Modern industrial settings and manufacturing plants require a great number of automated tools, machine processes, and even robotics to function. These systems are controlled and monitored via console controls and instrumentation, and an instrument mechanic is someone who specializes in the repair and maintenance of these intricate and often complex systems. These mechanics ensure that all instruments and panels are properly calibrated for accurate readings and that user inputs respond as expected from console controls.
Most instrument mechanics are employees of manufacturing plants or factories and typically respond to users' complaints about problems and faults in instrumentation inputs; for instance, material-cutting tools may miss outside the parameters and require readjustment by a mechanic. They also monitor efficiency data and product fault report data to proactively catch instrumentation faults and take action even before an operator may notice.
Preventive maintenance is another key duty of an instrument mechanic. Most mechanics follow a regular system and set of procedures for inspecting and testing gauges and readouts. This maintenance will typically occur after a set period of time, or may be triggered by a certain number of uses. These mechanics also adjust the instrumentation and consoles as needed, and re-test and bring their calibration within normal parameters for devices.
The job requirements for instrument mechanics can vary by employer. In many cases, candidates should have a technical school degree related to console controls and instrumentation repair. For employers in other settings, however, a mechanical engineering degree may be required. Instrument mechanics typically work in a factory or warehouse environment; because some plants are open 16 or even 24 hours per day on shift work, mechanics may also be assigned to daytime, evening, or overnight shifts.