Thanks, Paddlej. I agree that good suppliers can help with trouble shooting, especially when things don't make sense. Do you have any stories about trouble shooting? We're always looking for new Sherlock Ohms case studies. If you do, please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fantastic article, well done. I can't emphasize it enough the importance in working with reputable pump manufacturers when designing a system. The supplier can analyze your system and recommend what is needed. Then, you always have someone to go back to in case something goes wrong. Again thanks for the story, and keep up the great work.
The value of a vendor/customer relationship is so beneficial to both parties. It's too bad that more industries don't follow the example and work more with vendors. Often, there are groups within a company that's sole focus is to remove cost from the product, often by changing vendors.
I've seen cost improvement projects that saved dimes worth of cost and results in dollars worth of additional service cost.
I've worked at a water pumping station where the discharge valves are very slow and thus can cause the pump to run backward for some time while the power is off.
When centrifugal pumps run backwards they're not balanced as well as they are when they spin forward. In fact, the reinforced concrete floor to which pumps I worked with shook when they spun backward. That doesn't happen when they're rotating in the correct direction.
Another thing is that modern VFD controls have the ability to do a flying start without hurting anything or even popping a breaker. We'd have used them on this job except that ten years ago, while the design was going on, medium voltage flying start features were still quite expensive.
In some respects, the new stuff is making much of the older tricks irrelevant.
I'd bet there's a connection between the commoditization/automation of the complex, high-quality thought processes that, apparently, only humans can do, such as William K describes, and the refusal of so many managers to look at unpleasant facts on the ground that affect their profits, as we've discussed in several different blog threads, and most recently written up in TJ's excellent article on Responsibility & Integrity:
Good points Jmiller. Good vendors will work to make sure their solutions provide real value and not trouble or backfires along the way. A good vendor is going to be involved with a customer over a prolonged period, so any solution that saves $$ in the short term but produces difficulties down the road is not in the vendors interest any more than it's not in the customer's best interest. The major vendors in the automation and control industry seem to have strong long-term relationships with their customers, where it's more like a partnership.
And often a good vendor will sell someone in the company on how they can do what you do at less cost. However, that tends not to work because at some point the company will need someone to come in on a weekend or go outside of the scope of what the vendors deliver or just maybe fill in for another key function that is gone.
These tend to be the times when short sighted management results in a company that can't do what they need to do. All the more reason for managers to completely understand all the functions of their team members as well as focus on relationships with those employees.
Rob, If a vendor were able to somehow commoditize my functions, it is quite probable that they would need to charge so much for that service that it would be non-competitive with my cost. At least that is what I hope to have be the situation. Of course, while all of my capabilities are available to my employer, I don't usually identify them all to any vendor that I think is attempting to unseat me. The loyalty does indeed go to the organization that signs the paycheck, after all.
My situation has not been such that my employers would be seeking to do that anyway, since I was either part of a small company or of a small team of people with specialized knoledge and skill sets.
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