Electrician Talk banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,
I am an experienced industrial electrical and working on a sawmill for 5 years. I want to grow with my knowledge and experience to a level where I can use my brain more than my physical efforts.
Can someone help me to lighten the right path for my career advancement?

I will be so thankful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,187 Posts
Paper mill.
VOMIT!!!

Did a start up at a paper mill. Depending on which side of the stink you work on that matters ... Those chemicals are something else.....Watched a white liquor pipe split on first charge. The stank of the place doesnt come out of clothes easily lol. Was stuck there for a month just getting EPA instruments replaced, new temp sensors, flow meters, valve train leak check and safeties for the Lime Kiln.< ---Biggest I've ever worked on. ..4" 60 psi(I think) flame thrower lol. NO THANKS...

Yeah definitely good experience there for sure, but not a good place to work.



Sent from my SM-S908U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Power distribution and controls
Joined
·
2,101 Posts
Want something different? Are you willing to move?

There are lots of jobs available however everything looks greener from your location.

There are lots of job boards go out and throw your hat into the ring a few times.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,992 Posts
VOMIT!!!

Did a start up at a paper mill. Depending on which side of the stink you work on that matters ... Those chemicals are something else.....Watched a white liquor pipe split on first charge. The stank of the place doesnt come out of clothes easily lol. Was stuck there for a month just getting EPA instruments replaced, new temp sensors, flow meters, valve train leak check and safeties for the Lime Kiln.< ---Biggest I've ever worked on. ..4" 60 psi(I think) flame thrower lol. NO THANKS...

Yeah definitely good experience there for sure, but not a good place to work.



Sent from my SM-S908U using Tapatalk
That smell is the pulp mill. Turning a tree into pulp releases a bunch of chemicals. You get turpentine, methanol, then the bad stuff SOG, probably more that I can’t remember.
 

·
Registered
Residential, lite comm., Industrial
Joined
·
3,804 Posts
Hi there,
I am an experienced industrial electrical and working on a sawmill for 5 years. I want to grow with my knowledge and experience to a level where I can use my brain more than my physical efforts.
Can someone help me to lighten the right path for my career advancement?

I will be so thankful.
i agree with @mburtis about PLC's, and all the other things he mentioned

because of your experience you are uniquely qualified to use a PLC
it takes machine knowledge of how they operate, move, and process material
it takes knowledge of the many varied sensors on the machines

i worked in a sawmill for 7 years. we went from a PLC controlled mill using a carriage and headrig,
to PLC controls and twin bandsaws, paired with slab grinders; each of which were controlled by a laser scanner on the infeed
they required a new position for every log going through them
many ppl dont realize it but a sawmill is not processing cookie cutter material, every tree trunk is unique and takes serious computing to get the max lumber from it. sawmills handle odd shaped pieces one at a time; not conveyors of dust or identical parts

i became rather familiar with our plc's i used them for trouble shooting the machines as well as creating a minor fix to limp through the rest of the shift, something like a sensor in a place that required LOTO and down time to replace them. i was not nearly the best one at it in the mill, but the best could do wonderful things to keep the machines running with out going in the field to fix it.
they were not programmers, but simply experienced electricians. they also had to troubleshoot and fine tune the plc programs when we got new machines and began the startup process

if you want to move on with plcs in a mill setting. work for a company that builds the kind of machines you would want to work around. get good enough to be on the team that installs them in a new mill. i watched those type guys during our rebuild and i could see enjoying that job a lot. it is the same old machine every time, but it is always a new mill with new challenges trying to integrate the machine into the existing process
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,992 Posts
i agree with @mburtis about PLC's, and all the other things he mentioned

because of your experience you are uniquely qualified to use a PLC
it takes machine knowledge of how they operate, move, and process material
it takes knowledge of the many varied sensors on the machines

i worked in a sawmill for 7 years. we went from a PLC controlled mill using a carriage and headrig,
to PLC controls and twin bandsaws, paired with slab grinders; each of which were controlled by a laser scanner on the infeed
they required a new position for every log going through them
many ppl dont realize it but a sawmill is not processing cookie cutter material, every tree trunk is unique and takes serious computing to get the max lumber from it. sawmills handle odd shaped pieces one at a time; not conveyors of dust or identical parts

i became rather familiar with our plc's i used them for trouble shooting the machines as well as creating a minor fix to limp through the rest of the shift, something like a sensor in a place that required LOTO and down time to replace them. i was not nearly the best one at it in the mill, but the best could do wonderful things to keep the machines running with out going in the field to fix it.
they were not programmers, but simply experienced electricians. they also had to troubleshoot and fine tune the plc programs when we got new machines and began the startup process

if you want to move on with plcs in a mill setting. work for a company that builds the kind of machines you would want to work around. get good enough to be on the team that installs them in a new mill. i watched those type guys during our rebuild and i could see enjoying that job a lot. it is the same old machine every time, but it is always a new mill with new challenges trying to integrate the machine into the existing process
I was asked to apply to one of those guys. DC Drive manufacturer. I thought about it just because they did emergency troubleshootings when the mill guys couldn’t fix it. But in the end, it was all traveling. The other downside is you are just on one type of drive, PLC or whatever. It would be intense, but you’d need to move on after a few years.
 

·
Super Moderator
Retired
Joined
·
18,216 Posts
Why not study and take a licensing test? I worked in industrial for years before I got my masters license and subsequently my masters card.
It looks great on a resume and a licensed guy in the plant is a positive for the company and you.
That license and industrial experience helped me put down my tools. It wasn't at the plant, it was a vendor I had a working relationship with.
I would say the license was one of the best things I ever did. You can't go wrong getting your card or license.

Do you take advantage of your vendors free training? Have you visited any of your vendors? Do you take advantage of manufacturer training? Like drive and motor seminars? This is a very good way to see and know your vendors and to see the other side if you will. Also most good companies encourage and will pay for more detailed training and schooling. Find out.
Knowing and building relationships with those outside the plant can open doors you did not know existed. I would imagine your supply house rep visits regularly? This is a good start on outside relationships in your field.

When I left my last company I got a call from a motor and drive vendor 3 days later. I was offered a job that paid considerably more money and no tools. This was only possible because they knew me and worked on several projects with me. In the these projects I became familiar with several manufactureres reps as well. It was the manuacturers reps that recommended me for this job. This type of job most always requires a college degree. I did not have a college degree. I had a license and I had years of electronic and controls experience.
Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
963 Posts
Why not study and take a licensing test? I worked in industrial for years before I got my masters license and subsequently my masters card.
It looks great on a resume and a licensed guy in the plant is a positive for the company and you.
A license for electrical doesn't mean much in Canada for an employee. Journeyman is a proper qualification. Licensing is for the permit process.
 

·
Super Moderator
Retired
Joined
·
18,216 Posts
A license for electrical doesn't mean much in Canada for an employee. Journeyman is a proper qualification. Licensing is for the permit process.
I used my license as a resume enhancer. While it is useful in the US, I really didn't need it to work or find work. He said he wanted to brighten his future. Thats really all I could come up with along with my other suggestions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you guys for your precious time and efforts to reply on my post.
I do have Master electrician ticket and can pull the classB permit. I am here in the mill to troubleshoot the problems and fix the machines to prevent the downtime. Although, I can program new design in the process with the help of PLC and all automation controls but still my expertise is not that strong enough to work as an independent contractor. I want to be a part of the company or organization where I can put my experience and knowledge to help the company growth and my career as well.

any suggestions will be appreciated.

thank you
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,187 Posts
I wanted to learn different industries. I initially hit the roads doing hot jobs. Power plant, waste water, mining, oil and gas, etc. I didn't care about the pay, I wanted the knowledge, and knew the pay would come later. I believe the diversity in various industries advanced my experience faster than those at an equal time of service. I was also blessed as an apprentice to get on projects with the company's top guys on the job. 2nd year in working for a company I was already making journeyman pay with a helper. Keep in mind I worked roughly 50 hrs a week and went back to the rv and spent the rest of the night reading the code book and anything electrical I could get my hands on. I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my career and was addicted to learning it... My career took off like a rocket and so did my cheating gf lol... Anyone of us on here who has had a successful career knows what it means to say "hard work pays off."

Sent from my SM-S908U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,187 Posts
That’s what they used to tell me “All That Hard Work Will Get You Is Old”

Im here to tell you they were wrong. Excercise your brain as much as your muscles. Your bookshelf is as important as your tool chest.
One guy told me I would "burn out" doing what I was doing....Not even the slightest bit accurate. I opened one door and that door had 10 doors behind it...I went back and forth navigating the maze of information and still haven't seen it all...But I'm old enough now I'm starting to prepare for my retirement not advancing in my career. I'm only 35 and have got to a point my knowledge is good enough and pay is well...I'll focus on retirement now.. I'll use the same tactics to make sure I succeed into a fun and stable retirement, ready to enjoy the downhill road to 6ft under.

Sent from my SM-S908U using Tapatalk
 

·
Chief Flunky
Field Service Engineer
Joined
·
3,573 Posts
First off you need to recognize that you are paid based on what you can do and know. The more rare (and in demand) the skill/knowledge, the more it pays. To give you some idea of course most people point to engineers. Engineers with ten plus years of experience generally make six digits if they do plant work. Or if you want to talk hourly rates, divide by 2000 (hours per year; 50 weeks x 40 hours), or $50 an hour. Realistically this is also towards the upper end if not higher than where most plant electricians can ever expect to get to. So if you want to do better than that there are 3 paths: go into management, go back to school, or go into contracting.

I know a guy who went back to school at age 45 for engineering. He went to a public university. He had kids at the time. He went year round with as high of a credit load as he could stand. And he did a lot of side work. When he finished he went straight into one of those high end engineering jobs based on his work experience. Kind of late in life but it definitely worked for him.

So for years I avoided contracting. Ask any construction electrician details and pretty quickly you realize that it’s a boom/bust cycle, there are no benefits, and it doesn’t seem to matter if you go union or not. At the end of the day there is an obvious reason why construction contractors eventually end up plant electricians but rarely the other way around The only ones making money if they’re any good at it are the business owners and upper management.

But there’s a third group, the various service companies. Some work out of suitcases and hotels but many are local. Think of for instance your average diesel mechanic. Or elevator technicians. But there’s also infrared inspections, ultrasonic inspections, breaker and relay testing, motor testing, and the list goes on from there. Even the energy auditors doing houses. Often the service jobs turn into repairs or other side work, even construction jobs, but those are value added…often charging service tech labor rates. And with hourly rate charges of $100-300 per hour, some of these companies can and do pay their service technicians pretty well.

Just like construction contractors at some point you have to own the business to make more money but the options here are amazing.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top