Sherlock Ohms

Running Robots off the Cuff

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Been There Done That
bobjengr   3/3/2013 5:29:06 PM
I can agree with this one wholeheartedly.   It's amazing to me how engineering "types", myself included, get to solve and / or fix a great number of problems created by 1.) Budgetary restraints, 2.) Management, generally non-technical management, 3.) Extremely short time frames, 4.) "The boys in engineering will handle that" mentality, 5.) That's not my responsibility,  etc etc.   Luckily, this problem could be addressed and solved.  Some cannot and with this being the case, the poor engineer and / or technician usually takes it on the chin.  My career spans about 40 years; 1966 to present day and this seems to never change.   Some how, "technical types" are expected to have all of the answers.  In a perfect world, this would not happen. 

Ralphy Boy
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Re: A familiar story...
Ralphy Boy   3/4/2013 5:46:36 PM

Gee, I just started a commotion here last week with an email that was about the same kind'a assumptions of compatibility being made. The Ford robot replacement screw-up example is on a much grander scale, and immensely more expensive to resolve I'm sure. Still... this stuff happens at all levels.

Remember the Mars Lander where metric and standard were switched, or not switched as the case may be. When I talked to our Managing Quality Engineer Thursday about some non-updated duel use prints that I had been asked to make a fixture to match, and a separate inaccurate mass callout for the fixture that could have created havoc with our test equipment... My input was simple.

Get everybody on the same page.

And hey TunaFish... We had a situation arise here a couple years ago where someone pulled the torque rating for a standard 1.5D thread engagement for a steel screw and nut but applied that to a thin tapped copper bus bar with about 3 threads.

They didn't catch it until a whole day's worth of those units was messed up... because not every one of them was stripping outright. They thought it was the tapped bus bars' fault until someone checked the recommended torque for 3 threads in copper...  

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Too much Chest Thumping
Tool_maker   3/5/2013 1:14:02 PM
  I can not recall any story that has brought forth so much finger pointing and downright braggadocio. In the old days we called it, "Doing our job". The whole story that started this string was about rigging incorrect items to perform a function at a level below what they should perform. That should have triggered a response to purchasing to get the right equipment: end of story. Instead the company has been left with items that are probably unrepairable and ill preforming. Who cares if it was a degreed engineer, a technician or a passing janitor. Enough of the name calling.

  Every company is set up with different levels of responsibility and we are all over worked and under paid. This whole discussion turned into who could tell the biggest tale first. We all have jobs to do and probably do them to our best ability and with pride. And I would be willing to bet everyone reading this has commited at least one error, who somebody else had to fix and could be the subject of a new story.

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Cadman-LT   3/9/2013 12:50:07 PM
All I can say is.....so are the days.

User Rank
Re: Been there, done that...
GlennA   3/24/2013 9:36:42 PM
Vyper3000;  As a former electro-mechanical technologist, and now a journeyman electrician and millwright, I have had my share of run-ins with electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, salesmen, saleswomen, managers, and even other electricians and millwrights.  The bottom line that I go by is:  If I fixed the problem, I get to say what the problem was.  And in Automotive especially, I have seen a lot of incompetence in engineers promoted to senior positions.

William K.
User Rank
Interesting set of responses, indeed.
William K.   4/2/2013 8:16:03 PM
There certainly is a wide spread of experiences that different folks have had with different engineer attitudes. Unfortunately the field has produced a few "Prima Donnas", but they are not representative of the whole herd, trust me on that. Just like preachers and teachers, there are all kinds.

I have always held that the way to be a good engineer is to have some level of competence in all of the areas that your overall product includes. That is the way that the software designer can understand the molding issues when the code winds up needing another memory chip, and the PCB thus needs to grow a bit. I also believe that engineers must be able to repair the products they design, at least a few of them. Not only does that provide insights toward improving reliability, but it also serves to provide an understanding about serviceability. And as for those organizations that design products that should be repairable but are not: I Hope you go broke! OUt of business! Closed down for good!

About those who neglected to verify that the previous design would support the new hardware, it would not hurt them at all to spend a few shifts putting new cables on those robots. Generally there is lots of room to work on the third maintenance shift. And it is a great education.


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