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The INFAMOUS

"RULES OF INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE"

In manufacturing plants world wide, there are two sets of people that are constantly thinking about machine run time and interacting with the machines and the machine operators. The Manager, and the Technician.

The Manager lives in a world where the equipment has  "mechanical opportunities" and "issues" that "need to be addressed".  The Technician lives in a world of malfunctions and catastrophic failures that have to be repaired in as little time and with fewer resources than a normal person would think possible.

This list is dedicated to the Technicians all over the world that do battle on a daily basis with those gremlins that live in every machine, just waiting to wreak havoc.

 
 
  • A self adjusting clutch, isn't.
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  • A self sealing fitting won't.
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  • Interchangeable parts aren't.
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  • The term "Maintenance free" is only a sales gimmick. there is no such thing.
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  • Maintenance free DOES mean it will be impossible to repair once it does break.


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  • The more difficult a bolt is to get at, the more Loctite® it will have on it.
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  • The probability of needing a tool that is still in your tool box is directly proportional to the distance between you and your toolbox.
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  • If a trouble-shooting guide starts with "Is the unit plugged in" throw the damn thing away.
  • Check to see if the unit is plugged in prior to any other trouble-shooting steps. 
  • If at first you don't succeed, call someone else in.


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  • If the word "precision" is used to describe it, use a smaller hammer to adjust it.
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  • All repairs are temporary, All problems are permanent.
  • Teamwork is essential for the industrial technician. It gives the machine operators someone else to blame. 
  • If you finally trace a problem down to one component, it WILL be the one that's out of stock.
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  • If finding the problem was easy, then it wasn't the real problem.

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  • The reliability of a machine is inversely proportional to the urgency of the order you are running.
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  • If it sounded stupid, but it worked, then it wasn't stupid.
  • If it sounded like a good idea, but it didn't work, then it wasn't a good idea.
  • Everything always works in theory, it only quits when you bolt it to a machine.
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  • The more something costs the further you will have to send it away to be repaired.

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  • The most dangerous thing in the world is a manager with a wrench.
  • Hands-on experience is something you get just after you really needed it.
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  • The most difficult part on a machine to get at is the one that will go out first and most often.
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  • The second you take a break, or go to the bathroom, you WILL be paged.
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  • NEVER tell a machine operator you are bored.

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  • Smoke is an excellent indication that the electrical problem isn't fixed.
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  • If the hook-up instructions on a new electrical component are printed in Japanese, simply match the wire colors, and don't stand too close when the power is applied.
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  • The wrench you loose on your shift, the machine WILL find on the next shift.
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  • When the next adjustment that comes to mind involves a cutting torch and a sledge hammer, it's probably time for a break.
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  • WD-40® is the "holy water" of industrial technicians. Coffee is a VERY close second.

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  • NEVER ask "What else can go wrong?"...A machine or an operator will be happy to show you.
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  • If there is only one grease rag within arms reach it WILL be greasier than whatever it is you were needing to wipe off.
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  • When an operator has a bad day, so will the maintenance technician.
  • Machines have a higher probability of malfunction as the end of shift approaches. (This probability increases exponentially if it's the last shift before a holiday)
  • When needing a tool from your tool box, you will always open at least one wrong drawer first.

  • Loaned tools will never be seen again.
  • Never allow any mechanical object to realize that you are in a hurry. 
  • All machines have a personality, some are psychotic.

 

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Page last updated 10/01/2009