The Lowly Engineer
  • Adventures

    Flame On

    One evening while doing plant rounds I noticed something odd out of the corner of my eye. Flames coming out of the top of the front burner plate of boiler #1! My training and experience kicked in and the first thing I did was run to the plant office and get my camera. I had heard of this happening and had seen pictures of it but never in person. After the photo shoot I secured boiler 1 and had boiler 3 online. What an adventure!

     

     

  • Adventures

    Does Anybody Work Here Anymore?

    Well, it’s true. The stationary engineer / boiler operator is a dying trade. There is not enough young people interested in this type of work.

    One way to make sure you keep the employees you have is by giving them some incentive. For example, let them know they are thought of and you care about their well being.  If an employee doesn’t show up for work and there is no reason why (even though his time off was already approved), why not call the local police department to check on them and break into their house.

    When the employee gets home and finds police officers all over his property, they can then have a discussion about the golf outing and what he scored.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  • Adventures

    Fast Easy Way To Shutdown Plant

    We were having a new refrigerant monitor system installed in the plant and the service tech asked where the breakers were located for the two areas he was was installing the equipment. Locating the one for the main monitor was easy, everything was marked. The remote monitor wasn’t that clear cut. After locating a panel I saw a breaker marked flow meter. We used to have a city water pressure monitor installed where the new remote monitor was being mounted, so I switched it off. Bad idea. it shutdown the boilers! While I was trying to get the boilers back online, the service tech come by and said he didn’t need the breaker off, he installed while the circuit was live. A plant shutdown, switching a 20 amp breaker off, wasn’t required. I hate when these incidents are self induced. Oh, the breaker was for the steam flow indicators.

    Make sure your MCC breakers are clearly marked before experimenting to find the right one.