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Old April 2nd, 2010, 06:56 PM   #1
bwhite
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OT: I Can Only Laugh Now

I've enjoyed reading the "funnies" thread. Thought I'd start one on "Our Clients".

The company I work for observes "Good Friday" as a holiday so I had today off. Sleeping in late this morning, I had intentions of loading my motorcycle and heading up to Georgia (USA) to spend Easter weekend with my sister. I got the "dreaded holiday phone call" about 0900 this morning. Client is having a dire emergency. Gotta do what ya gotta do, right? It's the nature of our business. Get a quick shower and out the door I go thinking I can fix this in 15 minutes from the description of the problem that was told to me. WRONG!

After 5 hours of trying to decipher what the operators were trying to tell me, I zeroed in on the problem.

I'm just wondering how many of you have gone through the following conversation with operators in trying to fix a problem?

Me: Was the system in Automatic Mode?
Them: Nah, we like to run it in Manual Mode.
Me: Um,,,,, gulp, the system was designed to run in Automatic. If the system is in Manual, the valve wonít switch states unless you tell it to.
Them: Itís supposed to switch if the pH is low or high by itself
Me: Yessir, it sure is and it will if the system is in Automatic. If it doesnít, then you need to call me so I can fix it.
Them: Thatís why Iím calling you!
Me: Was the system in Automatic when the valve failed to switch?
Them: No, we like to run the system in Manual mode.
Me: Sir, the valve will not switch by itself if the system is in Manual
Them: Thatís why Iím calling you!
Me: (Back outside to hot box a cigarette and ask God for patience. )

Haven't loaded my motorcycle yet but I sure am enjoying this Johnny Walker Black drink.

What are some of your funny stories?
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 03:39 AM   #2
Goody
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telephone conversation 2 weeks ago; 22:00 Hours

them; hey remember you installed our finger car about 2 years ago
me; it was more like 6 years ago
them; 6 years, really. Time flies eh. Well we have a problem with it
me; you want me to come out?
them; not if we can help it, you will charge us a call-out fee
me; yes, and i will repair it
them; let's see if we can repair it on the telephone
me; what is the problem?
them; everytime we try move the finger car down the rails, it trips the breaker marked 24 Volts
(there now ensuse a long conversation with me going through the 'have you tried this' routine) They tell me the machine has been down now for 4 hours while they have swapped out just about every component. The factory is at a standstill waiting for this finger car to be repaired.
I have even brought up the drawings on my computer - and gone through what it could possibly be. - then I get to

me; have you checked the bleeper that warns that finger car is moving
them; oh we disconnected that years ago, it just annoyed us.
me; If you want it fixing tonight, I have to come tonight.
them; But you are expensive A LONG SILENT PAUSE ok, if you must come in come now and don't be too long, the factory is stood.

First thing I see when I open the panel is something extra wired in the panel, wired in rubber flex that is perishing.

me; what's this wire for
them; for a orange flashing light we put in instead of the annoying bleeper.
Tested wire - result dead short, disconnected, the machine works perfectly again.
Them; we have to pay you a callout for 10 minutes work?
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 11:02 AM   #3
MasterBlaster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goody View Post
telephone conversation 2 weeks ago; 22:00 Hours

them; hey remember you installed our finger car about 2 years ago
me; it was more like 6 years ago
them; 6 years, really. Time flies eh. Well we have a problem with it
me; you want me to come out?
them; not if we can help it, you will charge us a call-out fee
me; yes, and i will repair it
them; let's see if we can repair it on the telephone
me; what is the problem?
them; everytime we try move the finger car down the rails, it trips the breaker marked 24 Volts
(there now ensuse a long conversation with me going through the 'have you tried this' routine) They tell me the machine has been down now for 4 hours while they have swapped out just about every component. The factory is at a standstill waiting for this finger car to be repaired.
I have even brought up the drawings on my computer - and gone through what it could possibly be. - then I get to

me; have you checked the bleeper that warns that finger car is moving
them; oh we disconnected that years ago, it just annoyed us.
me; If you want it fixing tonight, I have to come tonight.
them; But you are expensive A LONG SILENT PAUSE ok, if you must come in come now and don't be too long, the factory is stood.

First thing I see when I open the panel is something extra wired in the panel, wired in rubber flex that is perishing.

me; what's this wire for
them; for a orange flashing light we put in instead of the annoying bleeper.
Tested wire - result dead short, disconnected, the machine works perfectly again.
Them; we have to pay you a callout for 10 minutes work?
Mine usually end with: $200 to disconnect (or connect) ONE wire?

No, says me. Only $2.00 for that. $198 for knowing WHICH wire!

Silence ensues.

Bill
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Old April 4th, 2010, 05:49 AM   #4
daba
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After what seemed like hours on the phone to a customer's sparkie, trying to fix a total failure of the control system, during which time I must have mentioned at least 3 times that I thought the main power supply board fuse had blown, I eventually agreed to a service visit.

Not a trivial undertaking, as the customer was in Brussels, so I had to fly there, got picked up at the airport, then a 1 hour drive to the factory.

Opened up the panel, and immediately saw that the main power supply fuse was blackened and blown. Popped in a new one and everything was fine.

Total cost to the customer, several hundred pounds.
Cost of the component, a couple of pennies !
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Old April 4th, 2010, 06:54 AM   #5
manmeetvirdi
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Flew all the way to Cali Coloumbia via France only to interchange the profibus wires (Red and Green) !!!!!!

Completed the job in 1 hour. Total to and fro time taken 10 days.

Maintenance HOD expression -->
Maintenance guy expression -->

My Boss Expression -->
My Expression -->



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Old April 5th, 2010, 12:37 AM   #6
Maintenance Man
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Thumbs up

After reading these posts, I have to smile to myself, because companies will pay large amounts of money to have qualified techs get their equipment up and running as soon as possible. I am going to school part time, working on an associate degree in applied science (Mechatronics systems). I also have over 17 years experience in the maintenance field. Most companies only have very basic training for their maintenance people; which usually results in factory training seminars that only last a week. Donít get me wrong, there are many good maintenance people working in the industry, which is the result of being self motivated, willing to learn on their own and years of experience in the field. For a company to keep good qualified people, they must treat people well and have good pay and benefits. I feel the key to being a great technician, is to have a good solid foundational education with experience in the field. Having a good attitude, willing to make the client feel you truly want to help them with their problem, will make one very successful. With that all said; companies that do not have good pay, benefits, lousy training and treat their employees like dirt are gold mines for well trained technicians, to come in their plants to make things run again.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 01:39 AM   #7
Peter Nachtwey
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I think it is sad.

Too much money is wasted in lost productivity. What is worse is if these guys can't keep a running system running then they have no chance of making a running system run better. It also speaks poorly of management that doesn't see the advantages of knowing how their machines work.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 09:08 AM   #8
milldrone
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I was a night shift sparky in a large sawmill. One night a call came over the intercom for the sparky to troubleshoot the lumber sorter. The sorter chaser's complaint was: "I changed the bin full light bulb out three times and it's still on".
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Old April 5th, 2010, 09:56 AM   #9
Andybr
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A few years ago I was called to one of our plants at 2.00 in the morning because they could not get a newly installed process line to run. After a 3 hour drive I walked into the plant and 5 minutes later the line was starting up. When asked what was wrong I informed them that I had just pressed the start button and everything had kicked in as expected.
Start Button?
Yes the green button with "Start" written above it.
Nobody told us we had to do that came the reply.
C'est la vie.
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Old April 5th, 2010, 10:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Nachtwey View Post
Too much money is wasted in lost productivity. What is worse is if these guys can't keep a running system running then they have no chance of making a running system run better. It also speaks poorly of management that doesn't see the advantages of knowing how their machines work.
For sure. Too many companies these days can't or won't provide ANY training to the maintenance guys. But they all yell when the line is down, or "underperforming". My favorite comment was" We can cut back on maintenance, the equipment rarely ever goes down".
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Old April 5th, 2010, 12:30 PM   #11
mordred
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My all time favourite was when I recieved a phone call at home one evening.

conversation went like this.

"Can you tell me whats down"
"whole thing down all back can you come in"
"can you describe the problem a little better"
"everything not work can you come in"
after going through this a couple of times I gave up and came in.

Pressed one button on the server that runs the scanning systems went to the Supervisor on shift.

"Whole thing work thanks for the 4 hour call-in "

best part was he did this 4 times in the same week.

after my boss saw the call-ins the supervisor was no longer allowed to call me direct but call my boss first.
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Old April 6th, 2010, 01:37 PM   #12
stooperbike
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One night I got a call from a service tech from my company, he was out at the customer site and could not get the machine running. This is the phone conversation:
me:Hello (its 2am)
Dave:Yea, I am out here at ##### and the system wont turn on.
me:ok
Dave:Yea, I need you out here right away
me:Why?
Dave:cause the system is not running so you need to come out here right away!
me: Does it have power?
Dave:Yes
Me: Did you push the start button?
Dave:Yes, but nothing happened.
Me:OK, open the panel and make sure the PLC sees the start button input
Dave: I cant
Me:Why Not?
Dave: Cause I left, i have to get home, have a busy day tomorrow
Me:You did what? Are you kidding me?
Dave:Can you get out there?
I hung up the phone, drove out and pulled the Estop button out. Had a very long conversation with Daves boss the next day. Dave would not speak to me for months!
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Old April 6th, 2010, 04:09 PM   #13
davidg68124
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I once had a client that liked to 'tinker' alot. Well he decided to work with a SEw system that I set up with electronic syncing.

He could not get it to start up. He had been there for hours when he finally called me at 2 in the morning. It was an hour drive and I did ask him if the power was on and he reassured me it was.

Well when I walked in, looked in the panel at the drive, I reached over to the circuit breaker and flipped it on. The system took off after I pressed the start button. He literally beat his head against the wall. I never said anything about, I just went back home to bed.

David
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Old April 8th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #14
RMA
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Quote:
My favorite comment was" We can cut back on maintenance, the equipment rarely ever goes down".
I earned good money for 20 years because of something like this. I installed 18 process control systems for Bayer in 1980 - 81. Bayer policy is (or at least, it was then) to circulate middle and senior management every three years, needless to say the new guy wants to look good as quickly as possible and saving money always looks good. The converstaion must have been something like "Why are we paying so much money for this maintenance contract (it was very expensive, something like 100 k GBP/year iIrc), when was the last time the system went down?" Answer: "Oh ages ago, it hardly ever fails.". Manager: "OK, cancel the contract."

The system would run for about two years and slowly the problems would increase. After, at most, about three years I would get called back to sort out the mess. The last time was in 2001 when the system responsible for the waste water treatment went down - the whole site had been shut down for over a week before they found me (I'd moved house in between times) - it must have cost a fortune in lost production!
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Old April 8th, 2010, 09:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RMA View Post
I earned good money for 20 years because of something like this. I installed 18 process control systems for Bayer in 1980 - 81. Bayer policy is (or at least, it was then) to circulate middle and senior management every three years, needless to say the new guy wants to look good as quickly as possible and saving money always looks good. The converstaion must have been something like "Why are we paying so much money for this maintenance contract (it was very expensive, something like 100 k GBP/year iIrc), when was the last time the system went down?" Answer: "Oh ages ago, it hardly ever fails.". Manager: "OK, cancel the contract."

The system would run for about two years and slowly the problems would increase. After, at most, about three years I would get called back to sort out the mess. The last time was in 2001 when the system responsible for the waste water treatment went down - the whole site had been shut down for over a week before they found me (I'd moved house in between times) - it must have cost a fortune in lost production!
Yes, but by that time , I'm sure the manager had been promoted to "bigger and better" opportunities. I can see his resume now........"...saved the company $XXX,XXX dollars by eliminating wasteful and unneeded maintenance contracts...."

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