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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Mechanical Assemblers and Inspectors(9526)

Assemblers in this unit group assemble a wide variety of mechanical products such as trucks, buses, snowmobiles, garden tractors, automotive engines, transmissions, outboard motors, gear boxes, hydraulic pumps and sewing machines. Inspectors in this unit group check and inspect subassemblies and finished products to ensure proper quality and product specifications. They are employed by machinery and transportation equipment manufacturers and by other manufacturing companies.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read agendas and notes posted on bulletin boards to obtain information on meetings held in the plant related to safety or teamwork. (1)
  • Read service bulletins issued by manufacturing companies, such as automotive and farm machinery firms, to learn about design faults and how to repair related problems. (2)
  • Read trade magazines to stay abreast of industry trends and new techniques. (2)
  • Read specifications to install components, such as air conditioning refrigeration units. (3)
  • Refer to technical manuals to learn about new assemblies and to find information about mechanical products such as engines and transmissions. (3)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Use checklists as prompts for sequencing assembly tasks and to record that each step was completed. (1)
  • Read parts lists to ensure that the parts necessary for each assembly are on hand. (1)
  • Read Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)labels on products, such as solvents and chemicals, to follow safety procedures. (2)
  • Read work orders to obtain information about the customers' set up preferences. (2)
  • Read tables to find data, such as torque limits, and formulae for tongue weights of trailers. (2)
  • Interpret three dimensional pictures which use exploded drawings to show how parts are assembled. (3)
  • Interpret assembly and schematic drawings to troubleshoot technical problems with subassemblies and finished products. (3)
  • Take measurements from blueprints to identify what and where to cut. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write reminder notes to themselves about parts numbers. (1)
  • May write explanatory comments about assembly instructions to learn how to assemble new mechanical products. (2)
  • Complete a variety of forms, such as time tickets, work orders, inspection sheets and defect forms, to record information about quality control and the use of material and human resources in assembling mechanical products. (2)
  • May write memos to buyers at head office to inform them of parts substitutions that were made so that they may in turn communicate this information to dealers. (2)
  • May write detailed comments of up to a page in length on work order forms to explain the need for the work performed and to justify related costs to customers. (3)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • May schedule work for assemblers, taking into consideration factors such as the availability of parts and deadlines. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Take measurements to perform such tasks as cutting wire to specific lengths or drilling holes in the correct location. (1)
  • Measure parts, compare to specifications and adjust the fit. (1)
  • Take precise measurements using specialized measurement equipment, such as micrometers and callipers, to ensure that equipment meets the prescribed tolerances. (3)
  • May use formulae to calculate hydraulic pressure when performing custom work on hydraulic pumps or to set the ballast weights on tractors. (4)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate by sight how many components will fit in a cabinet to determine how many cabinets will be required. (1)
  • Estimate the length of time required to do a job, considering the time required to complete each step of the assembly. (2)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication Mechanical Assemblers and Inspectors
  • Listen to instructions called out from the other end of the floor. (1)
  • Interact with their supervisor to receive work assignments and to troubleshoot assembly and quality problems. (2)
  • Communicate with co-workers to co-ordinate work and to exchange information about procedures and technical problems. (2)
  • May interact with suppliers to place orders or to discuss problems with supplies, such as bonding adhesives. (2)
  • Communicate with seasonal employees and helpers to assign tasks, provide on-the-job training and oversee their work. (2)
  • Interact with assemblers to check subassemblies and inspect finished products for proper quality and to discuss quality control problems. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • May run out of parts. They may complete their work by using substitute parts. (1)
  • May realize that an assembly drawing is incorrect. They determine whether they have the skill and experience to identify and correct the error, consulting with co-workers or their cell leader if other opinions are required. (2)
  • May have a part that will not fit after several adjustments were made. They consider various options to modify the part, such as redrilling or grinding it, and test the part at different stages of modification for the proper fit. (2)
  • May ascertain that a hydraulic pump is getting insufficient pressure. They check the oil and pump components, for example, to isolate the cause of the problem. Diagnosing the root cause of the problem is often more complex than implementing the solution, which may be as simple as removing dirt. (3)
  • May notice that a hoist creeps down instead of remaining stationary. They perform visual inspections and tests to isolate what may be causing the problem, such as leaks of air or oil in the system, before making the appropriate repairs. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide whether to fix an ill-fitting part or get a replacement, remaining accountable for discarded parts. (1)
  • Decide when to substitute a more expensive part when the recommended part is not immediately available to meet a deadline, with approval from their supervisor. (1)
  • May decide what supplies to buy, in what quantity and from which supplier. For example, they may decide what gauge of steel to buy based on the kind of trailer a customer wants. The wrong decision would be costly to the company and delay assembly. (2)
  • May decide on the allocation of job assignments, considering factors such as work priorities and a worker's competencies. (3)
  • May decide whether mechanical products adhere to quality control standards. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Most mechanical assemblers and inspectors have some variety in their work activities as they work with different types and models of mechanical products; however, the work may be repetitious. Work priorities and deadlines are usually set by forepersons and supervisors who allocate work at the beginning of each shift. Within this framework, they have considerable scope to plan and organize their job tasks and the choices made in this regard greatly impact efficiency. They co-ordinate their work plans with the work plans of co-workers to schedule access to shared tools and equipment. Inspectors co-ordinate their work plans with assemblers to perform such tasks as checking electrical assemblies and wiring for proper connections. The day's work plan is occasionally disrupted by mechanical and quality problems which must be resolved immediately. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember the status of jobs in progress including the stage of assembly for each product at a given moment.
  • Remember the specifications for products, such as transmissions, so that they may make the necessary adjustments efficiently without looking up information.
  • Remember parts numbers for nuts and bolts to reduce the time needed to secure parts for each job.
Finding Information
  • Read parts lists and parts catalogues to request materials from the parts depot. (1)
  • Ask questions using an electronic service bulletin board, linking dealers across North America, to seek technical advice or to learn about new products and processes. (2)
  • Refer to multiple manuals to find and synthesize information needed when troubleshooting technical problems. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use other computer applications. For example, they may use computer-controlled machinery to read diagnostic information. (1)
  • They may prepare memos. (2)
  • They may access technical information and enter production data. (2)
  • They may forward faxes to head office and post questions on electronic bulletin boards linking dealers across North America. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Most mechanical assemblers and inspectors work independently. They sometimes work with a partner to complete large or complex jobs. They may also work alone. Some mechanical assemblers and inspectors work in a team environment under the direction of a cell leader. They co-ordinate with others in the organization, such as co-workers, leadhands and supervisors, to exchange information or troubleshoot problems. Inspectors co-ordinate with assemblers to ensure product quality. Some assemblers participate in meetings, with their cell team or with people across the organization, to discuss such matters as the allocation of work, process improvement and quality issues.

Continuous Learning

Mechanical assemblers and inspectors have a need for ongoing learning to maintain a current knowledge of equipment technology, electronics and safety. On-the-job training is provided with an emphasis on experienced workers assisting less experienced co-workers. New learning is also acquired through independent reading. Some mechanical assemblers and inspectors participate in off-site training, for example, taking courses at community colleges.

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