Thursday, April 28, 2011

Automation & Production Technology


Nature of the work
Assemblers and fabricators play an important role in the manufacturing prices. They assemble both finished products and the pieces that go into them. The products they assemble using tools, machines, and their hands range from entire airplanes to children's toys. They fabricate and assemble household appliances, automobiles, computers, electronic devices, and more.

Changes in technology have transformed the manufacturing and assemble process. Modern manufacturing systems use robots, computers, programmable motion control devices, and carious sensing technologies. These systems change the way in which goods are made and affect the jobs of those who make them. The more advanced assemblers must be able to work with these new technologies and use them to produce goods.

The job of an assembler or fabricator ranges from very east to very complicated, requiring a rained of knowledge and skills. Skilled assemblers putting together complex machines, for example, begin by reading detailed schematics or blueprints that show how to assemble the machine. After determining how many pasts should connect, they use hand or power tools to trim, shim, cut, and make other adjustments to fit components together and align properly. Once the pasts are properly aligned, they connect them with bolts and screws or by welding or soldering pieces together.

Careful quality control is important throughout the assembly process, so assemblers look for faulty components and mistake in the assembly process. They help to fix problems before more defective products are produced. 

Manufacturing techniques are evolving away from traditional assemble line systems toward "lean" manufacturing systems, which are causing the nature of assemblers' work to change. Lean manufacturing uses teams of workers to produce entire products or components. Team assemblers may still work on an assemble line, but they rotate through different tasks, rather than specializing in a single task. The team also may decide how the work is assigned and how different tasks are performed these worker flexibility helps companies cover for absent workers, improves productivity, and increases companies' ability to respond to changes in demand by shifting labor from one prefect line to another. For example, if demand for a product drops, companies may rescue the total number of workers prefacing it, asking the remaining workers to preform more stages of the assembly process. Some aspects of lean production, such as rotating tasks and seeking worker input on improving the assembly process, are common to all assembly and fabrication occupations.

Education and Training
Most applicants for assembler positions need only a high school diploma or GED, with workers learning the skills they need through on-the-job training, sometimes including employer-sponsored classroom instruction. Some employers may require specialized training or an associate degree for the most skilled assembly jobs. For example, jobs with electrical, electronic, and aircraft and motor vehicle products manufacturers typically require more formal education through technical schools.

Job outlook
Employment of assemblers and fabricators is expected to experience little or no change between 2008 and 2018, declining by 2 percent. Within the manufacturing sector, employment of assemblers and fabricators will be determined largely by the growth or decline in the production of certain manufactured goods. IN general, despite production growth in the output of manufactures goods, overall employment is not expected to grow as the whole sector becomes more efficient and is able to produce more with fewer workers. However, some individual industries are projected to have more jobs than other The aircraft products and parts industry is a projected to gain jobs over the decades as demand for new commercial planes grows significantly. Thus, the need for aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers is expected to grow. Also, industries such as electromedical product manufacturing, which includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, pacemakers, and other devices, should grow with an aging population requiring additional medical technology.

Earnings
Assemblers and fabricators held about 2.0 million jobs in 2008. They worked in many industries, but over 75 percent worked in manufacturing. Within the manufacturing sector, assembly of transportation equipment, such as aircraft, autos trucks, and buses, accounted for 20 percent of all jobs. Assembly of computers and electronic products accounted for another 11 percent of all jobs. Other industries that employ many assemblers and fabricators are machinery manufacturing and electrical equipment, appliance, and component manufacturing.

Story & Salary information courtesy of Bureau of Labor 

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