Boilermakers are responsible for building, installing, repairing, and maintaining boilers and large tanks or vats, and this work typically involves a variety of skilled labor techniques, including welding and metalworking. These boilers are typically parts of liquid pressure systems which may be situated in industrial facilities such as power plants, manufacturing facilities, and even large institutions like hospitals and schools. Boilermaker work typically involves field work at job sites, and may require these employees to work in confined spaces or even high aerial settings.
Boilers, as their name implies, are the large tanks in a liquid pressure system where heating of the liquid to certain levels, including a gaseous state, takes place. Boilermakers ensure that the tanks are fabricated out of the proper materials with any necessary linings and carefully build these tanks with reinforced welds, which must withstand high pressure at all times. Boilermakers then install the boiler tanks to the pipes, again reinforcing these areas with carefully applied fasteners and welding procedures. They may then run a variety of pressure tests to ensure the safe operation of the tank within the system, as well as calibrate gauges and carefully inspect for leaks.
Working as a boilermaker can be an involved process, and most in this career begin with vocational or technical training following high school. Because boilermakers are considered skilled laborers, those starting in this field are typically required to serve as apprentices for set periods of time to work with and assist journeymen in the profession. Boilermakers may work in a dedicated liquid systems contracting business or be employed directly by industrial facilities, and should expect travel involving weeks away from home to be necessary for the job. Boilermakers typically work irregular hours which may include nights and/or weekends.
Align structure or plates that are to be assembled on boiler frames, tanks, or structures.
Use appropriate large-scale equipment such as manlifts/cranes (and accompanying hand signals), fork lifts, and company trucks safely.
Interpret work orders, job orders, specifications, blueprints, ISO’s or other drawings and recognize basic blueprint terms and symbols accurately.
Hammer, flame-cut, file or grind irregular edges of structural parts.
Assemble, install, and repair boilers, closed vats, and other large vessels or containers that hold liquids and gases.