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#54147 07/18/05 11:42 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 200
u2slow Offline OP
I have the opportunity to leave construction/renovation type work for job manufacturing wood processing machinery for the plywood & veneer industry. (PLCs, VSDs, hydraulics, pneumatics, etc.)

My comfy rut is directly pitted against my thirst for brainier, more challenging work.

Anyone care to comment?

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,432
Likes: 3
What I'd say for a start is this:
PLCs, VSDs, hydraulics, pneumatics, etc.
How good is your knowledge of these sorts of equipment?.
PLC's in themselves take a bit of work to learn.
Before I went back to Line-Work I worked as an Industrial Electrician and I was only just getting used to Pneumatics.
It's totally different to any Electrical Theory, as is Hydraulics.
Mind you, a VSD (Variable Speed Drive) is reasonably easy to set up and program, provided you know the parameters in the first place.
Having spoken to a lot of Pneumatics Technicians here, it's a very involved Trade within itself.
Same with Hydraulics, we had a Hydraulics guy here the other day looking at our "Jaws of Life" cutting/spreading gear, he was saying that the oil inside of the supply line runs at 350 MPascals, probably more under load.
I'm not trying to scare you away from a job, but you have to know what you are getting into. [Linked Image]

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 65
u2slow, I would advise you to go for it. I can tell that you are young or they would not have offered the job. When you get older these chances will not be there. If the job is to manufacture the equipment there will already be more experienced people that know what they are doing, giving you the chance to start at the bottom and work your way up ( learn as you go type of thing). You can always go back to remodeling but your chances at this type of work wont be around forever. The higher your skill level the more job security for the future. If the company has made an investment in you they are not so quick to replace you with some one off the street.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
I'd go for it too; you already have the concepts of electrical energy, etc., and reading those across to the mechanical forms of transmission will be reasonably easy, ie pressure vs. volts, friction forces vs. ohms, flow rate vs. amperes, valve control vs. switchgear etc. As growler says, experienced folk will be only too pleased to share knowledge, and once you have it, that's more security for the future.
Don't forget you will be taking your knowledge in, so it won't be all a one-way-street.
Best of luck,

Wood work but can't!
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
I would go for it in a heartbeat. Just be careful about working around live stuff and higher voltages than you are usually around.

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 55
You've probably read it but the comments made by Tech-Home, and Elzappr to slumlordworker's topic "maintenance elect" are good advice.
The interview process will probably be tough. I would test your knowledge of controls and ladder logic. If you have a chance to learn what manufacturers they use for their drives and controllers, (if it's standardized) you might bone up on a few of their most common units if you can.

Here's my favorite interview questions.

We have shut down a line for maintence and you are going to perform a PM on a 480v conveyor motor circuit. What are the general steps you would take to do the job during the outage?

1. Collect some facts and tools for the job.
2. Communicate with other crafts.
2. Safety.. Think Lock Tag and Try
3. Inspect/repair as necessary.
4. Clean/lubricate.
5. Test. Communicate with other crafts as required.

After you answered that question I would follow up and ask you to be more specific about one part of your answer like;
When you are in the MCC at the Starter, after you addressed any safety requirments, what kinds of things would be looking for?
Think contact wear, corrosion, signs of heating, loose connections and proper fuses, overloads and/or settings.
Later when the line ia back up and running a supervisor calls you and says the conveyor you performed the PM on has shut down. When you return to the plant, what are the steps you would take to start the the maintenance proceedure?
1. Check in with supervision.
2. Collect some facts, what happend?
3. Ladder logic/control diagrams
4. Prepare and communicate a plan of action, do you need assistance?
5. Safety (Communicate with operator before installing any safety devices) Lock Tag and Try. Necessary PPE
6. Check power (current and voltage) and control ckts (continuity and permissives) as necessary to isolate the problem
7. Make repairs and verify as necessary
8. Communicate with operator before removing any safety devices
9. Stand by until operator is confident with the repairs.
10. Paperwork
11. Check out with supervision.

In a large facility you will spend years learning the various processes and equipment. Some of the equipment you may only get to work on once in 10 years. You can't possible expect to know everything about all of the equipment there. The first thing you should learn is what are your rescources, where can you find the information you need to know when something does need to be maintained. And then having some basic motor control, ladder logic skills and communication skills are essential.
Once you do get on board the first thing I would evaluate is your safety awarness.

Good luck.

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 200
u2slow Offline OP
Thanks for all the comments! I read most of them after accepting their offer today. [Linked Image]

Experience didn't seem to be a key issue. They were looking for somebody they felt could be trained rapidly and easily. I was quizzed on some terminology that was still quite fresh from 4th year school this past winter.

Hopefully my days of shaking concrete and drywall dust out of my overalls will end soon. [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by u2slow (edited 07-20-2005).]

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