Career and Job Search Guide

Assembler and Fabricator

Fabricators and assemblers are vital for industries that manufacture products. They assist with the manufacturing of goods and the parts these goods are composed of. Fabricators and assemblers manufacture and assemble all types of products from jets to watches.

Technological advances have altered how products are built and assembled. Robots and computers are programmed to perform these operations. These technologies have revolutionized industry and have altered the roles of factory workers since many of them must have special knowledge about manufacturing technology.

Depending on their job duties, assemblers or fabricators have basic or complicated responsibilities. Experienced or skilled assemblers specializing in multifaceted machines examine blueprints and then assemble machines by connecting parts with bolts, welding, and other methods.

Assemblers must perform thorough quality control during manufacturing, so they can correct problems before products are available for consumers.

Traditional assembly lines are being replaced by new manufacturing techniques known as lean assembly lines. Teams of professionals, known as team assemblers, work together on lean manufacturing lines. These professionals do not necessarily specialize, but rather team members switch between tasks. Having employees perform multiple tasks enables a company to remain productive when employees miss work or there is a decrease in revenue and the company has to cut their staff. Asking for worker feedback about production processes and utilizing workers that can perform multiple jobs is common for all manufacturing processes. More than 50 percent of fabricators and assemblers work in teams while the others usually specialize in the production of one product or particular manufacturing process. One example is electrical and electronic equipment assembly specialists. These professionals specialize in the manufacturing of electronics, and since computerized assembly systems have replaced the need for certain assembly workers, more electronic assembly workers now manually install parts in health care equipment, military equipment, and airplanes.

Electromechanical assembly specialists work in factories where machines such as dynamometers and appliances are manufactured. Finishers, tapers, and coil winders coil electrical wire used in generators and other electrical machines. Engine assembly specialists work in factories where engines and engine and engine parts are assembled. Aircraft assemble specialists work in factories where airplane, missile, and space rocket parts are manufactured and assembled. Structural metal fabricators shape and assemble metal materials before these products any riveted or welded. Fiberglass fabrication or lamination specialists work in factories where fiberglass is manufactured. Timing equipment assembly professionals specialize in the manufacturing of clocks, watches, and other timing equipment that require exact specifications during assembly.

More assembly professionals are now involved with product design. Engineers collaborate with factory workers to develop better products, and products that can be assembled with greater ease, so a factory worker may call an engineer and inform him or her that a new product is difficult to assemble, resulting in diminished efficiency.

Experienced manufacturing specialists sometimes collaborate with engineers designing and testing new products, so these manufacturing specialists must understand engineering concepts and how to use computer technology used in the design phase of production and equipment used for measuring.

Work environment. Depending on the industry, working conditions inside factories is improving. Machines have made many factory tasks easier for workers. However, working in a factory can still be physically demanding.

Modern factories are usually clean, properly ventilated, and safe. Factories where electronics are assembled must be dirt and dust free. Modern ventilation systems protect employees from dangerous fumes. Factory workers must be careful when working with harmful chemicals, slippery grease, and working in noisy areas.

The majority of fabricators and assemblers work normal 40 hour weeks even though shift work and working more than 40 hours is not uncommon. Workers at factories with multiple shifts have schedules that often change.