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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The so called training program where I currently work is mostly non existent. Pretty much if your not fired in 4 years you are a full electrician. Cept after 4 years they throw in a seat of the pants test project for which no training has ever been administered.

I’m trying to get some things on paper. Like what exactly these poor souls are expected to know at the end of their 4 years. That way the have a clue what they should be studying.

Things like:
1. Size a contactor, overload, conductor, conduit for a xxxx KW motor.

2 build an mcc bucket up from scratch using discrete parts.

3. Replace a control component such as 800t button or sensor.


What things do you all think it’s important for a plant electrician to know? Thanks.


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Ready Mix concrete plant electrician
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Properly size a motor circuit fuse. Off the top of your head give the approximate FLA on a motor and what size wire should be pulled.
 

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Scada Supervisor
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You should target it by year, so things can be made up if the opportunity don't come up enough.
Year one:
Know safety procedures.
Run pipe.
Trouble shoot a basic motor circuit.
Year two:
Size wire and pipe for a conduit run.
Draw basic control circuits.
Year three
Draw prints and size everything for a new motor circuit.
Understand how a PLC controls a machine.
Year Four:
Know what every control device used in the plant does and how it operates.
Build a whole control circuit for a operation.

This is just a concept and needs to be tailored to your plant. Also offering training to accomplish the above is the key.

Cowboy
 

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Electrician
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Is that 4 years starting from zero, or 4 years at this facility? Lots of difference.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Is that 4 years starting from zero, or 4 years at this facility? Lots of difference.
Starting from zero. Candidate must have an interest in associated hobby like Ham radio or pc programming is what our book says.

The goal is not to turn out an electrician that can get a job anywhere doing anything electrical. It’s just to turn out someone who can t/s and repair plant electrical things.

We have a master electrician designation for the higher tech things and things that require in-depth theoretical knowledge.


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Coffee drinking member
I pretwist and then use wire nuts. Solder pots rule.
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The MCC bucket is great. Toss in remote stop/start buttons with indicator lights, add a personal safety and an equipment safety.
Set up a troubleshooting run on an old bucket with the above and watch how he does.
Ask to see the note book he’s carried these past few years, if he pulls it out of his pocket and won’t let you see inside it, it’s an extra point for a passing grade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Do you have any medium voltage in the plant that they work with/around?
4160. I refuse to work with it till I get proper training. We really don’t have much to do with it in general.


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4160. I refuse to work with it till I get proper training. We really don’t have much to do with it in general.
If you don't do it often stay away from it, my guys were trained but we found out that only doing PM's once a year don't keep it at the front of the mind.
 

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IMHO, the trade is bigger than anyone can pack into a 4 year apprenticeship. Doesn't your trades authority have a syllabus to follow for certification?

I apprenticed in construction and machinery build-out, then got into plant/maintenance work later. I think it would be really tough to get a well-rounded apprenticeship in most plant environments.

I'm seeing several on-the-job suggestions for things that we did in the classroom (drawings, MCC mockup, programming, high-voltage, etc.) The on-job time is for becoming proficient with your hands and tools in order to safely install pre-determined equipment, in a variety of venues, in a workmanlike manner. I was mainly left to gel the two on my own, thinking-through why I'm installing what and how; and challenging it when it didn't add up.

For plant work... developing troubleshooting skills is key. You also need to learn the plant inside and out within the context of your trade, because you are the primary on-site support. When you switch plants, you start over! Plan on having to find and learn vendor documentation frequently. Nowadays, installations and major modifications are often contracted out - so you may not even get that exposure. But... you'll be left to deal with it all after the contractor leaves. ;)
 

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motors and controls.........
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The biggest thing about plant work is to be able to hack something together in order to get it running (we're losing 50,000,000,000 a minute) then be able to live with never being given the time to go back and do it right.

Or maybe have the discipline to do it right the first time.............took me a while to learn this..........
 

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4160. I refuse to work with it till I get proper training. We really don’t have much to do with it in general.


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Then you must have contractors coming in to do it for you. Start following them around, watch, ask questions, take notes. You will learn far more from that than a training room, IMHO.

I've had no formal training with MV but consider myself reasonably competent at it. I learned from others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The biggest thing about plant work is to be able to hack something together in order to get it running (we're losing 50,000,000,000 a minute) then be able to live with never being given the time to go back and do it right.

Or maybe have the discipline to do it right the first time.............took me a while to learn this..........
Very true. Before I got stuck in a single plant I was a roving service tech. I adopted this strategy and still use it: kick it upstairs, let others make that decision.
As a tech I often wouldn’t know the customer so I’d have to be tactful “ well we could do ‘this’ but it’s not quite right and might not pass inspection but it will get you running today”. Sometimes that’s what they wanted sometimes they wanted it done right even with the extra time cost.
Now I do the same thing but with my boss. I mostly know what he wants but still force him to make the call every time.
It’s my ultimate CYA and stress free attitude. I always give the customer (or boss) all the information they need to make the right decision. Then I absolve myself of responsibility and gleefully complete whatever work is directed to be done.


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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
IMHO, the trade is bigger than anyone can pack into a 4 year apprenticeship. Doesn't your trades authority have a syllabus to follow for certification?

;)
Absolutely right! This trade is bigger than you can pack into an entire career. Luckily I’m not trying to turn out well rounded electricians. Just individuals that can keep the plant running.
It’s mostly that nowhere is it defined what electricians here need to know. Right now the entirety of training is a nasty mike holt book that has little to nothing to do with the work here. So I want to make a list of skills so these poor souls have some inkling of what they need to work on.


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Then you must have contractors coming in to do it for you. Start following them around, watch, ask questions, take notes. You will learn far more from that than a training room, IMHO.

I've had no formal training with MV but consider myself reasonably competent at it. I learned from others.
Nope. Not gonna learn it that way just like I’m not gonna learn to fly a helicopter from YouTube. I’ll tackle most anything with a good book and some research and experimentation but there’s some risks I don’t think are worth it.


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I pretwist and then use wire nuts. Solder pots rule.
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The good thing about working in the same building or facility for many years is that you can walk in the door and just know something is wrong. You can walk into a machanical room and hear which pump, air handler or whatever and know which one and what's wrong just by the sound, smell or feel of the area.
 

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Electron Factory.Worker
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The biggest thing about plant work is to be able to hack something together in order to get it running (we're losing 50,000,000,000 a minute) then be able to live with never being given the time to go back and do it right.

Or maybe have the discipline to do it right the first time.............took me a while to learn this..........
We always refer to that as a “permatemp” fix.😁
 

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Electron Factory.Worker
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4160. I refuse to work with it till I get proper training. We really don’t have much to do with it in general.


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The reason I ask is because it’s super important that they’re able to recognize MV equipment. Don’t want them putting a fluke on a live 4160v fuse thinking it’s 480V. It has happened and the results are catastrophic.
 
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