Electrician Talk banner

21 - 30 of 30 Posts

·
Hackenschmidt
Joined
·
11,465 Posts
It would seem that there is an unproportionate number of poeple on this site that have experience with the water treatment industry.
I think it may be proportionate, it's a huge part of the industry - utility water, storm water, and waste water are everywhere - mines, mills, marine fuel tank factories, a lot further between those.
 

·
Chief Flunky
Field Service Engineer
Joined
·
2,078 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
It would seem that there is an unproportionate number of poeple on this site that have experience with the water treatment industry.
Seriously you would be amazed if you haven’t dealt with them.

The biggest problem with sewage plants is the smell. You get used to it. I’ve dealt with a lot worse in other places. They are inspected with bacteria counts (white glove test stuff) so they are regularly disinfected and more or less spotless.

Aside from that they don’t hesitate to spend money to get things fixed and you get the municipal worker attitude...generally friendly and just doing their jobs. Rarely is anyone in your face. They are really the ideal customers to have.

The nastiest part of the business is when you have to pull a submersible out in a lift station. They will have water to wash it down. Bring the thicker nitrile gloves and a bottle of disinfectant for your tools though and you’ll be fine. If you make regular stops might want to think about a hepatitis C shot.
 

·
Registered
Water treatment plant maintenance
Joined
·
200 Posts
Think you mis understood me... I am one of those municipal workers. Plant electrician/mechanic/operator for drinking water department in Wyoming. I like seeing poeple who have experience in this industry. I love the water plant. Let's me do the work I want without some line boss breathing down my neck wondering why I'm not done, or having 14 other jobs that I have to get down the road to. I can take my time and make it pretty and make it last. I help the waste water guys out a bit as well, our waste water crew runs a heck of an operation and you wont find a better crew anywhere. I dont hesitate a second to go down there.
 

·
Chief Flunky
Field Service Engineer
Joined
·
2,078 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Think you mis understood me... I am one of those municipal workers. Plant electrician/mechanic/operator for drinking water department in Wyoming. I like seeing poeple who have experience in this industry. I love the water plant. Let's me do the work I want without some line boss breathing down my neck wondering why I'm not done, or having 14 other jobs that I have to get down the road to. I can take my time and make it pretty and make it last. I help the waste water guys out a bit as well, our waste water crew runs a heck of an operation and you wont find a better crew anywhere. I dont hesitate a second to go down there.
If you have 14 jobs that day, you are losing money.

First that gives you roughly 30 minutes per call including drive time and tracking down the customer who already took time out if their day. You’re not going to be doing repairs, not even changing a receptacle. So you schedule another crew and basically charge them for a quote call and make them take another day off work. This is if everything goes well,

On electrical work exactly who do you want to disappoint? The person who’s job you rushed through and did a crap job or the one where you showed up late or rescheduled? Neither one is going to give you repeat business. And word gets around. And how do you even keep a staff?

My company generally schedules one job per day. If we do two or more it’s because it was a predictable job and we have plenty of time or we take an emergency call after the first one is done or we have enough time to do another call. I can’t remember how many “simple repair” jobs turn out to be far more than something simple. If that happens you are going to irritate 13 of those 14 customers.

Plus when I’m on your site you are my number one customer. You are all I care about that day. I don’t watch the clock or spend half my time on the phone. Customers are less stressed. Techs are less stressed. Everybody wins.

And you said Wyoming. Pray tell how are you going to do 14 calls a day when it takes over a half hour just to get from one customer to the next? Even in the densely populated Eastern US where I live it’s 15-25 minutes just to get across town and we don’t have “wildlife jams”.

On a rare day I do 3 calls.
 

·
Registered
Water treatment plant maintenance
Joined
·
200 Posts
I'm not ragging on contractors, I'm sure most of you guys do exemplary work, just saying being a water plant employee is a pretty sweet gig. I get paid to be here anyway so as long as the plant is operational I can take as much time as needed to study an issue and understand it then make a fix. I could probably make more money going to work for a contractor but they are all so busy around here with construction there is very much a sense of constant urgency with all of them. Now that we have completely derailed this thread....
 

·
Chief Flunky
Field Service Engineer
Joined
·
2,078 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I'm not ragging on contractors, I'm sure most of you guys do exemplary work, just saying being a water plant employee is a pretty sweet gig. I get paid to be here anyway so as long as the plant is operational I can take as much time as needed to study an issue and understand it then make a fix. I could probably make more money going to work for a contractor but they are all so busy around here with construction there is very much a sense of constant urgency with all of them. Now that we have completely derailed this thread....
Customers hate it when you milk a job so you need to look busy no matter how busy things are. If I slack off at all it won’t be in front of you. If I get done early I get to go home early. In the original post that customer was 4 hours away. On site time was 2 hours. That’s a 10 hour day but it was an emergency call...they called at lunch time so I didn’t get home until 9 PM. Overtime is so plentiful nobody wants it. And I had another job the next day. So you bet I’m going to try to get done reasonably quick. Don’t forget though that many of us make more money the faster we get things done. Service calls are usually hourly so more relaxed.
 

·
Senile Member
I make all the electrons line up for their Flu shots
Joined
·
32,847 Posts
Hell, even Macmikeman has had to go out to fix the toothbrush extractor machine a couple of times...........
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Was called to the local newspaper one afternoon at press time and the press won’t run. “Got to have it running” - you all know the story. Computer showed me it was in the e-stop circuit so I asked the operator and his second if the estop buttons were all checked. Was assured each of them had separately checked them all. There’s about 9 down each side of the printing press and a few more on the cross over bridges. I start at one end taking apart the e-stops to check for loose wires, bad contacts/ blocks - the usual stuff. Fella in white shirt and tie comes to ask if I know whats wrong, how long (it will be a while) and finally can I make the press run. Sure - you get me company letterhead signed by the manager directing me to bypass the safety circuit and you’ll be running. In 5 minutes the manager asks me “can I get more help?”
About half way down one side the help arrives, I scope him out and he starts on one of the bridges when I recall there’s an e-stop hiding underneath the far end of the press and it was backwards to the others - a pull-to-stop that nobody had wanted to spend the few dollars to change. Checked it to find it pulled Instead of pushed. So 2 1/2 hrs straight time, 2 men x 1 hr double time plus lost time on the press run.
The moral? Check everything yourself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,482 Posts
...
Oh yeah we forgot to say we cranked up the controls to push production.
Classic...

"We don't need a bigger motor... we just crank her up, turn up the Overload setting, reset the faults and keep replacing the fuses. What's the problem?"
 
  • Like
Reactions: micromind

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,482 Posts
My favorite "useless" service call was one where I had built a bunch of custom soft starters in NEMA 4 boxes that ended up at a dam construction site in SoCal (my shop was in Seattle at the time). Got a call that the bypass contactors were chattering loudly an they looked "rusty", so I was being accused of using old used parts to build these (I had not). Flew to LA, rented a car and dove 4 hours in LA traffic to get to the site out east of Riverside (Hemet), opened up all of the panels and sure enough, all of the ABB contactors were rusty and chattering. I'm wracking my brains trying to figure this out, thinking "Well, the panels went over the mountains, maybe it was humid the day when they were packed up and in the trip over the mountains, the cold caused that humidity trapped in the box to condense on the pole faces of the contactors and that rusted them?" I was really stretching though... After about an hour of head scratching and replacing the contactors with new ones that I had shipped down ahead of time, a maintenance guy drove by and stopped to talk.

"Oh, looks like you are finally changing out those contactors that got sprayed down by the water truck!"

What?!!

"Oh yeah, when we were hooking them up, the water truck drove by and hosed us down while the doors were open. We dried off all the electronics, but the contactors started rusting a few days later..."

Ca-ching! $$$
Got paid for a 2 day portal to portal service call, parts and travel expenses. The site manager was PISSED when he found out one of his guys spilled the beans.
 
21 - 30 of 30 Posts
Top