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Old 06-27-2016, 11:06 PM   #1
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Default any industrial electrician doing the factory maintenance here?

right now I am working as a commercial electrician, but I am interesting in the industrial area doing the factory maintenance

anyone here working as a industrial electrician or knowing something about this area, please gives me some advice:

1. as an industrial electrician, do we need to know unijunction transistor, SCR, Diac, Triac, operational amplifier?

2. what kind of motor are common used in the factory? 3-phase squirrel cage motor?

3. what is the common way of starting a motor in the factory? resistor and reactor starting? autotransfomer starting?wye-delta startng ? part winding starters?

4. as a maintenance electrician, do we need to write a program for the PLC? or just make small changes of the existing program?

5. what is the basic work of everyday work of a maintenance electrician?


any input will be great and thank you
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Old 06-28-2016, 12:14 AM   #2
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1. as an industrial electrician, do we need to know unijunction transistor, SCR, Diac, Triac, operational amplifier?

Basic understanding of electronics is very helpful for troubleshooting.

2. what kind of motor are common used in the factory? 3-phase squirrel cage motor?

Most will be, but you will also find DC, things like torque motors, synchronous

3. what is the common way of starting a motor in the factory? resistor and reactor starting? autotransfomer starting?wye-delta startng ? part winding starters?

Across the line is the most common.

4. as a maintenance electrician, do we need to write a program for the PLC? or just make small changes of the existing program?

Very little unless you get to be "the" guy.

5. what is the basic work of everyday work of a maintenance electrician?

Fixing busted limit switches, starters that no longer reset, changing out motors,


any input will be great and thank you:thumbup

Last edited by backstay; 06-28-2016 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 06-28-2016, 12:26 AM   #3
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Each facility is going to differ on equipment used and skills needed. I would get on some job pages and read what places want for qualifications. Instrumentation is also desired in most places. Basic theory of 4-20 ma and variety of brands of transmitters and the devices needed to communicate with them for setup and troubleshooting.
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:31 PM   #4
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any other comments?
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:37 PM   #5
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any other comments?
The broader your realm of knowledge and more knowledge you have in your repertoire the more valuable you will be to an employer. You could be 'that' guy.
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Old 06-28-2016, 06:15 PM   #6
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Being mechanically inclined is a plus. Many times you will have problems that are blamed on electrical when in fact they are mechanical in nature. Understanding motor controls, starters and start/stop stations. Relays, PLC outputs and inputs. Manual reading, understanding. Print reading.

One tip for troubleshooting, a little note book to record every action you take, parts you put in. It's a lot easier to write the after action report.

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Old 06-28-2016, 08:02 PM   #7
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Don't wait for the machine to break. Try to learn what the machine is supposed to do when it's working correctly . This will help a lot .
Start with small schematics at first . Once you understand those inside and out move on to larger more complicated drawings .
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Old 06-28-2016, 10:20 PM   #8
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Make friends with the operators, learn how they run their machines at least somewhat. Also, don't dismiss the operator that always thinks something is wrong with his machine. I learned a lot about how his systems work trying to fix what wasn't broke. It can be frustrating, but looking back. The hours I spent looking at prints and ladder logic, made me a better troubleshooter.
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:27 AM   #9
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Default any industrial electrician doing the factory maintenance here?

You will either be one who reads and studies every machine on the floor or a parts changer.

The best tool in the plant electricians box is a mindset of "need to know" that will drive you to learn it inside out. It may take years but the more you get a concept of normal operation, the easier it will be to fix.

Speed at fixing is what you get paid for.

Listen to EXPERIENCED operators, but don't rely on them to do your job. They usually have "seen it before" knowledge but don't know why it happens and will lead you down a path sometimes if the symptoms are close and you follow blindly.

VFDs make up 70% of the motor starting in the current LVL plant I'm in.

PLC programming is becoming a specialized position in plants, but many like mine still require their electricians to install from ground up PLCs and write the program for the machines.


- Jim

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Old 06-29-2016, 07:07 AM   #10
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Fake it til you make it
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Old 06-29-2016, 07:33 AM   #11
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Several people mentioned operators...

Learn how to discuss equipment problems in a way that isn't insulting, even if you're talking to someone who has no clue what you (or they) are talking about.
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Old 06-29-2016, 08:37 AM   #12
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Start with gaining comprehension of "voltage dividers" -- as the stepping stone towards 4-20 mA logic. { a variable resistor// thermistor is thrown into the divider )

Naked thermistors are usually too 'soft' (sloppy) in their feedback ... but are not uncommon within 4-20 mA logical circuits.

If you think resistors are sloppy -- as produced -- thermistors are really 'sloppy', and often have to be 'tuned.' ( a 'tuning' resistor is placed in series to pull its values to within logical norms. )

'Wipers' -- variable resistors -- are also super common with 4-20 mA logic. Think of level of fluids, weights, etc. ( oft 'tuned' as well. )

So, start out figuring whether it's Volts or Amps -- and WHY either was picked.

Once you comprehend whether you are calibrating ( control feed back ) based upon a thermistor, a wiper, voltage, etc. ... you are WAY down the road to doping out what's what.

'Wipers' were originally developed for telecom circuits. It was a brilliant leap of imagination that concluded that the Japanese cyphers -- PURPLE -- were based upon wipers... that allowed the US to break the Japanese cypher engine long before WWII began in the Pacific.

PURPLE machines actually decoded and encoded Japanese diplomatic traffic FASTER than the Japanese did.

!!!

Yes, there's lots of fun directly ahead.

&&&&&&&&

PURPLE's de-coding was that of diplomacy -- not of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Strangely, the consequence was that PURPLE gave Washington -- and London -- a deep insight as to what Adolf Hitler thought and planned.

It had no impact upon the Pacific Campaign.

The Japanese diplomatic transmissions WRT the Pacific were rare -- and useless.

It's been FOREVER -- and the US government STILL can't talk straight about WWII code breaking.

Snowden could tell you why.
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Old 06-29-2016, 01:52 PM   #13
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I have been an Industrial electrician for 40 years, and we never stop learning.It is a grate field to get into.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike883 View Post

1. as an industrial electrician, do we need to know unijunction transistor, SCR, Diac, Triac, operational amplifier?

Back in the 70's yes when you could actualy repair things. Now as said a basic idea of how they work.

2. what kind of motor are common used in the factory? 3-phase squirrel cage motor?

All types of motors are used but 3 phase or DC mostly.

3. what is the common way of starting a motor in the factory? resistor and reactor starting? autotransfomer starting?wye-delta startng ? part winding starters?

Depends on the size, across line or VFD 90% of time.

4. as a maintenance electrician, do we need to write a program for the PLC? or just make small changes of the existing program?

If you can it is great nothing like saying " I built that" but not required at most places, as said you want to be "that guy" . I am the only electrician at my plant so I do it all.

5. what is the basic work of everyday work of a maintenance electrician?

If it has wires on it you have to fix it, even if it is not an electricial problem. If you're good it is learning on ET while being the "maytag man" waiting to go fix something, because you are all caught up. I now do about 50% mechnical work now just to stay busy. Summer time in the afternoon I work in the AC doing project work that I will install in the winter, but when a breakdown comes you WILL stay till it is fixed.
.


any input will be great and thank you
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:06 PM   #14
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For what it's worth on scrs, triacs, igbts, etc, while I'm sure they're not common, there's still analog drives in service.

People who can trouble shoot them are getting few and far between.

I blew the minds of a few co-workers when I showed them how to use a scope meter for trouble shooting scr drives, literally seconds to find a problem they'd been trying to nail down for weeks.

So it's definitely worth knowing in some workplaces.
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:07 PM   #15
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I work for a billion dollar company that makes farm and construction equipment. They pay me fairly well to do nothing if I so choose. What I do in a given day depends on my mood that day, I can sit in an office and watch YouTube all shift or I can go find some work. If a down call comes in I can go get it or pass it off. Getting machines running again isn't difficult, we pay big money for our assets and they come with highly detailed prints that can get you through any breakdown as long as you can read intricate electrical schematics. The project work is my favorite thing to do, setting up new welding fixtures and positioners, adding safety implements to machines, conveyor remodels. The budget is unlimited and since we run 24/7 there's always ample time to get stuff done. If I want to run control wiring in 2" ocal I can (I wouldn't), no one will stop me. I have no boss and no foreman, I hate our union and they hate us (skilled trades), but they won't let the company wrongfully terminate us or make us work in unsafe conditions. The training is good as well. It can be a little boring at times but I get to work on some of the coolest sht in the world so that helps. Factory work isn't always as glorious as some people make it out to be but for now it's alright, especially in the winter time. I clock out in 20 minutes and I won't even think about work until I clock back in tomorrow at 6.
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:31 PM   #16
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I'm going to have my license later this year so take my opinions with a grain of salt as I'm just starting out in the industry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike883 View Post
1. as an industrial electrician, do we need to know unijunction transistor, SCR, Diac, Triac, operational amplifier?
The short answer is no, not every industrial electrician knows these things. My boss cannot identify every component on a circuit board while I can. I will also say that that man has most likely forgotten more than I have ever known. With that said, understanding board level electronics opens plenty of doors and closes none. Take from that what you will.

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2. what kind of motor are common used in the factory? 3-phase squirrel cage motor?
You should be at least familiar with all of them. At my place of employment we employ 3 induction both regular and low rpm, and stepper motors.

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4. as a maintenance electrician, do we need to write a program for the PLC? or just make small changes of the existing program?
From what I can tell, most PLC programming (from scratch) is done by engineers. I do minor adjustments to PLC programs and troubleshoot the field devices but anything beyond that is handled by my boss or our PLC guru that has an engineering degree.

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5. what is the basic work of everyday work of a maintenance electrician?
Well assuming I am not called in at 2AM to come fix a piece of equipment my day can include daily equipment inspections, knocking out any PM that a WO drops for, troubleshooting field devices, replacing motors, installing branch circuits, installing transformers, installing light fixtures, reports, conference calls, designing small projects and installing them (for example, using a VFD to control two fans based on temperature), mowing, I built a storage shed and wired it up, updating old installations to make them code compliant when applicable, lots and lots of cleaning, etc.
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Old 06-29-2016, 03:41 PM   #17
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My two cents:
I have been an Industrial Electrician in Southern Ontario for 20+ years. In that time I have worked at a few places either as an employee or as a contractor. I'll try to answer based solely on my experience.
1 - Do you need electronics at the technician level - No. An understanding is needed. End of line resistors, AC/Dc drives are common failure points. You'll need to be able to diagnose, not necessarily repair.
2 - Motors? All kinds. Some older facilities still use DC. Servo drive motors are common to robotics and CNC machines.
3 - Across the line use to be common. VFDs are all the rage as well as soft starts.
4 - PLC programmer? Most facilities hiring an "Industrial Electrician" expect an above average skill level with PLCs, HMIs, robotics etc. Not enough to actually pay more but they do expect it.
5 - Average day? Most places run on breakdown maintenance. This is where you earn your paycheque. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get the line up and running. After that? That depends on the degree of organization of the maintenance management and your level of motivation. Most places have some level of PM system in place. Some even have enough maintenance employees that you can do some projects or reading on company time. There are some places, or so I'm told, that will actually provide training to their employees. Don't hold your breath on that one.


Hope this helps
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Old 06-29-2016, 06:52 PM   #18
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thank you everybody! the information you guys give me are very helpful !

new question: what about hydraulic, pneumatic, robotic, CNC? as an industrial electrician, how deep do we need to know them?
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Old 06-29-2016, 06:56 PM   #19
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Pretty much the entire time I was employed as a union electrician doing commercial and industrial work, I always dreamed of having a job just like Biscuits described.
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Old 06-29-2016, 07:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike883 View Post
thank you everybody! the information you guys give me are very helpful !

new question: what about hydraulic, pneumatic, robotic, CNC? as an industrial electrician, how deep do we need to know them?


Depends what your facility or department does. My department supports all robotic assets, that's everything from primary feed to DI/DO on the teach pendants. Along with that we support presses, shot blasts, and all welding equipment, anything else is not my job. Like I said, depends where you're at
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