Manufacturing technicians are responsible for maintaining, monitoring, and documenting assembly processes and factory equipment. They also carry out product quality assessments to ensure it meets industry standards and protocols. These responsibilities are usually carried out using a combination of technical and mechanical abilities. They operate in numerous industries such as automobiles, consumer electronics, computer or smartphone production, aerospace, light or heavy engineering, medical device manufacturing, and pharmaceutical manufacture.
The manufacturing technician is responsible for providing technical support for manufacturing operations, such as troubleshooting equipment, identifying process issues and providing adequate solutions. They also have the task of validating and qualifying the manufacturing site by creating and maintaining necessary validation documentation for equipment, process, and product release.
Working as a manufacturing technician
Manufacturing technicians rarely sit behind desks as they are virtually constantly on their feet on the production floor. They collaborate with production, operations, engineering support, quality, facilities, and safety departments to ensure that engineering activities and projects are completed on time.
The manufacturing technician will also establish and organise corrective and preventive maintenance activities for production and operations equipment on the production floor. To do such tasks productively and efficiently, the manufacturing technician must stand vigilant, being actively aware of the various processes and activities on the ground. This is done by taking frequent checks and walk-ins from one workstation to another during the workday.
The manufacturing floors are quite noisy from the melodies produced by large machinery. For this reason, many organisations require and provide manufacturing technicians with hearing protection equipment. Personal protection equipment (masks, clothing, boots, and gloves) are typically necessary depending on the sector, such as in the pharmaceutical or medical device production industries since they work in a cleanroom environment. This equipment is provided to ensure personal protection and to prevent product contamination.
What does the manufacturing technician do?
As mentioned earlier, the manufacturing technician has numerous responsibilities. Usually, these would differ, depending on the stage of the manufacturing process and the company they work for. However, the role has generic tasks and duties, and these include the following:
- Strict adherence to health and safety policies and protocols
- Periodic evaluation of the production schedule
- Routine equipment operation, including inspection, cleaning, and maintenance in line with operational instructions
- Documentation of routine production processes
- Data reporting to senior colleagues
- Strict adherence to internal SOPs and external regulations
- Rapid and accurate diagnosis of routine problems in their manufacturing phase
- Confidence and ability to troubleshoot problems Knowing when to enlist the help of senior personnel when dealing with more complicated issues
Production Technicians also perform the following tasks at various stages of the manufacturing process:
- Sterilising equipment
- Measuring and weighing materials
- Machine start-up and shut-down
- Reporting when maintenance or repairs are required
How to become a manufacturing technician
The level of education and training required will vary depending on the product’s complexity and manufacturing process, how automated the manufacturing process is, and how stringent the quality control standards are. In some cases, the company’s manufacturing goals and production volume also influence the skills required.
Some companies, particularly those in high-tech manufacturing, such as aerospace or medical device manufacture, require a third-level technical degree or specific vocational training. On the other hand, many mid-to low-tech manufacturers and a few high-tech companies give on-the-job training to perform the tasks relevant to each job type as needed.