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OT: Gotta new job... and a rant about the old one.

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  • OT: Gotta new job... and a rant about the old one.

    Gotta new job. I had been unemployed from Laika for over a year until about 2 months ago when I went to work as a maintenance tech at PNF, they make the Tofu, Soy Milk, and Tofu Puree. They also make almond milk sold under a couple brands. Pay was not so great, swing shift, and a awful maintenance shop. Probably the least well equipped shop ever. No lathe or mill so people had to whittle stuff out with hack saws or the little plasma cutter. The plant engineer has a strangle hold on the plant and virtually runs the place. The problem is he keeps so much close to his chest that we could hardly do anything without going through him, and then some times he wouldn't give you the info we needed to diagnose a problem.

    For example the have a capper that puts the cap on tetra pack aseptic product containers. It puts a ring of glue around the perimeter of the cap and then a dot of glue in the center for the pull tab, it then places the cap on the container. Normal practice anywhere else is they take a dozen containers every half hour and test for leaks by pulling the tabs. putting the cap on, and then laying them on their side to see if it leaks around the perimeter. This takes a guy a few minutes every half hour or so.

    In an effort to reduce this "wasted labor" He set up a Keyence machine vision system to take a picture of the glue ring and center dot and shut down the machine if something happens. Sounds good, right. Well, the darn thing shuts down for just about anything including perfectly good glue rings. The screen shows the image of the failed cap and the boundaries failed but with no real info when it does. I asked the plant engineer who set the thing up how he has it programmed to pass/fail. He wont say, worse he tells us to ignore the screen and the camera is not the problems. Yeah, right. I can see it failing perfectly good caps but passing caps that dont have even a full ring. What a joke. The camera system probably cost over $10k and every time the machine is down while we are trying to make the camera happy it is something like $1750 an hour for wages utilities down the drain.

    But I dont have to deal with that anymore. Three weeks ago I was offered a Maintenance Tech position at Davis Tool, a huge machine shop locally. $3 an hour raise, days, climate controlled shop (PNF gets over 100F in the summer inside), and 6 miles from home (PNF 15 Miles). The plant engineer at PNF told me he could beat what they were offering but in the end only matched what Davis Tool offered. I honestly believe he was offended that I didnt take him up on his offer.

    So last Monday was my first day. Pretty neat place. Does everything but caters mostly to the aerospace industry. It is big, 2 floors at 110k sq ft each. VMCs, Dual spindle HMCs, EDM, grinding, lapping, honing, 4.4kw laser cutter, cnc punches, welding, press brakes, anodizing, painting powder coating. Machinery downstairs and assembly and powder coat upstairs. Some real big machines, mostly Japanese, especially Makino. There is a massive Mazak Integrex e-series. A new machine was dropped off the other day. Cant remember what brand or model but it does have a 105HP, 30krpm spindle! I wish I could take pics but due to the sensitive nature of some of the jobs I cant. I am doing a time lapse of the installation of the new machine so hopefully I can post that.

    So this ought to be more interesting than making tofu. Still not as good pay as I was getting at laika, but I got to take what I can get. I only managed to get a handful of interviews the entire time I was out of work. I even got flown up to see the Machine shop at Valve Software but that didnt pan out. Too bad, I would have loved to go up there.

  • #2
    Congrats on the new job Jerry! hope you get some more worthwhile problems to worry about than overpuckered plant managers.
    --
    Tom C
    ... nice weather eh?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by macona View Post
      I even got flown up to see the Machine shop at Valve Software but that didnt pan out. Too bad, I would have loved to go up there.
      Valve software has a machine shop? Maybe it needs special operation with a crowbar a'la Gordon Freeman in Half Life? I'd love to hear why a software firm needs one.

      Comment


      • #4
        They are making a game system, the Steam Box. It will work with the Steam online service and run on linux.

        One of the things they are making is a new controller that may work better with games intended for PC to work with the Steam Box as well as their "Big Picture" interface. So they bought a Haas CNC, new Milicron injection mold press, south bend lathe and mill, and a few other goodies. They had been contracting out someone to run the place but were having a hard time finding someone with the Valve mentality to work there, I am not sure they ever did find anyone.

        In the end I got a free trip and lunch out of it. Ben Krasnow took me around the shop and Jeri Ellsworth gave me a tour of the place. But in the end I was not Valve Material. Boo...

        Take a look at their employee handbook: http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/10...ook_LowRes.pdf

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        • #5
          [QUOTE ] I'd love to hear why a software firm needs one. [/QUOTE]
          To balance out the academic economist?
          Last edited by Astronowanabe; 04-06-2013, 05:02 AM. Reason: to add question I was respnding to:
          --
          Tom C
          ... nice weather eh?

          Comment


          • #6
            I've always said that tofy sucks Congrats on the new job, it sure does sound interesting! Are you guys allowed to do your own stuff with the company machines or is it a big nono? At my current job I love the fact that I can do anything off the hours and sometimes even on the hours, costs nothing and the best thing is that I live across the yard from my workplace
            Amount of experience is in direct proportion to the value of broken equipment.

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            • #7
              It used to be that people could work on pet projects but now it is pretty tough for that to happen. When the owner ran the place that could happen but now that his son runs the place he has cut down on that. Not too big of a deal but it would have been nice to have parts anodized or ran on the laser.

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              • #8
                Good for you, congrats!
                "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                country, in easy stages."
                ~ James Madison

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                • #9
                  Very good for you. Last year I went 9 months between jobs before I found my current position as a manufacturing engineer that is a whole 5 minute commute. Went from 3rd shift in a noisy hot rat hole in the metal printing industry with a hour commute each way and a screamer dept head to a climate controlled facility where everyone is treated with respect. Was handed the job of integrating a robot & a sewing machine and am loving it. Just got back yesterday from a week at Mitsubishi's robot training facility and will really get going on the project Monday. I have a more than adequate budget and a free reign on the design and get to make the parts necessary for the project.

                  What's interesting is that when I was discharged from the Navy I worked for the Bramar Tool Division of Superior Hone for about a year. There was guy who had a position similar to what I'm doing (the honing stone facility was just across the street) and I wanted to do what he was doing. Well it finally came to pass and its the best job I've had since I taught machining at a vo-tech.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by macona View Post
                    ...So this ought to be more interesting than making tofu. Still not as good pay as I was getting at laika, ...
                    Congrats on the new job; really, who cares what the pay is so long as you are having fun putting food on the table - life's too short to worry about money all the time.

                    Another JohnS.

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                    • #11
                      Good to hear...sometimes the work environment is more important than just the wage, sounds like this new place is a bump up on both counts.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Astronowanabe View Post
                        I'd love to hear why a software firm needs one.
                        To balance out the academic economist?
                        Gabe is worth an estimated $1.5 billion. He can pretty much buy any passing whim, including a Greek economist to analyze in-game economics
                        Valve just had a layoff, including Jeri, so you probably dodged a bullet.

                        Jerry, as we discussed privately -- congrats! I'm glad that worked out for you!
                        Last edited by lazlo; 04-06-2013, 12:51 PM.
                        "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by macona View Post
                          Take a look at their employee handbook: http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/10...ook_LowRes.pdf
                          I only read a few pages of it,but it looks more like a Cult handbook than an employee manual.Did they have largish tubs of Koolaid in the breakroom?
                          I just need one more tool,just one!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wierdscience View Post
                            I only read a few pages of it,but it looks more like a Cult handbook than an employee manual.Did they have largish tubs of Koolaid in the breakroom?
                            No its far from a cult. Go to a Koch Brothers company for that. Valve is a self directed non-structured environment that requires highly motivated people. If you need close supervision it certainly would not be for you, but for a true professional it would allow for tremendous growth.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by wierdscience View Post
                              I only read a few pages of it,but it looks more like a Cult handbook than an employee manual.Did they have largish tubs of Koolaid in the breakroom?
                              It's a unusual model, for sure. They have wheels on their desks, and you're supposed to find the group where you would be most effective, and roll your desk to cluster with them.

                              Not my thing, but the whole Valve team is in Hawaii right now for their annual 10-day company vacation, so apparently it works
                              Last edited by lazlo; 04-06-2013, 03:49 PM.
                              "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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