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#2712 - 07/21/01 07:49 AM Maintenance Electricians  
Mick  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 2
United Kingdom
Are there any maintenance electricians out the working in the paper making industry. I would be interested in how pay and conditions in the US compare with the UK.

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#2713 - 07/21/01 02:37 PM Re: Maintenance Electricians  
habbbby  Offline
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 17
Loysvile, PA
Iam not in the paper industry, but Ive worked in the dairy, textiles and in pet foods. All major companies in the US. As far as pay, it would average around 19$per hour on the high side, 21$ depending on your knowledge of PLC's, electrical, etc. The money is on the electrical side. Major companies are looking for multi crafted people, the closer you are to an engineer and still carry a meter the better. What specifically is your questions, maybe I can help?

#2714 - 07/21/01 06:21 PM Re: Maintenance Electricians  
Resistor  Offline
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 29
Huntersville, NC USA
I would say Habbbby gave you the correct info. I used to work for a steel mill, tell you the truth don't remember what I was paid then, something around $20.00/hr.

It really depends on what state you live in. Experience and a wide variety of capabilities (like mentioned before) are what really matters. PLC's, hydraulic, pneumatics, plain old mechanical, and electrical is the plus.

habbbby, I also did a little textile work here in North Carolina.

#2715 - 07/22/01 10:02 PM Re: Maintenance Electricians  
Matt M  Offline
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 93
Laporte, MN, USA

I am a maintenance electrician at an OSB (orientated strand board) plant in northern Minnesota. I hold both a class "A" journeymans and a class "A" master electrician's license. My base pay is somewhere around $19.50/hr (after probation), but they add on things like shift differential (rotating shift), additional pay for skills for welding, refrigeration certification, PLC, NRC certification (nuclear), and a few others. My hourly wage right now is at around $21.30/hr. We also get profit sharing at my mill. The past couple years have been down a little on that end (around $8k to 10k annually). It has been as high as $15k a few years back.


#2716 - 07/30/01 11:59 PM Re: Maintenance Electricians  
RUEZ2BE  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 4
Hi Mick
I work for the printing industry in L.A.
Rates just recently went up with new management mentality. A qualified technician who is strong in PLC's, Drives, troubleshooting, and carry's a degree or is certified can be be hired at the rate of $26.00 hour if your able to impress. The average hourly rate that I have seen has been 22.00 hour. The highest I seen is 34.00

Hope that helped some.


#2717 - 07/31/01 12:38 AM Re: Maintenance Electricians  
gpowellpec  Offline
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 127
Irving, Tx USA
Why would an OSB plant pay extra for nuclear certs? Do you use beta gauges?

#2718 - 08/02/01 09:19 AM Re: Maintenance Electricians  
Matt M  Offline
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 93
Laporte, MN, USA

I personally am not certified, but others in my shop are, so this explaination may be a rough one. We use the nuclear devices to measure the levels of bins, burners etc. In a dusty, hot environment, the nuclear detectors are about the best, most accurate way of measuring material height.

The pile of material blocks the source from the geiger tubes whos signals are read by Kay-Ray guages. The Kay-Rays are calibrated to give a varying output (I believe 4 to 20ma or zero to 10 vdc). This signal is then sent to a PLC analog card where the program uses it with other process variables.

I believe these sources are ceasium (sp?), but don't hold me to that. We are gradually phasing these out and replacing them with other types of detection (ultrasonic etc.), but there are still several nuclear sources being used, simply because they work the best.


[This message has been edited by Matt M (edited 08-02-2001).]

#2719 - 08/02/01 10:07 AM Re: Maintenance Electricians  
Resistor  Offline
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 29
Huntersville, NC USA
Blow my mind Matt, it dosen't take much!

I asked my father about the radiation signs on the temp detectors (in a steel pooring process), so the socalled experts came out and told us: if you use a Coleman lantern you get more rads than their detectors put out. (I still wonder about that)

#2720 - 08/02/01 11:15 AM Re: Maintenance Electricians  
Matt M  Offline
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 93
Laporte, MN, USA

I'm totally a non-expert with this nuclear stuff, but I do know that we use different sizes of sources, and it may be possible that we still use a couple different types of radioactive material. I've heard the nuc boys mention ceasium as being one of them, but there may be another. Some of these sources are no more of a hazard than a common smoke detector, but because this is an industrial application, the NRC keeps a tight ship!

However, I do know that the sources that we use on our two "Lamb" burners (they supply the heat to two large rotory dryers approx. 20' diameter and 150' long.), are strong enough to be hazardous, and there is strict lock-out procedures in place when working in the area.

These "Lamb" burners are shaped like a silo, each one is about 50' tall, and about 18' in diameter. They burn the bark that is peeled from the aspen and birch logs (we call it hog fuel). These sources have to be strong enough to see through both sides of the plate steel outer skin of the burner, plus about 2' of refractory material, and still have enough left to detect a varying hog fuel pile.

Last summer, we shipped off a bunch of our old unused sources to a facility that recycles and/or stores the material. Enroute to this facility, the tractor trailor that was hauling them jack-knifed and flipped over on a freeway somewhere in Wisconsin. It shut the freeway down for over 4 hours! We had to send one of our radiation safety officers there to re-package the sources and handle the mountains of paperwork involved.

These sources were contained and locked in heavily built steel enclosures, and were not damaged. They weren't really strong enough sources even if they had opened to pose a real hazard to anyone nearby anyway, but the crates were damaged, and the officials at the scene of the accident had no way of knowing this. All they saw was the radioactive signs attached to the damaged crates.

The OSB market has become extremely competitive in the past few years, several new plants in north america are now in operation, and it is everything we can do to stay at the top of the heap with this vintage 1982 mill. We figure that our plant is now operating somewhere around 200% of its original design capacity.

About 6 years ago, we built a new flat-line dryer that utilizes a totally new technology. It is more of a continuous process that can use lower temperatures to dry the wafers (lower temperatures mean lower emissions). This new style of dryer and burner system does not use any nuclear measurement, and is very environmentally friendly.


[This message has been edited by Matt M (edited 08-02-2001).]

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