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What are the Different Sheet Metal Worker Jobs?

Article Details
  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Sheet metal workers perform a number of tasks regarding the production, installation, and repair of metal sheets and structures. Some workers specialize in the initial fabrication of sheets, forming grooves, drilling holes, and cutting raw material to size. Others perform more detailed work, bending, molding, and welding metal sheets for use in air ducts, gutters, roofs, and other products. The construction and maintenance of sheet metal requires workers who can accurately read blueprints, put sheets in place, and secure them safely. Most sheet metal worker jobs can be found in manufacturing plants, fabrication shops, and construction companies.

Individuals who work in manufacturing plants operate robotic equipment and perform manual tasks to form sheets from raw materials. Most of the work in modern plants is done on an assembly line, where a worker controls a specific part of the fabrication process. One professional might set up equipment to corrugate sheets to specific measurements, while another may be responsible for trimming away excess material. A manufacturing plant may cut and drill standard-sized sheets for distribution and later modifications, or specialize in forming unique pieces for use in boat, aircraft, or building construction.

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Highly skilled fabricators can hold sheet metal worker jobs in metalworking shops. Workers typically perform more manual duties than those in manufacturing plants, cutting, forming, bending, and welding final pieces together. A professional usually follows diagrams to form pieces such as rain gutters, stove pipes, metal doors, and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. Sheet metal worker jobs in metalworking shops usually require extensive training and years of practice to master the detailed aspects of fabrication.

The majority of sheet metal worker jobs are held by construction and maintenance experts. Workers at construction sites for metal buildings read blueprints, take careful measurements, and trim sheets to size. They secure base sheets to iron framework on a foundation and attach additional sheets in a precise fashion form walls and roofs. Trim, gutters, and doors can be added to finish projects. Many expert sheet metal construction workers specialize in the installation and maintenance of HVAC systems, air ducts, and other structures inside homes and buildings.

Most people learn the sheet metal worker trade through apprenticeships, which can take up to five years to complete. Many state organizations, unions, and employers offer individuals the opportunity to receive classroom instruction as well as paid, on-the-job training with experienced workers. Apprentices learn about safety regulations, building codes, and the tools and techniques pertinent to the trade. Workers who can prove their competence for the job are often assigned small independent tasks, such as fabricating ducts or gutters. Upon the successful completion of an apprenticeship, an individual is awarded journey worker certification and becomes eligible for many different sheet metal worker jobs.

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