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[ot] My name is Brian and I make engineers cry...

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  • #16
    Just remembered another one.

    I was working second shift in the tool room and had come in one day to hear the foreman trying to explain some concept to another new hire.

    Before I got there, he had been going on for awhile & I just said to the new guy, "Picture it like this", and he got it immediately.

    Too many years have passed to remember just what the picture I painted was but the boss got on my case 'cuz, "That's not right!"

    I said, " Yes Bob, I understand that it isn't technically correct, but he has the concept now".

    "That's not right, you shouldn't have said it like that!"

    So, now I was the bad guy for helping the boss out when he couldn't explain a simple concept any other way than how he had been trained.

    You'd think that removing a thorn from the boss's paw would have made him happy!
    Last edited by jhe.1973; 09-13-2015, 04:26 PM.
    Best wishes to ya’ll.

    Sincerely,

    Jim

    "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" - Thomas Edison

    "I've always wanted to get a job as a procrastinator but I keep putting off going out to find one so I guess I'll never realize my life's dream. Frustrating!" - Me

    Location: Bustling N.E. Arizona

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by cuemaker View Post
      As someone who works with engineers and production types, my question as a manager is: You knew lots were failing. You knew how to correct the problem (kudos!). You knew they were trying new solutions and the reason why, yet you waited and didnt tell anybody. Why?

      You could have saved them lots of time, effort and money by stepping forward instead of waiting to be asked or till the end, as a means to prove a point.

      Maybe there is a reason why, but I cant see it based on your post. I would have been pissed at you also.

      I didn't have the whole picture until very late in the game. If I had realized sooner what was going on I might have been able to do something. Then again this is a very very old school union shop, the seniority thing is sacred. It means more than dick size, IQ, hotness of your favored female companion or even the brand of motorcycle you prefer.

      In the end though I got what I wanted out of this job it's time to take what I learned here and apply it to the next job. I'm not the sort that sticks around -- I am a job-hopper. If I don't like something I will walk.

      My situation is maybe unique -- I have the engineering degree specific to plastics, I've been through the "trade program" for plastics and I have the practical experience to make things stick. I also have the personality of a swarm of hornets in a sandstorm that is also on fire... when I take my medications. Otherwise I'm just an asshole.

      This combination of factors ensures I'll always have work in my field which is a good thing -- because I'm not shy about eating people over stupidity. Between this, the heater incident and some other things going on here this was long overdue.

      I can only hope that maybe POSSIBLY they learned something from all of this, but I've met other former employees of Consolidated Conglomerates online (here and other forums) and this goes waaaaaaaay back.

      Ah well. New job, new bosses to tweak and new engineers to berate. Should be fun.
      This is the ending.... still your need is driven on (driven on) as we trigger one more bomb...

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Left Handed Spud Wrench View Post

        .................. I also have the personality of a swarm of hornets in a sandstorm that is also on fire... when I take my medications. Otherwise I'm just an asshole.

        Ah well. New job, new bosses to tweak and new engineers to berate. Should be fun.
        See why I say I like your writing & posts?
        Best wishes to ya’ll.

        Sincerely,

        Jim

        "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" - Thomas Edison

        "I've always wanted to get a job as a procrastinator but I keep putting off going out to find one so I guess I'll never realize my life's dream. Frustrating!" - Me

        Location: Bustling N.E. Arizona

        Comment


        • #19
          The guys and girls in the engineering department get really pissed off when they are struggling with some new design and a spotty kid from maintenance brings in a working prototype from his home workshop and plonks it on the boss's desk!
          Not where I work, here everyone would get excited and pleased. And boy do I appreciate it after working in some other situations!
          "A machinist's (WHAP!) best friend (WHAP! WHAP!) is his hammer. (WHAP!)" - Fred Tanner, foreman, Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering machine shop, circa 1979

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Left Handed Spud Wrench View Post
            I didn't have the whole picture until very late in the game. If I had realized sooner what was going on I might have been able to do something. Then again this is a very very old school union shop, the seniority thing is sacred. It means more than dick size, IQ, hotness of your favored female companion or even the brand of motorcycle you prefer.

            In the end though I got what I wanted out of this job it's time to take what I learned here and apply it to the next job. I'm not the sort that sticks around -- I am a job-hopper. If I don't like something I will walk.

            My situation is maybe unique -- I have the engineering degree specific to plastics, I've been through the "trade program" for plastics and I have the practical experience to make things stick. I also have the personality of a swarm of hornets in a sandstorm that is also on fire... when I take my medications. Otherwise I'm just an asshole.

            This combination of factors ensures I'll always have work in my field which is a good thing -- because I'm not shy about eating people over stupidity. Between this, the heater incident and some other things going on here this was long overdue.

            I can only hope that maybe POSSIBLY they learned something from all of this, but I've met other former employees of Consolidated Conglomerates online (here and other forums) and this goes waaaaaaaay back.

            Ah well. New job, new bosses to tweak and new engineers to berate. Should be fun.
            Actually, I think I work at the same place.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt View Post
              Hey Jerry, you forgot the fifth mistake !
              They should hire a MANUFACTURING ENGINEER !

              A good manufacturing engineer prevents those issues because he understands the errors that can occur in any manufacturing operation.
              He also is a go between that prevents engineering failures from getting to the floor and feeds back operation issues that Engineering needs to address or improve upon.
              I agree with you that most engineers have no clue to the issues that arise in machining,welding,forming,fabrication and assembly.
              Too many engineers focus on the "design" end of that skill.

              Rich
              Manufacturing Engineer
              Spent the last 10 years of my career as a Mfg. Engr. I actually enjoyed this 'cause I was able to 'teach' the design
              engineers, who were for the most part in that company inexperienced, real world stuff. Sure, there were a couple
              who thought their degree made them super but most of them were eager learners. Then there was the guy with
              a Masters in ME from Stanford.....

              The schools don't teach practical engineering, they teach engineering theory. Used to be that to become an
              engineer one came out of school and spent a few years under the wing of an experienced engineer. No more.

              I never found that screaming, shouting or belittling helped anything for anyone. Cool, calm and to the point works
              best IMO.

              Every dime you put into proper engineering design gets a dollar back in manufacturing. Or more.

              Pete
              Last edited by 10KPete; 09-13-2015, 05:26 PM.
              1973 SB 10K .
              BenchMaster mill.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt View Post
                Hey Jerry, you forgot the fifth mistake !
                They should hire a MANUFACTURING ENGINEER !

                A good manufacturing engineer prevents those issues because he understands the errors that can occur in any manufacturing operation.
                He also is a go between that prevents engineering failures from getting to the floor and feeds back operation issues that Engineering needs to address or improve upon.
                I agree with you that most engineers have no clue to the issues that arise in machining,welding,forming,fabrication and assembly.
                Too many engineers focus on the "design" end of that skill.

                Rich
                Manufacturing Engineer
                Agreed,he/she should also have veto power,because sometimes stupid ideas take on a life of their own.
                I just need one more tool,just one!

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt View Post
                  Hey Jerry, you forgot the fifth mistake !
                  They should hire a MANUFACTURING ENGINEER !
                  Way I see it, that is who committed at least error number one, and is responsible for the first three mistakes, even if the person didn't directly commit them.
                  2730

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan


                  It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by wierdscience View Post
                    Agreed,he/she should also have veto power,because sometimes stupid ideas take on a life of their own.
                    Absolutely , and that has occurred many times in my career. I find that when you tell the bean counters what the losses are, they tend to listen.
                    Truth is,, most companies have no idea what a Manufacturing Engineer can do for them.
                    A great misconception that exists is that they are "Time Study" men and that is such a small percentage of manufacturing needs, it gets distorted.
                    When work was man paced , they used stop watches ( not me), but most all manufacturing is machine paced today.
                    The employment of manufacturing engineers took off I believe when "Zero Defects" and other similar corporate focus points came about
                    We all have heard about Engineering throwing the prints over the wall to manufacturing. Well, when a good manufacturing engineer is there, the prints bounce off the wall and back into the laps of the designers.
                    Been in many discussions , some pretty heated, and if you are not appreciated, walking is good. Been there, done that !

                    Rich
                    Green Bay, WI

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      A few weeks back I announced my retirement date - October 30. Before that I hinted around that it would be sometime this year, but finally I settled on the date. When I announced, I suggested that they hire a replacement Mfg. Eng. and get him or her up to speed before I ended. Didn't happen, but they were able to hire a couple of willing and able maintenance technicians.

                      Since I announced, my work load has dropped off. No involvement in new programs or products, and I have instituted a policy where instead of the operators calling me first with problems on machines or processes that I am the most knowledgable on, they are instructed to call the technicians first, and if they get stuck, then they call me.

                      There is one aspect of one program (programmable Hall sensors) that I fear that nobody here can understand, and have committed to support the company if needed. Nevertheless, I keep trying to explain the system...

                      On average, it hasn't been too bad working there for the past 16 years. I remember sitting at my desk or wandering the plant with little to nothing to do back in'08 when they laid nearly half the workforce off. They didn't want to let me go.

                      Anyway, 46 days to go....
                      Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                      ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        I can attest to the sometime disconect between the engineering staff and the people who have to impliment things. When we have units come in for repair we are supposed to do any changes required to bring the unit up to current specifications ( some customer try to cheap out and want nothing extra done, not even paint). One of the updates is a grease purge that requieres a 4mm hole drilled about 90 mm deep in stainless. The cheif engineer swore up and down that we had to send the parts to a vendor to be gun drilled. And here I did two last week in the Bridgeport
                        Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          I understand Seniority and the spirit in which it was intended. On paper it is there to protect you when layoffs happen and to ensure that people with the proper amount of time in get a fair crack at promotion or transfer.

                          In many cases, especially in what I call "old school" union-shops, Seniority takes on a near sacred importance. It literately becomes the sole deciding metric in all decision-making situations.

                          As written our union manual mentions promotions are given to THE MOST QUALIFIED MOST SENIOR member of the crew who currently has his/her paperwork on file.

                          That means if I apply for an opening and have my masters degree/trade papers that apply to the job plus a year's time in... and you have none of that but have punched the clock every day for 30 years... I'm supposed to get the job on the grounds that I am qualified.

                          In reality though they ignore "qualified" and go directly for the other metric.

                          This is why our quality engineer doesn't understand how to use CMM. This is why a few of our otherwise outstanding maintenance workers can't turn a bolt. And it also explains how someone with a metric butt-load of experience in phenolics is working in the BMC division... because phenolics is a "reward" for senior techs. That's another rant for another thread though and I will post that later. One simple mistake shut down assembly at three different plants, and they still wouldn't listen to anyone (including me) because seniority.

                          In the end I don't think there is any salvaging this situation here, I gave them two weeks notice they promised to "troubleshoot the situation in hopes of retaining my skills ongoing." I said "what skills? You won't listen to anything anyone says that's how we end up in these situations." The reply was "It's a union shop you have to follow tradition."

                          Shaking my head here, and chuckling. Next stop along my journey is most assuredly NOT a union shop. Going to avoid those going forward if it all possible.
                          This is the ending.... still your need is driven on (driven on) as we trigger one more bomb...

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            I've survived 3 mergers and am now on my 4th paycheck letterhead. I'm in my 16th year running an important platform for The Company and have basically absorbed and consolidated all similar or competing platforms from the various companies that have acquired my previous employers. The first 2 years lacked any sort of engineer as have the last 18 months, so to say I'm better versed in both history and future plans than anybody else is an understatement. I'm now on my 6th or 7th engineer (I'm not clear what counts as actual engineering vs passing through).

                            Last Friday an engineer decided to go take a look and make an email recommendation about a few tweaks to a large list of people. I deleted the first 2 emails I really wanted to send and instead picked up the phone. I asked the engineer if he was fully aware of the impact that his recommendations would have on the platform and he stated he was. I clarified and asked if he truly intended to cut performance by a factor of 100 and he sputtered. I drew out the relevant numbers as well as the equation I put together 3 engineers ago to model the behavior and explained it extensively, then asked him to plug in his numbers. He was thrilled, thought that his number was sufficiently large and we should do it anyway. I then asked him to rerun the numbers using live data I provided -- then he had a moment. Oops. At least the departure helped him save face. "I don't normally work on this platform so we'll have to wait until next week when so-and-so gets back from vacation to true this up." Never mind that "so-and-so" isn't really an engineer and has historically taken the document from the engineer and handed it to me.

                            It's going to be an interesting week...

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Left Handed Spud Wrench View Post
                              the seniority thing is sacred. It means more than dick size, IQ, hotness of your favored female companion or even the brand of motorcycle you prefer.
                              As it certainly should (coming from an anti-union guy)....

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by 10KPete View Post
                                The schools don't teach practical engineering, they teach engineering theory.
                                That is so very true! Just before I retired, a batch of newly graduated engineers came on board. I was assigned one to mentor for a while. We were working on a mobile machine shop being outfitted into a Conex container. Some brackets needed to be put on the wall for shelves. I had the locations of the holes marked so pilot holes had to be drilled for the screws and the brackets fastened to the wall with Phillips head screws. I gave the new engineer a drill bit, a Phillips drive bit, the Phillips screws, the brackets and a battery powered drill and told him I'd be back in half an hour.

                                When I returned, I expected to see all of the brackets mounted. However, not one was in place. When I asked why weren't the up, I was told that he couldn't drill the pilot hole for the screws. The drill just didn't work. I asked him to show me what he was doing. He had the Phillips drive bit in the battery drill and was trying to drill the holes with it! When asked if he had ever worked with tools, he said no. If something needed to get fixed at home, a repair guy was always called. One would think that engineering students would get a course in tool usage but I guess that is not an important skill to be learned now days.
                                Last edited by BigBoy1; 09-15-2015, 03:13 AM. Reason: Typo!
                                Bill

                                Being ROAD KILL on the Information Super Highway and Electronically Challenged really SUCKS!!

                                Every problem can be solved through the proper application of explosives, duct tape, teflon, WD-40, or any combo of the aforementioned items.

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