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Too fast-paced manufacturing environment for mechanical maintenance engineer

Too fast-paced manufacturing environment for mechanical maintenance engineer

Too fast-paced manufacturing environment for mechanical maintenance engineer

(OP)
In Manufacturing industry there are people who fix the machinery and equipment that manufacture a variety of products like envelopes, cardboard paper, food packing, tin manufacturing machines etc. These people who maintain these machines are called mechanical maintenance engineers. These machines run at very fast speeds (pace) and when they breakdown the mechanical maintenance engineers fix these machines (I am not talking of the breakdown in electrics). Can someone describe the environment as too fast paced for the mechanical maintenance engineer? Because a maintenance engineer only fixes machines when the machines are not running/broken down. Is it a sensible description or ridiculous description? Does the maintenance engineer have to be as fast as these machines to be able to do the job?

Or you can think of it as fixing a racing car. The mechanic can only fix the sports car when it has broken down or when it is in the pit-stop not when it is on the race track. Can someone tell the mechanic that the racing car environment is too fast-paced for the mechanic? Does it make sense? Like I said the mechanic can only fix the sports car when it is stationary. The reason why I am asking is because one maintenance engineer was told by his boss (an Electrician) that the work environment was too fast paced for him and I thought this was not correct, ridiculous even.

RE: Too fast-paced manufacturing environment for mechanical maintenance engineer

"Does the maintenance engineer have to be as fast as these machines...?" - I'm sure the owner would like them to be.

This may have been the boss's way of telling the maintenance engineer they were not working with a sense of urgency. In manufacturing, the number one priority is keeping the machines running (the priority should be safety, but we all know that is not true). The same would be true on the race track: the priority is getting the car back on the track as fast as possible. In both cases, the faster the repair, the more money will be earned.

Good maintenance people know when they can get away with a quick temporary repair until the next scheduled downtime when they can revisit the problem and fix it properly. It may be that this maintenance engineer was attempting to do full repairs when a simple temporary repair would do


The title of Mechanical Maintenance Engineer is interesting. In the US, this would be a strange title for someone who reports to an Electrician. In my experience, such a person is usually referred to as a "technician." More information would be helpful.

RE: Too fast-paced manufacturing environment for mechanical maintenance engineer

(OP)
The boss was an Electrician who lied to the company bosses that he was a mechanical maintenance engineer. The bosses are accountants and marketing people who don’t understand mechanical engineering.
A temporary engineering repair is false economy which might lead to fatal accidents and major breakdowns - long breakdowns. A stitch in time saves nine. If the one tear is not stitched properly there will be a need for more than nine stitches to reckon with sooner rather than later.
The racing car repair in the pit stop is not temporary - its permanent. A temporary one would eventually kill the driver. There is nothing as dangerous as a temporary repair (band-aid approach) - what happens is someone is killed? Which is more important people’s lives or production?
(see - http://www.shellnews.net/documents/CampbellBundleC...).

RE: Too fast-paced manufacturing environment for mechanical maintenance engineer

I am certainly not suggesting that any repair be done unsafely. Indeed all energized equipment conveys some level of a safety risk, and human life should always be valued above all else. However, not all breakdowns present a safety risk. Sometimes a safe repair can be done without determining the root cause or preventing future breakdowns. This approach only works if you have planned downtime to address the root cause. Clearly this was not done in the case of the article that you linked.

Without knowing the specifics of these repairs, it is impossible to determine whether or not this mechanical maintenance engineer was being asked to repair equipment in an unsafe manner, or that they simply work too slowly. Seeing this too many times in the industry, I suspect that it is the former. In that case, the aforementioned mechanical maintenance engineer should start looking for a new position, then informing top management that they are being asked to put someone's life in danger. I'd also recommend that they continue to repair the equipment correctly, and document each time their supervisor asks for an unsafe repair instead.

Chris

RE: Too fast-paced manufacturing environment for mechanical maintenance engineer

(OP)
Hi Chris
This mechanical maintenance engineer was being asked to repair envelope manufacturing machinery and equipment. The person who uttered the statement "too fast-paced an environment" was/is an Electrician and did not know what he was talking about. Mechanical breakdowns are not uniform - some take days to repair and others take half an hour depending on the complexity of the breakdown. In other words, some breakdowns are big and some are small, one cannot really put time on breakdowns.

RE: Too fast-paced manufacturing environment for mechanical maintenance engineer

I can only imagine what the (former) Electrician is hearing from his or her manager. If I were this mechanical maintenance engineer, I would be prepared to explain in detail what the repair is, how long it takes, why it is being performed, and perhaps some steps that can be taken to prevent further breakdowns. It is common for management to yell that maintenance is not working fast enough, especially when revenue is being lost to downtime. However, it is certainly no excuse for skipping any safety measures.

If, after explaining their work to their supervisor, this maintenance engineer finds themselves continually getting yelled at or formally disciplined, it is time for them to move on to a different job.

Chris

RE: Too fast-paced manufacturing environment for mechanical maintenance engineer

I agree with you both, but would like to add some remarks.

To me it seems like the old story of the man(electrican) laying the blame on the horse when he overloaded the wagon.

A mechanical maintenance job is as any mechanical job. When the job don't differ at all from jobs done before, it is possible to prepare, have necessary tools and parts ready, and do the job within a stipulated timeframe. Most unplanned maintenance work by unplanned breakdown is not like this.

Your story tells us that the factory do not have an effective, planned maintenance system. This includes plans and quality machinery/components and requirements for a given running time before planned maintenance stops.

If the factory management is not interested in this aspect it will be hopeless to turn the factory system around.

The best advice then would be to find a job another place with a more democrtic minded leadership.

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