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  1. #53
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    586
    Originally posted by newtradesman


    I'm new. I admit I am new and I need to learn alot more.

    I met a Plant operator at a building in down town Dallas who carries a clip board and calls contractors for everything he needs.
    He does not get dirty. Nor does he want to.
    I was sent in to change filters because they were required by the preventive maintenace schudule the plant operator guru had created.
    I change out the first 140 filters which were all in great condition. I mean like almost new. I could not tell how long htey had been there but this time I wrote the dates on the side of the filter so the next guy does.
    When I told the Plant operator about the lack of need he laughed and said that they change them weather they need them or not.
    He said that he created the schudule and he got it right out of the Titus manufactures recommended specs.
    When I looked on the Titus web site I did not find any requirement for filters to be changed every 8 weeks on a fan powered box or VAV.
    I also did not push the issue because I figure it is making my company a butt load of money doing this guys crap.
    I just can not understand how guys can throw money out the window. Is this a common standard?
    As I type this I look forward to my next visit to grease motors on his AHU's. Maybe I could get enough know how to get a job like this. I should be able to make my own paycheck back in savings and still turn a profit for the company.

    I work with a few plant operators like that
    Installs, Changeouts, & Heat Stroke.....not necessarily in that order

  2. #54
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Eastern Washington
    Posts
    2,990
    Every once in a while a boiler shows up at the local scrap metal yard, usually, they've blown. Once you take a good look at a blown steam boiler, and how mangled and twisted that 3/8 or 1/2 inch thick steel is, you have a better idea of the force you're dealing with. Tell those guys to hang out at the scrap yard.

    The guy I work with tryed to run our low psi boiler on the High limit once, because the pressuretrol was bad. I didn't let him get away with that, but I'll bet there is a lot out there that are. Watch out for that one too.

    [Edited by TB on 10-29-2004 at 04:02 AM]
    TB
    Everyone knows something I don't.

    2 Chronicles 7:14
    14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

  3. #55
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Eastern Washington
    Posts
    2,990
    Originally posted by dapper

    I found that he was right, blowing down the controls had no effect on boiler operation....... except........ it took me about 10 seconds to realize that when I opened the valves on the controls no water ran out the pipes. Yup, the drain lines were plugged solid. Took half an hour to take them apart and punch them out with a length of rod.
    What was he boiling, mud? Did you happen to see the water chemistry logs? Just curiouse, but I'm assuming by "drain lines" you mean the lines after the valves, which should drain dry after blowdowns. How were they plugging? Are the valves leaking enough to clog it up without flushing the sludge through?

    [Edited by TB on 10-29-2004 at 04:25 AM]
    TB
    Everyone knows something I don't.

    2 Chronicles 7:14
    14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

  4. #56
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Eastern Washington
    Posts
    2,990
    Originally posted by snipe70e
    He was blowing down the boilers for several weeks with the low water control not working. the first time the safety failed it should have been fixed that day, he was no engineer just a handyman.
    Good call!

    Originally posted by snipe70e

    I hope it was a low pressure boiler, high pressure should be blown down at the begining of each watch.
    ...so that each engineer KNOWS that control works, when he begins his shift.
    TB
    Everyone knows something I don't.

    2 Chronicles 7:14
    14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

  5. #57
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    1,376
    Originally posted by snipe70e
    Dowadubba,

    I think the pay is OK. $32.29/ hr, Over $5.00/hr in retirement, Full medical and dental cost the company around $850 per month. 40 hours every week, and I do not have to be a salesman. This year I get 3 weeks paid vacation + holidays. No on call and if I do 1/2 time pay.
    I have looked at traveling maintenance and I prefer to be stationary. It is my plant and I should be able to take pride in it's condition
    Yep. The different jobs all have their pros and cons. A friend of mine is a stationary engineer. On salary, as he's the chief engineer where he works. Pulls in $52,000 a year. Multi-licensed and experienced. He knows that he could make more with an outside contractor. But figures $52,000 a year in Minnesota is pretty good money. And he REALLY likes the benefits, which are very generous. A lot better than mine.

    But his opinion varies depending on which day you ask him. Being salaried, and in charge, when TSHTF he ends up doing a lot of unpaid overtime. And has to put up with a lot of panic calls at oh-dark-thirty, in the middle of a blizzard of course, from somebody on duty who is in over his head and doesn't know what to do and needs help. He works at a major manufacturer's plant, which operates around the clock 5 days a week. So he's gotta go in and fix whatever. Very competent, there isn't much he doesn't know how to do.

    But at such times, he's understandably less than happy. Sometimes calls me and asks if we need any more help, he's thinking about looking.

    OTOH, after I give him time to cool off and rethink his position, and ask if he's still serious about working for me. He starts backpeddling. Remembering when he used to work for an outside outfit.

    Money was REAL good, when there was work. But he remembers temporary layoffs in slow times, short work weeks, having to account for every minute of his day to justify his paycheck. Getting nagged about not making extra sales. Told to forget it, when he'd done a job, but it was not really as good as he wanted it to be and he wanted to fix it right. But boss would tell him to move on, forget it, IF it failed or customer noticed, THEN he could go back. That got under his skin a lot. He's a man that likes things to work RIGHT, as well as he can get it tweaked in. A perfectionist by nature. If yah go to his plant right now yah see polished brightwork, clean paint jobs, neat stenciling and labeling, no leaks, etc. And everything works right ... not just works. He knows DDC systems and control systems, and has the time where he's at to tweak and reprogram and tune things to a tee, to squeeze out that little bit of extra efficiency, make something hum a little sweeter, and so forth. Add in the extra vacation days, sick days, and personal days. Plus, he really likes that doing what he does, he gets involved in a wider range of trades and skills than he would if he went to work for an outside contractor again.

    So, he's always changed his mind and told me to forget it.

    Chuckle, in this biz there are pros and cons to everything and parts of the business to suit most anyone's preferences.

    It's like another friend of mine. Lives, talks, and breathes boiler and boiler control systems. No interest, or little, in anything else. Sharp ... very sharp. So he works for an outside contractor specializing in boiler systems. And it's where he's the happiest.



  6. #58
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,175
    If you are looking to be a plant engineer just so you can stay clean and walk around doing little or nothing I think you need a new line of work.It seems no one wants to work hard anymore and wants easy street.It is sad when a 40 year old guy like myself can work most of the younger 20ish apprentices into the ground and I think it is because of attitudes like this that is why.You see the guy carrying the clip board but maybe he works to 8:00 at night every night balancing budgets or whatever.I have days where I take it easy but more than likely it is because I worked till midnight changing a 40ton compressor by myself.First impressions aren't always what they seem.

  7. #59
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Ft Worth Tx ( North Richland Hills)
    Posts
    2,143
    After reading 5 pages of responses it's obvious that there's no single definition for those who have a "Plant Operator" title. Ranges from "Rolodex Chief" (LOL) to highly skilled pros. It's really no different than alot of the service shops I've worked at. You had the top guys, the competant average guys and the skaters who were in over their head and belonged in a different occupation.

    Nobody likes to judged by the performance of the incompetant (like the fool who couldn't figure out he wasn't really blowing down his boilers)

    (T.B.) Give me a call, the numbers is posted earlier in this thread....maybe make an offer you can't refuse.
    How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?

  8. #60
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    2,089
    Originally posted by osiyo



    Plus, he really likes that doing what he does, he gets involved in a wider range of trades and skills than he would if he went to work for an outside contractor again.


    Chuckle, in this biz there are pros and cons to everything and parts of the business to suit most anyone's preferences.


    [/B]
    That part of the discription is what I love about my profession, and knowing that the place is better off with me working there. It is pride of profession and pride of Job.
    Len

    Old snipes don't die they just loose their steam

  9. #61
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    About that job again. The one where I can carry a clip board and do nothing and get paid for it. Where is that at exactly.

    In all seriousness. Speaking from my perspective. I belong to the generation X'er crowd. There is a lot of truth in what ACJourneymen says, but not all of us can be figured in to that equation thats for sure.

    Cheer up will ya, were going to be running the country soon, so you better be kind or will f it up more, more so than you already estimate we will.

  10. #62
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Buffalo N.Y.
    Posts
    1,571
    Originally posted by bobby7388
    A "Plant Operator" is a generic name given to anyone from a small maintenance shop employee to a large power house boiler operator.

    The name in and by itself doesn't really mean anything as to qualifications.
    I don't normally quote myself so pardon my mess.

    All this discussion comes back to my initial post, names don't necessarily mean anything. It's like asking, what is a "service tech"? by adding tech one would assume that they are technical thereby certified or licensed in some field.
    "Plant Operator, Service Tech" are meaningless because they don't assume anything.
    But a stationary engineer will always be licensed in some form from a AHJ, if someone doesn't have the license then they should'nt use the name or title

  11. #63
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    southern ca
    Posts
    79
    basicly plant operator = janitor with wrench

  12. #64
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    2,096
    This is how city of Philadelphia describes position of
    plant operator and stationary engineer:



    CITY OF PHILADELPHIA PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    7E41
    PLANT MECHANICAL - ELECTRICAL OPERATOR

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    GENERAL DEFINITION

    This is semi-skilled plant work operating, lubricating, adjusting and making minor mechanical and electrical repairs to equipment in a water purification or waste water treatment plant. An employee in this class works on an assigned shift, is responsible for the operation and first-level maintenance of assigned equipment, and may operate other plant equipment on an as-needed basis. Some positions work in rotating shift. Work is performed under the close supervision of a technical superior.

    Work involves some unfavorable environmental conditions and light physical effort, and performing around machinery with exposed moving parts.



    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    TYPICAL EXAMPLES OF WORK (ILLUSTRATIVE ONLY)

    Starts, operates, regulates and stops plant equipment; changes operating mode to automatic, semi-automatic and manual as needed; checks equipment during operation to determine that needs are met; takes periodic samples of water, waste water and sludge, and sends them to the laboratory for analysis; keeps work area and equipment clean.
    Changes chemical feed tanks, chlorine cylinders and feed systems; flushes clogged feed and sampling lines.
    Records flow and treatment information; changes charts and maintains recording equipment; maintains a log of daily activity.
    Receives, stores, handles and applies chemicals and other supplies needed for operation of assigned station.
    Performs first echelon mechanical maintenance such as packing valves, adjusting belts, tightening belts, adjusting cables and replacing shear pins and air filters; lubricates equipment by applying grease and changing oil.
    Performs minor electrical maintenance such as replacing bulbs and fuses, and resetting circuit breakers; prepares equipment for higher echelon maintenance.
    Checks equipment as part of a preventive and predictive maintenance program; reports more serious mechanical-electrical problems to supervisors.
    May operate other plant equipment on an as-needed basis.
    Performs the above duties on the following types of equipment:
    Waste water digesters, centrifuge systems, heaters, incinerators and other pieces of equipment as assigned.
    Water purification low pressure boilers, dehumidifiers, blowers, compressors, circulating pumps, chemical feeders, and other pieces of equipment as assigned.
    Performs related work as required.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    REQUIRED KNOWLEDGES, SKILLS AND ABILITIES

    KNOWLEDGE OF:

    the methods, materials, tools and procedures used in first echelon mechanical maintenance and repair of water purification or waste water plant equipment and machinery.
    the methods, materials, equipment and practices used in the purification and treatment of water.
    the occupational hazards and safety precautions of the work.
    electrical maintenance and repair practices.
    SKILL IN:

    the care and use of tools used in maintaining and repairing plant machinery and equipment.
    ABILITY TO:

    recognize mechanical and electrical malfunctions, and to make appropriate minor repairs or adjustments.
    understand and follow oral and written instructions.
    read and record information from meters and gauges accurately.
    prepare and maintain reports and records.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE
    (The following statement represents the minimum training and experience standards which will be used to admit or reject applicants for tests. Applications submitted by candidates for this class will be reviewed based on training and experience requirements as approved on 9/85.)

    Education equivalent to completion of the tenth school grade.

    Two years of experience in the operation or maintenance of water or waste water plant equipment, one year of which has been above the trainee level.
    Or two years of experience in the operation and maintenance of water or wastewater plant equipment, and completion of an in-service training course in plant equipment operation, maintenance and repair.
    Or any equivalent combination of education and experience determined to be acceptable by the Personnel Department.

    PHYSICAL AND MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS

    Ability to physically perform the duties and to work in the environmental conditions required of a position in this class.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    PAY RANGE: 11
    Class Established: 6/1959
    Latest Spec. Revision: 9/1985

  13. #65
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    2,096
    CITY OF PHILADELPHIA PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT

    7E35
    STATIONARY ENGINEER

    GENERAL DEFINITION
    This is full performance maintenance work operating and maintaining a wide variety of utility and related mechanical equipment, including boilers, air conditioning units, computerized building automation systems, circulating pumps and compressors on an assigned shift. Work includes providing services to ensure water cooling and heating for a large public building. Work is performed under the supervision of a HVAC Group Leader. Working conditions involve some undesirable aspects and work frequently requires the exercise of light physical effort.

    TYPICAL EXAMPLES OF WORK (ILLUSTRATIVE ONLY)
    Operates and maintains various types of utility and mechanical equipment including: boilers, large tonnage centrifugal chillers, circulating pumps, air compressors, hot water generators, circulating and ventilating fans, water softeners and similar mechanical, steam or electrically-operated equipment; adjusts levers and valves controlling the proper mixture of air and fuel to the combustion chamber; manipulates valves to admit water to boilers and sets controls for regulating temperature, humidity and ventilation.
    Inspects equipment for proper working condition and performs maintenance tasks such as repacking valves, adjusting system operation and performance parameters, replacing belts, installing gaskets, lubricating motors, and calibrating temperature controls; replaces worn boiler tubes and patches areas of fire brick in combustion chamber.
    Takes reading of temperature and pressure gauges on boilers and refrigeration units and records such readings in log books; takes water tests to check hardness of water; adds necessary chemicals to water; checks and maintains refrigeration equipment.
    Performs related work as required.

    REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES
    KNOWLEDGE OF:
    the methods, materials, tools and practices used in operating and maintaining boilers, large tonnage centrifugal chillers and related equipment
    the occupational hazards and safety precautions in the operation and maintenance of utility equipment
    heating, ventilating, and refrigeration systems
    computerized control systems
    electronic leak detection systems
    regulatory requirements of Federal Clean Air Act 1990, Title 3 of Philadelphia Code (Air Management Code of 1995)
    ABILITY TO:
    operate and maintain boilers, air conditioning and related mechanical equipment in a large central plant
    read and record meter and gauge readings and to maintain accurate records of boilers, chillers and support equipment operation maintenance
    operate building management equipment on computers
    operate building automation systems
    read electrical and mechanical schematics and use testing equipment
    understand and follow oral and written instruction

    MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE
    (The following statement represents the minimum training and experience standards which will be used to admit or reject applicants for tests. ed on training and experience requirements as approved on 07/03.)
    EDUCATION
    Education equivalent to completion of the 12th school grade.
    AND
    EXPERIENCE
    Three years of experience in the stationary engineer trade.
    PHYSICAL AND MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS
    Ability to physically perform the duties and to work in the environmental conditions required of a position in this class.
    LICENSES, REGISTRATIONS AND/OR CERTIFICATES
    Possession of a grade "A" stationary engineer's license as issued by the Philadelphia Department of Licenses & Inspections prior to appointment and during tenure a as stationary engineer.
    Possession of an operator's license for the proper handling of refrigerants containing chlorofuorocarbons issued by the Environmental Protection Agency within six months of appointment.
    Possession of a valid motor vehicle operator's license issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania prior to appointment and during tenure as a stationary engineer.

    PAY RANGE: 13
    Class Established: 1/1/53
    Latest Spec. Revision:
    CSC: 01/03, Ad Board: 07/03

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