3)


  • Take measurements of dimension and temperature using common measuring tools, such as rulers, tapes and thermometers. (1)
  • Compare measurements, such as temperature, pressure and rotations per minute, to acceptable ranges. (1)
  • Estimate weights and distances, e.g. estimate the weight of gearboxes and motors to select appropriate lifting devices and procedures to move them. (1)
  • May calculate expense claims for tools and supplies and for travel to remote work sites, workshops and courses. They calculate charges for using personal vehicles by multiplying distance travelled by per kilometre rates. They add amounts for meals, hotel rooms, supplies and other applicable expenses. (2)
  • May schedule tasks for construction, repair and maintenance projects. They draw up timelines and schedule activities for equipment maintenance and installation projects and make allowances for disruptions and delays. (2)
  • Calculate distances, totals, maximums and minimums and quantities required, e.g. calculate the maximum end play allowed in a bearing by adding a tolerance to a specified distance. (2)
  • Calculate summary measures, e.g. calculate the average amount of power required for industrial equipment. (2)
  • Estimate time required to complete installation and repair tasks. They consider the type of operation, the complexity of the equipment involved and past experience with similar tasks. (2)
  • Use specialized tools, such as micrometers, angle finders, feeler gauges and dial indicators to take precise measurements to thousandths of an inch. (3)
  • Collect and analyze data to evaluate system functions and troubleshoot faults, e.g. analyze the pressures of intake and outtake pipes to determine if there are blockages in the pipes, potential leaks in pump seals or wear on impellers. (3)
  • Calculate loads, capacities and dimensions for mechanical components and systems, e.g. calculate the size and number of steel plates needed to support the weight of industrial equipment. (4)

Oral communication

  • Talk to suppliers and contractors, e.g. speak with suppliers about equipment specifications, delivery times and prices. (1)
  • Exchange information with co-workers, e.g. question plant operators about the operation of equipment before and during malfunctions. (2)
  • May discuss ongoing work with clients, advise them about maintenance and propose equipment modifications. (2)
  • Discuss safety, productivity, major repairs and procedures during meetings with co-workers, supervisors, engineers and clients. (3)
  • Provide detailed instructions, e.g. explain the proper set-up and use of equipment, such as plasma cutting tools. (3)
  • Exchange technical information, e.g. exchange technical information with helpdesk technicians to troubleshoot and repair unusual equipment malfunctions. (3)


  • Decide task sequences and priorities, e.g. decide which installations to complete first. (1)
  • Encounter unsafe work conditions. They inform co-workers and safety personnel about their observations and concerns. They perform other work until the unsafe condition is rectified. (2)
  • Are unable to complete installations because specifications and instructions are unavailable. They locate the required specifications by talking to suppliers, engineers and supervisors. They may visit manufacturers' websites to locate missing information. (2)
  • Choose among refurbish, repair and replacement options for worn and defective parts, such as hoses, motors, valves, belts, pins, bolts and bushings. They take into consideration maintenance guidelines, performance and test results, age and appearance of parts, as well as availability, cost and ease of replacement. (2)
  • Refuse to perform tasks they judge to be unfeasible and unsafe. (2)
  • Evaluate the safety of their work environments. They consider criteria, such as the availability of proper equipment and tools, potential hazards and safety codes. (2)
  • Evaluate the condition of parts and equipment. They visually inspect parts for signs of wear and damage. They compare test results and measurements to specifications. They verify measurements and gauge readings for operating parameters, such as motor speed, flow rate and temperature, to ensure the equipment is operating correctly. (2)
  • Assess feasibility of designs for small modifications to equipment and machinery. They ensure designs meet technical specifications, performance requirements and regulations. (2)
  • Receive their work assignments from their supervisors and plan their own job tasks within that framework. On longer assignments, they follow planned work schedules to coordinate their tasks with co-workers and contractors. When emergencies require them to interrupt scheduled work, they keep their supervisors informed of their progress to enable effective rescheduling. (2)
  • Find information about equipment by reviewing manufacturers' websites, catalogues and pricelists and by talking to suppliers, co-workers and other tradespeople. (2)
  • Locate information on installation projects by reviewing scale drawings, reading work orders and speaking with co-workers, customers and other tradespeople. (2)
  • Find that parts needed for maintenance and repairs are unavailable. They fabricate replacement parts and modify parts from other machines. They may work with engineers, co-workers and subcontractors to fabricate replacement parts. They may need to obtain approvals from supervisors, clients and manufacturing representatives for non-standard parts. (3)
  • Select materials and methods to maintain, repair and improve industrial equipment and systems. When choosing repair and maintenance methods, they consider factors, such as the durability, cost, ease of access, safety and efficiency. (3)
  • Evaluate the performance of major industrial systems and plant equipment, such as hoists, conveyors, pumps, ventilators and hydraulic systems. They take into consideration operators' observations, system specifications, equipment readings and test results. (3)
  • Find technical information needed to troubleshoot equipment faults by running tests, studying diagnostic flowcharts and schematic drawings, reading equipment manuals and by speaking with co-workers, suppliers and help desk technicians. (3)

Digital technology

  • May use distributed control systems interfaced with programmable logic controllers to monitor operating levels, such as temperatures, pressures, flow rates and volumes in machinery and systems. (1)
  • Use calculators and personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to complete numeracy-related tasks, such as calculating material requirements. (1)
  • May use hand-held devices, such as vibration data collectors and analyzers, to collect displacement, acceleration and velocity data. (1)
  • May use hand-held devices, such as ultrasonic flaw detectors and thermal imagers, to locate and troubleshoot equipment faults. (1)
  • May use word processing programs to write, edit and format text for incident reports and maintenance procedures. (2)
  • May use databases to retrieve maintenance schedules and enter information about work completed. (2)
  • May use computer-assisted design (CAD), manufacturing and machining programs, such as AutoCAD to modify scale drawings. (2)
  • May use communication software to exchange email messages and attachments with supervisors, clients and suppliers. (2)
  • May use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered by training institutions, unions, suppliers, associations and employers. (2)
  • Use Internet browsers and search engines to access technical service bulletins, codes, specifications and troubleshooting guides. (2)
  • May access online articles posted by suppliers, manufacturers and associations to stay current on industry trends and practices. (2)
  • May use the Internet to access and share information on industry-related web forums and blogs. (2)

Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Industrial mechanics and construction millwrights perform many of their tasks independently. They also form teams with co-workers, clients and contractors when necessary to install and overhaul larger pieces of equipment and complete industrial systems. They may supervise and train apprentices and junior mechanics.

Continuous Learning

As new equipment and tools and changing regulations are a regular feature of their work environments, industrial mechanics and construction millwrights must learn continuously. They read manuals and bulletins to stay abreast of developments in their field. They also learn informally by exchanging information with co-workers and suppliers. They attend training workshops on new equipment and safety procedures, as required by their employers. They may also take courses on their own initiative to learn and improve related technical skills, such as welding and pump repair.