The trade of Millwright is concerned with the construction and maintenance of machinery.
Derived from the trade of carpentry, a millwright originally was a specialized carpenter who was trained as a carpenter and as well had working knowledge of gear ratios, driveshaft speeds, and other equations. The "mill" in millwright refers to the genesis of the trade in building flour mills and other watermills and windmills. Biographies of some millwrights who were located in Norwich, England can be found here. Several important early civil engineers were originally trained as millwrights, including James Brindley and John Rennie.
A millwright today is someone who maintains or constructs industrial machinery such as that which would be related to assembly lines, also pumps, valves, printing presses, etc. Millwrights 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.
Most 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.
A high percentage of millwrights join unions to help protect their interests. Those with a high level of skill often start their own businesses as independent contractors.
A 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.
Typical duties include:
Read blueprints and schematic drawings to determine work procedures. Dismantle machinery or equipment, using hammers, wrenches, crowbars, and other hand tools.
Moves machinery and equipment, using hoists, dollies, rollers, and trucks.
Assembles and installs equipment, such as shafting, conveyors, and tram rails, using hand tools and power tools.
Constructs foundation for machines, using hand tools and building materials, such as wood cement, and steel.
Aligns machines and equipment, using hoists, jacks, hand tools, squares, rules, micrometers, lasers, and plumb bobs.
Assembles machinery and bolts, welds, rivets, or otherwise fastens them to foundation or other structures, using hand tools and power tools.
May operate engine lathe or milling machine to grind, file, and turn machine parts to dimensional specifications.
Required repair and lubricate machinery and equipment.
Selects cables, ropes, chains, pulleys, winches, blocks, and sheaves, according to weight and size of load to be moved.
Attaches load with grappling devices, such as loops, wires, ropes, and chains, to crane hook.
Sets up, braces, and rigs hoisting equipments, using hand tools and power wrenches.
May direct workers engaged in hoisting of machinery and equipment.
In addition may perform all duties of General Laborer, Skilled Laborer and Carpenter and possibly electrician.
Modern millwrights should be able to:
Work within precise limits or standards of accuracy.
Follow instructions and read blueprints.
Look at flat drawings or pictures and visualize how they would look as solid objects.
Work at heights without fear.
Use logical step-by-step procedures in work.
Plan work and solve problems.
Make decisions based on measurable information.
Perform a variety of duties which may change often; and operate machinery.
Millwrights must be physically able to:
Coordinate eye-hand movements;
Use hands and fingers fully; reach for, manipulate, and feel objects; stoop, kneel, crouch, and/or crawl;
Climb and maintain body balance on ladders, scaffolding, or high structures; and see and hear well (either naturally or with correction);
Lift and carry objects weighing up to 100 pounds.
Stoop, lay, bend or squat for long periods of time.