Techno Nerd learns that Rebuilding is NOT a Piece of Cake!
Day One: This transmission is from a Froreip table. Today's directive:
Gears & Bearings, Gears & Bearings: Two pages of bearings all varied but important. My task today is to locate the distributor for each of these. Using a quality bearing is an important lesson learned, especially when the project is so big. Customer deserve high quality parts that aid in the longevity of the transmission. Like a machine tool rebuild this transmission needs to run like #new.
That is what the customer is paying for. In my apprenticship, I have learned over the months that quality is of the utmost importance.
Rossi Machinery Services has customers that have worked with them since the company's establishment! Going the extra mile is the motto here at Rossi Machinery Services, and I am becoming a believer. I discovered first hand what a reputation can do.
When Mr. Rossi advises a customer, they know he has their best interests in mind. He doesn't always sell them --sometimes he advises them not to do a project. They appreciate that a lot.
Things get complicated learning a trade. The complication is different than college but is still intense in its own way. Parts and machines are expensive. Customers rely on the technician to be knowledgeable & talented. This trade is keeps #manufacturers running, their equipment up-to-date and extends the life of equipment that runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Although I had only a minor role in this project, I am appreciating the work and learning a hands on trade is challenging. Still I have a sense of accomplishment. I can't wait until this project is finished and re-installed on the Froreip VTL.
The challenge is rewarding. Knowing that someday I will learn to navigate most every machine, troubleshoot the issues and make the repairs, is satisfying to me. I've said this before, but I am up for the challenge. Learning mechanical, electrical, hydraulics, leveling, troubleshooting and even product lines, I have a long way to go, but this transmission is a good start.
What's a digital readout system?
So the question asked of me today:
What do you think a digital readout does? Viewing the pieces that are attached to the machine I notice that there's this long metal rod-type thing attached to part of the machine, but not all of it. There are cables coming from the long rod attachment to the display. Numbers are all over the screen. What does it mean? I'm about to investigate and find out.
Starting with Rossi Machinery Services' premier, lines: Heidenhain and Acu-rite I found plenty of good information. Take a look!
Digital readout systems (or position display units) and interface electronics from HEIDNHAIN offer increased accuracy and quality control in myriad applications. From metalworking to measuring microscopes, these products are as easy to use as they are effective.
After reading this summary from Heidenhain, (We're a long time distributor for Heidenhain) I realized that the rod, which is really called the scale or linear encoder, does the measuring that the machinist use to do by hand. Now, I am told that I WILL need a crash course on measuring , but that is for another story for another day. The measurement is displayed on the console or display:
Linear encoders come absolute and incremental. After researching their meanings I began to understand the difference. The Absolute linear encoder will remember where it is if a power outage occurs. That seems an important feature to consider when purchasing a linear encoder.
Absolute linear encoders require no previous traverse to provide the current position value. The encoder transmits the absolute value through the EnDat interface or another serial interface.
With incremental linear encoders,the current position is determined by starting at a datum (the measuring point) and counting measuring steps, or by subdividing and counting signal periods. Incremental encoders from HEIDENHAIN feature reference marks, which must be scanned after switch-on to reestablish the datum. This process is especially simple and fast with distance-coded reference marks.
Acu-Rite ,which we are also a long-time distributor for, provides great valued-priced digital readout systems for most applications. Heidenhain is a must if you have the need for highly precise measuring.
Another fact that I learned today is that Rossi Machinery Services installs their products, and provides something that the catalog suppliers don't: Support. This is key as with each of these systems there are many different applications that come loaded in the software. Some of the products are directly used with lathes while others are for milling and grinding. Finding the right product for your needs is going to be easy with Rossi Machinery Services. I am to continue my education on this - the first of the many products that Rossi Machinery Services provides to manufacturing - and really beyond.
Another exciting day with so many facts and products, I realize that I have just touched the tip of this topic. Stay tuned as I learn more about all of the products, services and upgrades that we provide.
I like that I am involved with a company that covers so much ground for their customers!
Lesson One: Don't assume anything!
My path to college, determined at first my breath by my doting parents, abruptly haulted in my second semester of my junior year at our local public university. Smart enough to realize that I just couldn't see myself grinding away in the traditional college career path, I dropped out in search of my future. Naturally my parents, deflated by my decision ,tried to support me, but not knowing anything about the trades, they were naturally concerned.
For me, knowing that I had an interest in how things are made, how things go together, and how they come apart, I applied for the apprenticeship position at a local machine tool rebuild, repair and product company - Rossi Machinery Services. They were a long time company that had an impressive customer list. Since I had experience in virtually every type of overview class -advertising (intro to advertising), sales (intro to sales) marketing (intro to marketing), math, science and on and on, Mr. Rossi took a chance on me.
I figured that I was bright, competitive, curious and college educated. This trade would be an easy career. Certainly I was looking forward to learning it.
Trades. Easy right?
Not so fast.
Deeming myself the techno nerd, I also brought computer skills, writing and critical thinking skills to this apprenticeship. Rossi Machinery Services would show me the ropes. Six months and I will have a career- that I was sure of!
FIRST DAY/FIRST PROJECT: Find a replacement part. Easy peasy...
-Starting with the machine's manufacturer, I found out quickly that despite my information complete with the part number, no where on this good gosh earth did an exact replacement part exist.
How can that be? Luckily I had several leads from different vendors...maybe here, maybe there but ultimately I determined that this part does not exist. In college I would find the answer in a book or the internet. Certainly Amazon or Walmart had the part---right?
A simple answer for each issue easily solved with research was my college experience. That philosophy quickly went out the door.
Learning that legacy machines can be a challenge, I began to understand that "easy peasy" was a gross over estimation of this trade. Did it scare me away? In a strange way, it drew me in.
Stepping aside for the technicians to troubleshoot this part, I learned that options could still be out there. Here's where the dimensions come in. Looking for a "like part" and manufacturing it to fit, was the final lesson learned today.
I was impressed with the distance Rossi Machinery Services' goes to keep valuable equipment running. The machine's only issue was that this part had failed. I liked that this company will research options until none are left. Somehow this "throw back" customer service thing struck a cord with me.
Today, I learned without a doubt that this career has legs...and arms...and many moving parts.
I am intrigued and motivated to learn more. Six months will only be the tip of the ice burg, but that's okay. Anything of value takes time- in fact it takes about 7 years of learning and working and doing before becoming fully educated.
I am positive that day two and three and beyond will be a definite learning curve, but instead of scaring me away, the complexity of this industry captured my interest, drive and passion.
"Do what your passionate about and make sure it pays well." These were the words that defined my childhood. Check and check in both of those columns.
I found my career learning the trade of machine tool technician.
I am a paid apprentice and life is good. Who knew?