fixing manufacturing machines ?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mathematics!, May 24, 2012.

  1. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    I know we talked about manufacturing before.
    But I was curious most consumer products or things that people can buy are built buy manufacturing machine almost totally with no human intervention.

    What I am wondering is how a person gets a job in fixing these types of machines.
    Is there some specific trade school for fixing manufacturing machines?

    I know for an electrician , HVAC , plumber , builder , and many other trade based professions / jobs there are schools to go to like an auto body school or a auto mechanic school ...etc and usually they require after completion to speed apprenticeship in fulfillment of them.

    But I am curious what the process would be for the guys that actually fix the consumer product making machines them selves.

    I am assuming there would be some apprenticeship required or maybe it is all apprenticeship and they would wave the other requirements if you had an engineering masters or equivalent in a particular area that those particular machines would be in.

    I am sure somebody on this forum knows more about this.
    I remember talking to somebody that said he does this stuff for a living.
    If your around please elaborate I am quite interested in hearing what you had to do?
     
  2. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    A lot of people just used to fall into this job. They would work there and when a machine would break usually one guy stood out on how to fix it or find hte problem. But since we have so little mnf now I would imagine that skill set has been lost. For our machines we were trained by a Tyco tech for a week to do maintenance and fix it. He actually had to goto S. Korea for a month to get taught over their how to fix and run the machines. And these were just big pick and place machines, reflows, etc..
     
  3. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    My job title is "Maintenance Electrical Technician." I work in a manufacturing plant that produces wire & cable. In my plant are Extruders, Armor machines, Cabling machines, Respool machines, Multi-KW IR lamps, Chiller systems, Hydraulic systems, etc. I was hired here to maintain/troublehoot/upgrade/install electrical systems (PLCs, relay controls, motor controls, drives, electo-pneumatics, electro-hydraulics, etc) on these machines, but my duties include much more, such as changing oil in gearboxes, welding, etc.
    I found myself here through the following chain of events:
    1. Joined the Navy @ age 18. Served 4 years, mostly aboard a submarine, as a missile & tracking systems operator/technician (more heavy emphasis on operator, with limited exposure to electrical & electronic systems maint & troubleshooting).
    2. Got out of the Navy and went to work for an oil field service company. Military background got me the job, and limited troubleshooting experience was a plus. They paid me to go through 8 months of in-house training in basic electronics, pneumatics, hydraulics, PLC, and product specific mechanical maintenance classes. After that I was sent on a "training" assignment supposedly for a couple of weeks in Canada but became an integral part of the operaions in that shop and was requested to stay an additional few months. Then sent to another training assignment in Singapore and same thing again. After I had been extended several times there, I was released from the training program and assigned directly to overseas field service (skipping a 5 year period of usually mandatory domestic field service). After that I went to Korea, got married, followed by an immediate series ov very unfortunate family events and had to quit what had bloomed into a 6-figure job.
    3. I was out of work for 6 months and then I took this job, around 50K/yr. My initial plan was only to work here until I found something with better pay, but as it turns out, the set schedule and not being out of the country for 2/3 of the year appealed to my wife more than 6-figre income, so I stayed.

    I, however, am not content with this income, so I am quitting and going to college. I start 8/27. I will leave this job on 8/20. Do you want it?
     
  4. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    So then I cann't imagine where you would go to train for more complex machines/ the most complex machines.

    It seems if there wasn't I school then most of this ability to fix a machine would be lost and then won't we reach a point where if a machine breaks you have to rely on a few people in the world. And if that is the case what happens if they don't want to do it any more there job.... or quit... or die...
    eventually there has to be a life cycle for training a particular person for this job or eventually the ability will die ... then what?:(

    I guess if that happened we could still have more people do the equivalent opening more jobs and bettering the economical job front... though we would be wasting are efficiency or production time in doing this... i.e going back in time to a more primative time ... sometimes that is not always bad either
     
  5. gerty

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 30, 2007
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    The way it worked for me:
    I went to trade school (electricity) in the 60's, worked construction for several years, ended up with a job in maintenance. The maintenance job started in
    '79, I went to tech school (electronics) 80-81. The company I worked for, a major air conditioning manufacturer, needed someone that showed initiative and was willing to go to school.
    I've been to school for class V lasers in Massachusetts, robotic welding school in Colorado, cnc controller school in New York. Fiber Optic school in Nashville.
    All provided by the company.
    And then there were the schools on site,Networking, 10base2, 10baseT,3270.
    Electronic controls on Clarklift fork trucks, etc..etc.
    They even sent me to EMT school because it took an ambulance 25 minutes to get here and they wanted someone on premises that could provide aid sooner.
    Bottom line, you have to get an education in your chosen craft, then start working hopefully at a place where you can advance.
    All the specialty training I got was because I was willing to advance , in this craft you never stop learning.
    The air conditioning plant closed 7 years ago, I now teach in the tech school that I graduated from in 1981. It's a good fit.
     
  6. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Getting a 2 year degree in engineering technology is a common route I've heard.
     
  7. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    What strantor said is what I meant by people typically fall into the job. My machines I had to maintain and run were a PCB printer, Mirea Pic n Place, Vulcan Reflow oven, a huge extruder the size of a semi trailor, a commercial air compressor, a 15 seat call center, and all the routers and networking that went with it. I was basically the head tech guy for anything tech related.
    How I got their....
    1. HS degree
    2. Worked at Strip club off and on as mng for 7-8 years.
    3. Started doing IT work
    4. got into web design
    5. got into video editing, sound editing, videography (We made golfing DVD's and Magazines)
    6. Got into programming.
    7. Got a call to head the tech aspect of this medical device company.
    8. Started as IT guy. With in 2 weeks I was running everything that had a LED or microchip on it.
    9 Was trained by Tyco to run the actual production machines.
    Boom Done.


    Heres one for yah that pretty funny. When I worked for that company I was full time and we had one of the designers of the PIC24 working as a consultant. They called me yesterday and the designer of the PIC24 was doing some work designing a LION battery charging board. Well he accidently made one of the switches on the device backwards. They called me to ask if I would comb the code 5000 lines of PIC16 ASM and rewrite that switch to activate when open instead of closed. I know the PIC24 guy is way above my skill level, and he's the one that f'd up. I'm wondering why their calling me to fix it. I have a strong feeling he's looked at the code and realized its gonna be a huge task. I haven't gotten up the ballucks to open the code and look at whats needed but I thought that was strange. But then again he may not be an ASM guy, he may just be a C guy.
     
  8. gerty

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 30, 2007
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    The big thing that our sister school next door is pushing now is AAS in Mechatronics.
     
  9. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    I see so fixing machines in alot of cases is being at the right place at the right time and having enough skill sets as well as them willing to hire you.

    Maybe because they like you personality wise and skill set.
     
  10. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    there's a show playing on national geographic channel at this moment, that you might be interested in. it's called Factory Floor With Marshall Brain.
     
  11. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    That was my job before Alcatel went bust in the USA. I was Machine Maintenance. Now I operate the machines I used to repair.
     
  12. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
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    I was a Tool and Die maker for 45 years. An apprenticeship is how I learned, and machine shop in high school before that. Made the tools that made the parts. And the gages that checked the parts, and the fixtures that allowed assembly of the parts.
     
  13. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    That's it in a nutshell. The only thing missing is a deep interest in what your doing, and the desire to further your knowledge.

    I recieved a train set for Christmas when I was about 6. After a couple of hours of watching the train go round and round, I promptly took the thing apart to see how it worked. From then on, nothing was safe, but I became more interested in making things work. Out of high school I went directly into a Millwright trade at a steel mill. Everything was within my reach, and I spent every minute exploring and researching. 25 years later I decided to add Electrician to my credentials, only because that was a natural extension to the mechanical background. I stayed in the plastics industry too long, and consider that a bad decision. Most of my work is now advising manufacturing, and troubleshooting oil patch equipment.

    Initially it was being at the right place and time, but now it's basically doing whatever I want.
     
  14. GetDeviceInfo

    Senior Member

    Jun 7, 2009
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    a lot of it comes down to economics. Equipment is often recycled, and the skill level required to keep it running declines, along with productivity. Equipment purchasers are concious of the ongoing operating expenses, which include the cost of technical expertise. The equipment/operations will be phased out if those costs, or the ability to maintain the equipment is excessive.
     
  15. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    With that statement it seems to me that fixing a type of machine only comes around in so far as the machine is up to date with newest techniques of productivity .... after that the machine gets recycled or trashed and the company either does something different , closes , or buys/hires somebody to build a current production machine to stay up to date...

    I see the skills of designing and engineering are the most important in general since with enough training or enough times fixing a machine you kind of become an expert at fixing it thru repetitions and understand the theory/physics/how the machine works. What I am getting at is even though an engineer may not know exactly how to build a particular machine he can always design a new one whivh is a more general skill to have in a sense... though I have to say you definitely need both the electrician which does routine installation ( but these things are needed for the masses) and the electrical/electronics engineer for designing a electrical technology that is ever improveing interms of energy , efficiency , functionality , easy of uses ,...etc

    Curious Bill_Marsden what part of the two sided job you think was more demanding operating the machines or fixing them ?
    I know your take would be partially biased since after fixing them normal one would find the operation easy since they have a firmer understanding of the total machines capabilities... Though I could be wrong in some case duno... Seems it to me it would take a lot short of time to train somebody to use a machine or do a particular task on it then fix a complex machine... though that necessarily isn't true in general (in theory both could be as complex to teach time wise ,..etc)
    But let say for the majority maybe ?

    Question 2
    How often does machines in general get recycled or built from scratch / in designs created . To but it in take terms a windows OS new version usually comes out every couple of years , a new type of cpu comes out relatively a little slower , basically just curious on production machines and how often they are creating new ones....
    As well as if you had to get a total of how many production machines exist in the US (or in the world for that matter) ... And weather they are repaired often/break often...

    Question 3
    Of the different types of production machines how many are for the masses / make then consumer based products?
    Also for the production machines that are not consumer machines what are they used for other then for energy production / specialized research / chemical making.

    Question 4
    With a math masters degree , engineering degree , computer science degree, a few certifications like networking, plumbing , electricians journey man or master , HVAC. How hard would it be to get a job in these professions of fixing machines as/ how long would it take somebody to get a job after he had these down but not much work experiences other then the theoretical side / knowing all the knowledge to do all the stuff but not haveing had the actual experience/opportunity of doing it yet.
    Also if I go into this field what would be a typical day is it an 8hour , 12 hour,...? and how is the job structured i.e is it more travel based, contract or salary , min/max salary range , physical demanding / mentally demanding, flex hours , boring factor, free time on job to do whatever ....etc

    I just have to say now a days I find that you can read and know everything on tons of subjects ACE all the different types of exams.
    But the hardest part is to find somebody that will give you the opportunity to gain experience in many different areas... Since after you have the experience with the knowledge you are sort of more indispensable to the job market. But it is like a circle to get the experience they have to hire you but most places only hire people that have experience so then WTF how do you break the circle once you have all the knowledge that they could every want but not so much practice on the installation/physically doing it/ experience in doing it?



     
  16. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    One of the problems out there is the insistence on degrees. There was an engineer (whom I considered a friend) who worked his way up, and as far as I know did not have that paper. This is so rare as to be nonexistent.

    Raytheon, on the other hand insists on a degree and a high grade point average. They loose a lot of talent that way, but on the other hand, it is currently a buyers market. There are way too many unemployed for too few jobs.

    Just the way it is at the moment.
     
  17. Mathematics!

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 21, 2008
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    And you see that ever changing in any near future ?

    As for degrees or not I don't care either way if you are smart and know your stuff... or if your just smart and interested is all that matters to me.

    Though degrees normally guarantee a level of experience or ability gage.
    And for the most part if some didn't have the degrees/school that normal (not always) seems like the didn't have the exposure to different ways of thought or subjects...etc

    Though that is changing alittle bit with online learning and the internet so may be less of a factor in the future...
     
  18. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    When labor is scarce it will change. Managers and recruiters will look at experience as well.

    Just before the telecom bust in 2000 it was a very tight labor market. We had companies trying to actively steal employees away from Alcatel. Marconi Radio had trucks driving around Alcatel property on public roadswith billboards on trucks trying to lure some employees away. They had airplanes flying with banners, it was ridiculous!

    Then the telecom crunch came, followed by 9/11. The movement to China may have been the typical over reaction to the tight labor market.

    The fact is the current situation is somewhat abnormal, but it has been around long enough people think it is the norm. Maybe it is.

    People call this the Great Recession. In typical Orwellian doublespeak they don't want to use the D word. We removed much of the regulations that were meant to prevent a repeat of last centuries great depression, and the banks started a lot of the same behaviors that got us into trouble last time. In short, history is repeating itself with some new variations. People just accept it as biz as usual.

    Here we are, 12 years later. 12 years from now it could be different, and people will accept that as the norm. I think part of the problem is we allow our politicians to be bought by corporations, both foreign and domestic, but I am not one of those people on this site that think we have to collapse as a society. Things will change, they always do, some will be good, some will be bad.

    Basically we are living in interesting times.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
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