Our society depends on electric motors, and with the recent advances in automation, we’re going to be seeing a whole lot more of them in the future. Much has been made of how society is going to change during the automation revolution, mainly focusing on the potential loss of jobs, but it’s important not to be too pessimistic: while undoubtedly some jobs will be lost, skilled work will still be available in the design, testing, deployment and maintenance of automated systems, from robots to self-driving cars. Here we highlight a few possible career choices for an those interested in a career in electric motors.
The first possible career choice is for those who want to be involved in the manufacture of electric motors. Electric motors fundamentally consist of coils of wire, and electric motor winders are responsible for, as the name suggests, winding these coils so that the motor works effectively. Motors can be installed in a variety of pieces of equipment in commercial, industrial, and institutional establishments. It’s crucial that they are manufactured to the correct standards so that they operate consistently in all the situations in which they are required.
Winders can also be responsible for electrical testing, recording connection and winding data on QA forms, ordering materials, and inserting and connecting coils. The position usually requires some experience, and at least a high school level qualification – although many companies accept military experience as well. Most companies also require applicants to be able to do some heavy lifting. Usually, they will also require prior experience – up to five years in some cases, though this very much depends on the work environment and the level at which you will be working. Apprenticeships in winding can be a good way to kick start your career in this field.
Of course, no matter how well a motor is manufactured, it can always go wrong, and there will be people needed to help repair it. Electric motor repair means having a good understanding of how a motor works, as well as being able to go out and service customers in whatever environment in which they need the work done. Sometimes these electromechanical technicians are called winder electricians, which is kind of a catch-all term for those who work with electric motors. Such technicians test, rewind, recondition, rebuild, replace and generally service electric motors, generators, alternators, transformers, control equipment, mobile machines and other related components.
When repairing a motor, it’s important to be able to strip out the wire, take data from the wiring to determine how best to solve the problem, figure out the best kind of insulation material and insulate the stator, create the coils for the motor, make the proper connections, and document all the information as necessary. Some of this job is also customer-facing, so it’s important to be able to interact with people and not just being good with machines! Again, usually this type of job requires a high school level education, or equivalent.
Different from motor manufacture but like motor repair, motor installation is also a customer-facing job. However, in this case, you will be working with the client or customer to determine what is best for their situation, which means that you will require more than just the knowledge of how to build or repair a motor, but how the systems you install will work together to serve the customer’s needs. Because of this, it might be advantageous to consider online technology courses that can help you get an overview of not only how electromechanical systems work, but also how to leverage your leadership skills to be supervisors and service managers.
Electromechanical technicians often have very good working conditions and can expect a salary in a range of $40,000 to as much as $120,000 for highly skilled technicians. Many such technicians often go on to start their own companies and realise even higher salaries, but it often takes years to build up the knowledge, experience, and industry contacts required to operate a successful electro-mechanical design/service/installation company. There is also the possibility for experienced technicians to become troubleshooters who help other technicians diagnose and solve difficult problems, or help to design equipment and develop maintenance procedures.