Facilities Management Jobs of the Stationary Engineers

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Stationary engineers have been in-charge of various facilities jobs in certain industries. They operate and maintain stationary equipment that is essential to generate power and to heat, ventilate, dehumidify, and air-condition industrial plants and other buildings. They supervise the staff required to operate industrial plant machinery and they monitor equipment functions. When the industrial revolution began to have an impact on industry and commerce, many new occupations were created. Mass production demanded large industrial establishment in which there was adequate heat, power, and ventilation. The sum was true of the commercial enterprises housed in large office buildings.

Stationary Engineer Positions and Responsibilities

There was a need for individuals to assume responsibility for taking on facility jobs by operating and maintaining heating units, power units, ventilation system, and other necessities. Hence, these individuals were called stationary engineers. Although all stationary engineer facility careers are primarily concerned with the safe and economical operation of their equipment, their duties are determined to some extent by the size of the plant in which they work and the kind of equipment for which they are responsible. In large plants, stationary engineers might have a supervisory function that is often very demanding. They will be responsible for the operation of the boiler room and all the personnel employed therein. In smaller plants, they may have only one helper, in which event more of their time would be spent in the actual oiling and cleaning of equipment, the greasing of moving parts of equipment, and the cleaning of boiler tubes and walls. The most important duty of the stationary engineer is constantly to observe meters, gauges, and other instruments to determine the operating condition of the equipment. Other duties include keeping records of the amount of fuel used, the temperature and pressure of boilers and repairs made, operating and controlling levers, throttles, repairing equipment if necessary, and constant inspection. All the equipment must be operated on in conformity with state and local safety regulations and laws. Occasionally, a stationary engineer may make mechanical changes so that equipment will operate more efficiently or conform to the requirements of a different process.

Qualifications for Stationary Engineers

In dealing with facilities manager jobs that are attached to the works of the stationary engineers, mechanical aptitude and ability, annual dexterity, and good eye-hand coordination are highly required for the interested aspirant to take the profession. Although some individuals become stationary engineers after gaining on-the-job training lesser but related activities, most employers prefer that individual go through apprenticeship programs. These apprenticeship programs are jointly developed by both representatives and management and customarily last about four years. Applicants for these apprenticeship programs should be at least eighteen years old and should be graduates of a high school or trade school. Their background should include course work in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, shop, mathematics, mechanical drawing, machine-shop practice, physics, and chemistry.

Furthermore, in the apprenticeship program in preparation for facilities employment, students learn to operate, maintain, and repair stationary equipment such as blowers, generators, compressors, boilers, motors, and air conditioning and refrigeration machinery. They also learn the use of hand and machine tools including electric grinders, lathes, and drill presses and how to move machinery by hoists, blocks, or other equipment. They may also use precision equipment such as calipers and micrometers.

The on-the-job training aspects of these apprenticeship programs are supplemented by classroom instruction and home study in such technical subjects as practical physics and chemistry, blueprint reading, applied electricity, and theories of refrigeration, ventilation, and air conditioning.

There are known kinds of licenses available to these workers, depending on the steam pressure or horsepower of the equipment. A first-class license permits a person to work with any kind of equipment. The second - and third- class licenses place restrictions on the kind of equipment an individual can operate. Individuals with second-and third-class licenses can operate equipment beyond their license restrictions if they work under the supervision of a stationary engineer with a first-class license.

The requirements for these licenses for facilities job vary from place to place, but they have in common factors, like the applicant must meet the established experience requirements for the license for which he is applying, with passed examinations on both oral and written. Meanwhile, local government offices can provide detailed information on their specific requirements. Moreover, a student interested in this kind of work should attempt to get a part-time or summer job in a boiler room as a custodian or in another unskilled capacity. Such a job will enable the interested person to observe stationary engineers at work and will provide much information on the working conditions and duties of stationary engineers. Other workers who perform work similar to stationary engineers include boiler tenders, stationary firers, locomotive engineers, and transmission and distribution occupations.

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