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The main job of any mechanical assembler is to assemble, or put together, products for a manufacturer. As part of the production process, this person assembles things by hand but sometimes with the help of a machine, and is frequently required to read detailed technical instructions or engineering blueprints to successfully complete the job. The process can include using a variety of tools or machinery to solder, weld, glue, or mold parts together. Job specifics can and often do vary depending on the type of product at issue as well as the expertise needed to get everything together and finished. Most of these sorts of workers spend the majority of their time on production or at assembly lines, and they typically work in shifts that can take place day or night.
Assembly is a big part of most any manufacturing process. Some of it is highly technical, as is often the case with electronics and mechanical components large and small. Many more simplified products require at least a bit of pre-sale assembly, however. Some of the most basic assembly can be done by machines or robots, but a lot of it needs to be done by hand. In places where mechanical assembly is very expensive, hiring people to put things together might actually be cost effective and more efficient, as well.
A mechanical assembler can work in a variety of production environments. Work can involve assembling one part or piece of a product but may also involve assembling something entirely, from start to finish. Workers on an assembly line don’t usually have much time to spend on each piece, and it’s common for different individuals to be responsible for different tasks. One person might punch holes, for instance; the next might lace cording through those holes, and still another might attach that cording to a separate piece.
These sorts of workers might assemble small parts or products such as circuit boards or electronic parts. This version of the occupation is often referred to as an electronic mechanical assembler. Some workers also have jobs with organizations that produce large products, such as an automotive or aircraft manufacturer. In these situations, the job may require using heavy machinery or equipment to complete the assembly. Assembly of larger products may require an assembler to follow detailed procedures to ensure safety in the work environment while making proper use of safety gear as well.
Companies that manufacture computers or medical equipment typically have assemblers who work in what’s known as a “clean-room environment”. Clean-room manufacturing is often done in a dust or germ free environment. This is particularly important for pharmaceutical manufacturers as well as those who work with medical equipment and tools; some food manufacturers also adopt these sorts of practices. No matter what they’re making, assemblers in these settings are typically required to follow certain procedures that include washing their hands and wearing specific clothing and masks each time they enter the “clean” room or space.
These jobs typically require a high school diploma or its equivalent, and advanced or university-level education isn’t usually something that’s necessary and may not even be desirable. This sort of work is generally considered menial and entry-level, which means that there aren’t traditionally any required skills. Workers usually need to have good eyesight, though, particularly if they’re working with small parts. A physical exam may also be required if the job involves lifting or moving heavy objects. Dexterity can be important for these professionals because their work requires the ability to put together pieces or parts quickly and accurately.
Employers typically provide on-the-job training during the first few weeks of employment. Although most employers do not require advanced training, they may test job candidates for dexterity and technical abilities. Assembly usually is checked by a quality control department to ensure the assembled products meet the standards of the organization.
Generally, employment opportunities for these sorts of jobs are offered during day or evening work-shifts that may or may not correspond with a "standard" 9-5 job. In large part this is because many manufacturing companies run production operations 24 hours a day. Since production may increase or decrease depending on the demand for products being manufactured, many employers offer contract-based mechanical assembler jobs. Contract assembly jobs are temporary and can last for several weeks or months. These types of jobs can offer higher wages, but often require previous experience.
@KaBoom - There is another benefit for contractors who assemble various types of things: different wages. I did a bit of checking, and it looks like the wages for an assembler vary by industry. The average wage for a motor vehicle assembler is $24.91 per hour, but the average wage for electrical equipment manufacturing is only $13.25.
I'm sure the rates for contractors vary by industry as well. So it could be beneficial to a worker to keep their options open. They may get the opportunity for much higher assembly work if they decide not to work as an employee!
I had no idea you could work as a mechanical assembler on a contract basis. I suppose this makes sense, from a company standpoint. As the article said, companies don't always have a set amount of work. So why should they always have a set amount of employees?
I can see how this would kind of be a tossup, from a worker standpoint that is. The wages are higher, however, contract jobs usually don't come with benefits like health insurance. Also, they lack job stability. You never know when you're going to get your next contract!
Still, I can see how this would appeal to some people. You could assemble different things all the time and probably wouldn't get bored!
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