In this video adapted from ATETV, Travis Blackwell talks about his job as a field service engineer with ESAB Equipment. Travis is responsible for installing automated welding and cutting machinery at customer workplaces and training workers on their use. He credits his technical college education with having taught him problem solving and analytical skills, and with giving him the hands-on training that has made him successful in his career. He also explains how an internship completed during his two-year degree program in electromechanical engineering technology helped prepare him for his current job.
Electromechanical engineering technicians (EETs) apply their knowledge of mechanical engineering technology and electrical and electronic circuits to solve practical problems in manufacturing. In broad terms, EETs work with equipment that uses electric power to control mechanical systems and devices. EETs understand the basic laws of electricity and electronics as well as mechanics.
Many EETs work in factories in which electrical, mechanical, and pneumatic equipment is used to manufacture a product. It is the responsibility of the EETs to maintain, adjust, and repair the equipment that controls the manufacturing process. This means routine maintenance and repair work must be performed correctly and quickly so that the equipment can be returned to service in a timely manner. EETs may also be directly involved in the production of new electromechanical equipment. In this role they help the mechanical and electrical engineers who design and develop new equipment by performing tests, recording results, and preparing written reports.
Travis Blackwell, who is featured in this video, works as a field service engineer for ESAB Equipment, a company that makes welding and cutting equipment. Field service engineers are qualified EETs who install and repair electronic equipment in the field—that is, at customer worksites. They study blueprints, manuals, and other design specifications to determine proper installation procedures, and consult with the customer to plan the layout of the equipment. They install or oversee installation of the equipment and test it to ensure it is working correctly. Field service engineers may also train customers on the equipment’s operation and routine maintenance.
EETs may also work in other roles and in other industries. For example, they might work as sales representatives, selling equipment to customers; as maintenance or repair representatives; or even as technical writers, producing manuals that explain how to install and operate equipment. Most employers prefer to hire EETs who have a two-year associate’s degree or other training in engineering technology. Through a mix of classroom instruction and labs, two-year degree programs are designed to provide instruction in electrical systems and electronics as a complement to mechanical concepts training. Coursework covers circuitry, instrumentation, computers, machine elements, manufacturing processes, and basic programming.
Prospective EETs should take as many mathematics and science courses in high school as possible, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and physics. Degree programs in electromechanical engineering technology also emphasize the importance of good communication skills. Therefore, writing and public speaking classes will likely be part of the program requirements. After completing a two-year program, some graduates get jobs as EETs, while others choose to continue their education at four-year colleges and become engineers.
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