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Industrial electricians install, maintain, troubleshoot and repair industrial electrical equipment and associated electrical and electronic controls. In the forest products industry they play a variety of roles but are typically found working in mills and other industrial settings like pellet plants and planer facilities.
Industrial electricians troubleshoot and diagnose electrical and failures in manufacturing processes. To be good at troubleshooting means you need a broad understanding of electrical systems so you can isolate and repair faults and failures. A day in the life of an industrial electrician might involve repairing a critical electrical fault fast enough to prevent an entire mill operation from shutting down.
Electrical technology and equipment also changes rapidly, so you need to stay on top of what’s happening in your industry.
Increasing use of robotics and other computerized control equipment is creating more work for industrial electricians, because they are the ones who install and maintain the equipment. Technological change usually results in a greater demand for industrial electricians.
To become an industrial electrician means first becoming an apprentice. It usually takes four or five years to progress to fully qualified journeyman/woman level. Apprenticeships emphasize hands-on work under the supervision of a journeyman/woman, along with classroom training and testing.
Training and licensing of electricians is regulated by each province, but many provinces recognize qualifications received in others. The interprovincial Red Seal program allows qualified electricians to practice their trade in other provinces without having to write extra exams.
Apprentices can receive up to $4,000 in grants to pay tuition, travel, tools, or other expenses.
If you are considering an apprenticeship, visit Red Seal for information on how to get started.
Steamfitter / Pipefitter
Steamfitters and pipefitters plan and lay out piping systems. These systems carrying water, steam, chemicals and fuel for heating, cooling and lubricating. As a steam fitter or pipe fitter you will also be responsible for maintaining, troubleshooting and repairing piping systems. These piping systems operate under extremely high pressure and temperature. This means you need to have a thorough knowledge of scientific principles to do this job.
Steamfitters and pipefitters typically work in maintenance departments of mills and other kinds of factories and plants.
A day in the life of a steam fitter or pipe fitter might include moving a 40-tonne boiler and installing it in a small confined space. To do this you would need to choose the right tools for the move and come up with a plan to coordinate a team to do the install.