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[OH REALLY] "We have replaced your mercury switches with Hydrargyrum switches..."

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  • [OH REALLY] "We have replaced your mercury switches with Hydrargyrum switches..."

    One of my part-time day-jobs is working in a plastic factory with some really really old and really massive machines.

    We had a scare where a rather large mercury contactor/switch/electrical-what-the-heck burst and contaminated an area. Several weeks of expensive cleanup and investigation later it was determined that Old Massive Press #2 and Even Older Massive Press #3 were also full of mercury-based electrical switches.

    Company investigated several contractors to discuss the upgrading of the OMP 2 and EOMP 3 to a more modern standard. In the end one contractor had prices so much lower than the others that it was alarming. Very alarming.


    They came in, tore #2 and #3 apart and futzed around and handed us a bill. The Plant Electrical Wizard took one look at the invoice and handed it to me. Apparently they "upgraded" our mercury-switches to Hydragyrum-based ones for a substantially lower cost than the alternative upgrades that were proposed. I went out with the Electrical Wizard, my boss came out and the plant manager came out to the machine... and we agreed those Hydragyrum switches looked just like the ones that were installed previously, in fact judging by the dust and discoloration they were most probably the same units just with new stickers on them.

    The contractor ASSURED US that the old units had been removed, drained and refilled with environmentally-friendly Hydragyrum. I expressed concern that the work had been completed in less than two days and I don't recall the contract staff wearing mercury-precaution gloves, masks, goggles any sort of gear nor did I see any sort of containment precautions... and I wasn't informed that mercury would be exposed to the plant environment. It was my job to alert the workers and prevent product contamination.

    It was at this point that my boss perks up. "I just googled Hydragyrum. It's the old term for mercury. Clearly this is an elaborate scam."

    Plant manager agreed, and the Electrical Wizard said he was pretty sure too but he wasn't familiar with the word, but at the same time he'd never heard of a process like the contractor was describing.


    Well long story short I have a new head-on-a-pike on my desk (I get custody of it on Thursdays and Saturdays,) the contractor has been exposed as a delightfully creative scam artist and dealt with via legal processes, and I have a new funny story to share with the forum!
    Last edited by Max McGrumpy; 02-02-2017, 01:15 PM.

  • #2
    That's way more than just a scam --- guy should be doing some serious time...

    Comment


    • #3
      I have no doubt he's in Serious Trouble.

      They'll probably make him eat a 50 gallon drum of mercury as punishment.

      Comment


      • #4
        Didn't the contractors have to submit some sort of proposal as part of the bid/estimate process? Didn't any of the bean counters realize that a detailed process should have been included and not just parts and labor? Electrical Wizard who should have reviewed the proposal and the completed work should be out on his ass as well.
        Last edited by reggie_obe; 02-02-2017, 01:37 PM.

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        • #5
          I would really really love to work for a company that does things the right way but this was the only one hiring.

          To date we've nearly gotten ripped six times since I've been here, we were moments away from pouring discount material into a process machine when we realized it was literally reground car parts -- complete with metal fragments, mystery chunks and "stuff."

          The owner is not so bright. He's a sucker for low prices and a fancy pitch, that's why the company has declined so badly in the last few years. His father was a much better businessman who built this company and it's three other plants into a force to be be respected back in the 1970, that continued until the late 1990s and here we are today.

          Walk into the office, give him a song-and-dance routine and tell him how much he'll save and he'll take six of them. Every time. Word has gotten around and in the 18 months I've been here we've had some real motherf*ckers come through here peddling everything from rub-on mold-and-tool rejuvenation to a magic "power correction" box that is purported to lower energy consumption by 90%. Not Power Factor Correction -- no. That we have, and the Wizard explained it to me.

          This was a large rectangular box 10' by 20' high. Terminals on both ends, and fans.

          Quick google search, yep. Fly by night outfit making it's rounds with this Power Correction system.... makes a killing installing them at schools, churches, small companies... anywhere that the people are susceptible to double-talk, alternate-facts and big words.

          My job is supposed to be part of the process-engineering side of things, I've been going back through our process data and fixing things. They've been including me in these debunking sessions as of late because I can spot a good one a mile away.

          Comment


          • #6
            Maybe that's why they're in a Deep Hole.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Max McGrumpy View Post
              I have no doubt he's in Serious Trouble.

              They'll probably make him eat a 50 gallon drum of mercury as punishment.
              you mean Hydrargyrum JR
              My old yahoo group. Bridgeport Mill Group

              https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...port_mill/info

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JRouche View Post
                you mean Hydrargyrum JR
                Exactly --- that new brand of sparkling pure mineral health water...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Max McGrumpy View Post
                  I have no doubt he's in Serious Trouble.

                  They'll probably make him eat a 50 gallon drum of mercury as punishment.
                  In theory, if you don't have a stomach ulcer, you would just pass the mercury, harmlessly.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would suggest "quicksilver" instead. Those scam artists were indeed trying to make some quick silver!
                    http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                    Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                    USA Maryland 21030

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Can I have the mercury?
                      "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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                      • #12
                        When I was a kid mercury must not have been dangerous because my dad used to bring it home for me to play with, it was a lot of fun. Everything and anything would float in it and if you spilled it it was easy to gather up and put back in the jar. Yup the good ole days. I always had a jar of mercury around someplace. Then when I grew up and went to work for the same steel plant my dad worked for I started out in the boiler house and guess what I could get more mercury anytime I wanted. Then there was the asbestos, all the pipes were insulated with it and when pipes needed work it was our job to attack with sledge hammers and wheel barrels. Evidently asbestos wasn't bad for you back then ether because I never saw a respirator or had a special suit to ware, and then there was working in a boiler that hadn't had time to cool, and running turbines to clean the boiler tubes without ear protection because I guess loud noises didn't bother people then. But hey I am still here! ah what did you say.

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                        • #13
                          Metallic mercury is not that bad for you just like metallic lead, its just not very bioavailable and has a pretty short biological half life of about 15 days. Yes, constant exposure is bad. Its the bioavailable compounds like dimethylmercury that are stupid toxic as in a drop through a pinhole of a glove will kill you.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by A.K. Boomer View Post
                            Exactly --- that new brand of sparkling pure mineral health water...
                            Bottled exclusively in Flint MI.
                            Andy

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                            • #15
                              I hadn't thought about it before, but the symbol for Mercury, Hg, derives from Hydrargyrum.
                              http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                              Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                              USA Maryland 21030

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