A Maintenance Technician within a pharmaceutical or medical device company will be tasked with routine maintenance of manufacturing equipment as well as helping to troubleshoot when issues arise.
Due to the regulation of the industry, they are required to keep detailed and accurate documentation of their work.
Let’s take a closer look at the details of maintenance and the role of a maintenance technician.
What is a Maintenance Technician?
As in most industrial environments, maintenance is a key feature of pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing.
The maintenance team will be involved in routine maintenance procedures as well as helping to troubleshoot issues should they arise with equipment in the manufacturing process.
Due to the highly controlled and regulated environment of medical manufacturing, a key feature of the duties of a maintenance team is to keep up-to-date documentation.
This can be used to show that regular checks and preventative procedures were carried out in line with both company and external protocols. It also ensures a paper trail of interventions and repairs carried out on the manufacturing equipment – this is also essential to maintain adherence to regulation.
The ultimate aim of a maintenance team is to keep an efficient and safe manufacturing process operational. Failure in this can result in a reduction in output of a finished product or compromised quality standards which can lead to destruction of faulty product.
Down time of the manufacturing line should be minimised. Ultimately, these things result in loss of revenue for the company. For that reason, the role of maintenance is an extremely important one within a pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing site.
What Does a Maintenance Technician Do?
In larger companies, the role of a Maintenance Technician can be more specialised, including areas such as instrumentation, facilities, mechanical or electrical. In smaller companies or at smaller facilities, Maintenance Technicians may be required to take a more general role.
They may also be consulted in regard to continuous improvement of manufacturing equipment and processes.
Maintenance Technicians often work in shifts and can also be required to supply “on call” support to their facility, depending upon the specifics of the job role. Maintenance Technicians usually work as part of a wider maintenance team within the facility.
Specific tasks can include:
- Assisting in installation of new manufacturing equipment
- Calibration of equipment or machinery
- Routine inspection and testing of equipment and machinery – this needs to be planned to ensure minimal disruption of processes
- Preventative maintenance tasks to try to minimise unexpected issues with equipment
- Responding to alerts and operation messages – carrying out corrective procedures and repairs in line with SOPs and maintenance protocols.
- Clear documentation of both routine checks and repairs needed, in line with both internal and external protocols and procedures
- Maintains logs of any down time within the manufacturing system
- May be involved in training of production staff of routine maintenance procedures
Becoming a Maintenance Technician
Candidates will typically be required to have a high school/secondary level of education. A third level education in a relevant field, an apprenticeship or industrial maintenance experience will be advantageous.
Candidates with maintenance experience in other fields will be considered, especially when they can show awareness of the demands of this highly regulated industry.
The ideal skill set for someone moving into maintenance technician roles includes:
- Attention to detail – must be able to observe the routine operation of manufacturing equipment and quickly spot when something is not right. Must keep clear and accurate records of routine testing as well as troubleshooting and repairs.
- Excellent verbal communication skills – must be able to interpret reporting of maintenance issues and provide clear instruction or update about interventions or repairs
- Written communication skills – have to be able to read and interpret maintenance documentation, manuals and plans. Also have to keep required documentation up to date to ensure compliance with internal and external manufacturing guidelines
- Proactive – carrying out preventative checks and routine inspections, must be able to see potential issues, take corrective measures and anticipate ongoing needs. May also be required to keep a stock of spare parts, ordering and replacing as necessary
- Problem solving skills – must be able to work independently, knowing or being able to source information to resolve issues with machinery. May have to identify, isolate and repair issues based on reporting of faults from production team.
- IT skills – including database upkeep, logs and reporting, and cross-team communication
- Team working – as well as team working with maintenance colleagues, must be able to work efficiently with production team members to keep down time of the manufacturing line to a minimum
- Time management – must be able to plan and execute routine maintenance activities as well as responding to troubleshooting requests and unexpected equipment issues
Switch to a Maintenance Technician Role in the Pharmaceutical Industry
If you want to know more about making a mid-career change into this area, the first step is our 30 week conversion certificate course eBioPharmaChem.
For more information on currently available Maintenance Technician roles, head to our jobs boards and select Maintenance in the “Jobs by Category” menu. We currently have jobs boards for Ireland, the UK, Philadelphia, USA and Puerto Rico.
How Much do Maintenance Technicians Earn?
For information on typical salaries for this role, check out our Salaries Page.
Other Articles in This Series
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- Automation Engineer
- Calibration Technician
- CSV Specialist
- Documentation Specialist
- Facilities Engineer
- Laboratory Technician
- Manufacturing Engineer
- Packaging Operator
- Process Engineer
- Process Technician
- Production Supervisor
- Project Engineer
- Quality Assurance Associate
- Quality Control Associate
- Quality Engineer
- Validation Engineer
- Validation Technician
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