Maintenance technicians play an indispensable role at any plastic injection molding facility, using their understanding of maintenance and repair practices to minimize equipment downtime and keep production running smoothly.
In this article, we explain the fundamentals of working as a maintenance technician in this industry, the required training, and how to build a career in this role.
Or, if you already know you are interested in working as a maintenance technician, we are hiring.
What is a maintenance technician?
A maintenance technician is responsible for repairing and maintaining manufacturing equipment to ensure that it operates efficiently, reliably, and safely.
In the plastic injection molding industry, this means overseeing the injection molding machines used to produce a variety of different plastic parts. The maintenance technician must understand how to safely troubleshoot, upgrade, install, and repair all mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, control, and pneumatic systems on injection molding machines (in addition to auxiliary machines such as grinders, conveyor systems, and packaging equipment). Maintenance technicians also help manage all of the systems needed for day-to-day operations, including maintenance and repairs of the plumbing, mechanical, and electrical equipment used in production.
By preventing unplanned downtime, optimizing equipment performance, and ensuring that production can be executed without a hitch, maintenance technicians play a critical role in ensuring the success of the business.
Plastic Injection Molding Maintenance Technician Job Description
The list below highlights the core responsibilities of a maintenance technician working in the injection molding industry. As this list of requirements demonstrates, an effective maintenance tech must not only consistently execute pre-planned work but also demonstrate the ability to proactively drill down to the root causes of equipment failures.
✔️ Regular equipment inspections are important for proactively identifying potential issues before they result in equipment failure. If an issue is detected, more in-depth diagnostic work may be required.
✔️ Maintenance technicians need to execute maintenance and repair work as efficiently as possible, following relevant documentation and processes to ensure quality work for both on-the-spot troubleshooting and planned maintenance
✔️ Technicians must generate strategies for identifying, diagnosing, and mitigating recurring equipment problems.
✔️ Maintenance technicians are responsible for planning and executing a preventative maintenance plan based on the latest strategies for maximizing machinery uptime while extending its productive lifespan.
✔️ It is critical to keep up with documentation to ensure that the company maintains meticulous records of maintenance work, trends, and outcomes.
For a detailed example of a maintenance technician job description, see Molding Dynamics’ hiring page here.
Building a Career as a Maintenance Technician
A career as a maintenance technician can be a great option for reliable employment, competitive compensation, and an essential role in an industry that isn’t going anywhere.
Longer-term, a maintenance technician’s skills will be valued in a huge variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, metals, consumer goods manufacturing, electronics, and many more. Just about any kind of manufacturing requires keeping complex machinery in peak working condition.
Interested in other types of injection molding jobs? Check out our guide to the different variety of positions available in the plastic injection molding industry.
Maintenance Technician Qualifications and Training Requirements
Working as a maintenance technician is a mission-critical role that requires familiarity with plastic injection molding equipment and knowledge of best practices for maintenance. Due to these requirements, prior experience (about 2-5 years) is typically needed to qualify for a position as a maintenance technician, ideally with industry-specific experience in plastic injection molding. Most importantly, candidates need to have hands-on experience working with complex manufacturing equipment; a background in general facilities maintenance is not sufficient to start as a manufacturing maintenance technician.
If you aren’t sure if your experience qualifies, we recommend reaching out to injection molding companies that are hiring to discuss training and experience requirements. Some operations may have the staff needed to support on-the-job training, but maintenance technician roles are generally better suited for more experienced professionals who are ready to hit the ground running.
Over time, hard-working maintenance technicians with a broad skill set in maintaining injection molding systems can earn a promotion to related roles as a maintenance engineer or maintenance manager.
Essential Traits of Successful Maintenance Technicians
- Technical Knowledge: a maintenance technician needs mechanical aptitude and a fundamental understanding of plastic injection molding machinery, including programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and hydraulic, pneumatic, and electronic subsystems.
- Problem Solving Skills: in addition to carefully following best practices for planned maintenance, maintenance technicians need proactive problem-solving skills to quickly diagnose and repair unplanned issues.
- Attention to Detail: meticulous work and thorough documentation are critical to ensure safety, support efficient operations, and maximize uptime.
- Communication Skills: maintenance technicians need to regularly communicate with operations workers, technical supervisors, and quality professionals to ensure smooth operations.
Salary Range for Plastic Injection Molding Maintenance Technicians
It’s important to note that experienced, reliable maintenance technicians are a highly valued resource, and will have the opportunity to progress in their field and earn higher compensation over time.
Based on data from Mint.com, Indeed.com, and Molding Dynamics’ own experience hiring for this role, typical salaries for maintenance technicians can range incredibly widely, from $22 per hour up to $100,000 or more annually. As you may guess based on this broad salary range, experience and skill set will determine compensation potential. The more skills and expertise a maintenance tech can contribute to a plastic injection molding operation, the more responsibilities they can take on, and the more they can earn.
Innovations and Technological Trends in Maintenance
The field of maintenance is advancing all the time, and working as a technician is an opportunity to work in a space where there will always be new technologies and approaches to learn.
For example, preventative maintenance is increasingly relying on data-driven approaches for optimizing and prioritizing maintenance work. Additionally, maintenance technicians will have a key role to play in integrating current and future automation solutions.
How Can You Start Pursuing a Maintenance Technician Career?
For all the reasons covered above, a maintenance technician role can be a great way to build a rewarding career in the plastic injection molding industry. If you want to be a vital team member and learn about keeping a modern production line in peak operating condition, this could be the role for you.
Ready to apply for a role as a maintenance technician? Molding Dynamics is hiring and offers on-the-job training: learn more and apply here.
If you are just starting to learn about the plastic injection molding industry, our article on three reasons to work in plastic injection molding is a great place to start educating yourself on potential careers. Even if you don’t have the required experience now, other entry-level positions may be a great way to start learning your way around an injection molding facility, networking with industry colleagues, and building a foundation for a rewarding long-term career.