The work of boilermaker is to install, make and repair boilers, large vessels that hold gases and liquids. Boilers heat water under high pressure. They heat water to generate electric power. This power is supplied to factories, buildings, and ships. Oil, beer, chemicals, and many other products are stored and processed in the vats and tanks made by the boilermakers of the nation.
Nature of Work
A boilermaker installs and maintains boilers and other vessels. They repair blast furnaces, air pollution equipments, water treatment plants, smoke stacks, and process and storage tanks. Boilermaker's work is to install refractory brick and other heat-resistant materials in pressure vessels and fireboxes. Some boilermakers install and maintain the big pipes used in dams to supply water with the help of hydroelectric power generation turbines.
Boilermakers have to inspect feed pumps, fittings, water and pressure gauges, boiler controls, safety and check valves, and auxiliary machinery. Boilermakers supervise and clean vats and other large vessels using wire brushes, scrapers, and cleaning solvents. They replace or repair faulty parts using gas torches, power tools, and welding equipments. They may use of metalworking machinery to make or repair parts. Boilermakers patch weak spots with metal stock, take apart leaky boilers, replace defective parts, and strengthen joins.
A boilermaker has to deal with high pressure vessels and boilers, which hold gases and liquids. These are made in sections by means of casting each piece out of iron, steel, stainless steel, and copper. Some manufacturers employ this process to enhance the quality of these vessels. A boilermaker welds boiler sections together using automated orbital welding machines or robotic welding systems. Some large boilers are pre-assembled in many pieces whereas; small boilers are fabricated in the manufacturing plant.
A boilermaker has to study drawings of design and make full size templates or patterns to repair or make a fabricated metal product. A boilermaker uses squares, straightedges, tape measures, and transits. After many pieces and shapes are being marked out on metal, boilermakers use flame cutting torches and power tools to make the cuts. Subsequently, the parts of metal are bent into shape and properly lined up and then welded together.
Boilermakers have to use heavy cranes to lift the plate sections if they are very large. Boilermakers have to align sections employing levels, plumb bobs, turnbuckles, and wedges. They use files, hammers, cutting torches, and grinders to remove unnecessary edges to make metal piece fit together accurately. Consequently, they join them by welding, bolting, or riveting. The other work of boilermakers is to align and attach stacks and liners, water tubes, water and pressure gauges, safety and check valves, and other parts.
Work Environment Boilermakers have to use potentially dangerous equipments such as power grinders, acetylene torches, heavy tools and parts, top of large vessels, and work on ladders. Boilers, dams, pressure vessels, and storage tanks are typically of substantial size. A major part of boilermaker work is executed at the great heights, sometimes, hundreds of feet above the ground.
The work needs physical strength. It is executed inside vats, boilers, and tanks that are damp, dark, and poorly ventilated. The construction work is executed outside and the weather condition comprises of extreme cold and heat. Boilermakers have to wear hardhats, protective clothing, harnesses, ear, plugs, respirators, shoes, and safety glasses. The responsibilities of boilermakers include:
Many boilermakers acquire the knowledge of this area through a formal apprenticeship. Some boilermakers learn this trade through technical school training and training provided by employers. Some employers offer training to boilermakers in structural fabrication and boiler-making.
The employers offer four year apprenticeship program. This is on-the-job training program. This program also includes classroom instructions of minimum 144 hours. The program includes subjects like plate and pressure welding, assembly rigging, layout, and blueprint reading.
Candidates who have registered for apprenticeship are given certification as qualified journey workers. Apprentices should be high school graduates, GED or equivalent. Candidates who completed welding certification or welding training are preferred for apprenticeship programs. The job of boilermakers, therefore, is a challenging one and requires a lot of efforts.