Reader Forum

An air in judgment?Plant Engineering is a fine magazine and I've been reading it for years. One of my favorite sections has been "Simple Solutions" ...until the December issue.Once in the main magazine and once in the 'Special Supplement,' suggestions were made to use compressed air in a wasteful manner.
By Staff January 15, 2002

An air in judgment?

Plant Engineering is a fine magazine and I’ve been reading it for years. One of my favorite sections has been “Simple Solutions” …until the December issue.

Once in the main magazine and once in the ‘Special Supplement,’ suggestions were made to use compressed air in a wasteful manner. The first involved using compressed air to blow dust off photo eyes, the second to drill a1/ 8 ” hole in a pipe to keep an air motor from turning as air leaks past a valve. This “Simple Solution” also included the dubious statement, “The amount of air wasted through the drilled hole during an intentional operation is negligible.”

I suspect one of the reasons people use compressed air in these ways is because if you can’t see it, it can’t be costing you anything. But I think we know that encouraging people to use compressed air instead of a dust rag, or going around drilling holes in pipes can add up to an expensive lesson in conservation.

Anyway, I expect I’ll keep reading Plant Engineering so keep up the good work. — Pete Sasson, Senior Engineer, Global Engineering & Manufacturing Technology, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Driven mechanics can be valuable resource

I read your Management Side of Engineering article in the November 2001 issue. I agreed with it until I read the quote of Charles Bailey, p 29 in the last column. He says that a mechanic can’t and won’t take ownership of your car or the equipment they are to work on. All I can say is that he must not have worked with any highly motivated and trained mechanics. Or maybe he didn’t want them to be a major part of his maintenance program. It sounds like he uses them as a tool and not as a valued resource.

I have found that properly trained mechanics who are allowed to take ownership in the equipment they maintain achieve a much higher productivity level than the one who just receives direction from the top. If you treat employees like they can’t think, they won’t. I might not see the big picture, but I am just a humble maintenance analyst/mechanic/former auto repair shop owner. — Donald Tucker