Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Take this job

Do you know what I really like about my job? After about the first four hours (I work twelve-hour shift), I have all the problems fixed and I've adjusted the extrusion line to the point that it can't get any better. After that point, after I've become as productive as I can possibly be, if I spend the rest of the day shooting the breeze, I'm not wasting anybody's time.

Do you know what I hate about my job? My company's market niche is sucking up to customers. No matter how idiotic it is, we'll do it if the price is right. Of course, I don't see the right price, I only see the great supreme idiocy that I have to deal with.

Today I was making garage door coatings. If you've ever thought about a garage door, and if you have, well, as Captain Jack Sparrow said, "You need to find yourself a girl, mate," there's a thin veneer of textured plastic covering the outside. I make big rolls of textured plastic, which we then send to another part of the factory to be cut down into little rolls, which we then ship to the garage door manufacturer, who laminates the garage doors with them. The great supreme idiocy, in this case, was how insanely thin they wanted the plastic. The company asked for a sheet thickness of .0135 inches, which is doable, but they also wanted the textured surface. The texture cuts .01 inches into the plastic. Which means that the low spots in the sheet are only .0035 inches thick. Had we been able to get everything perfect, we probably could have kept the line going long enough to finish the job, but we kept having strange problems. And it was only ten and a half hours into a 12-hour shift of non-stop aggravation that I was in the right place when the line went down. I heard the sound of chrome roll gears slipping. So I opened the desk drawer to get the tools needed to check the gears, and I found a chrome roll key (which keeps it aligned), thus the problem. (Gee, I've just put a $250,000 piece of equipment back together and I have this piece left over. Well, it'll be okay.) So I opened it up to see which chrome roll was missing a key, and I found two of them were, so spent an hour looking for a piece of metal about 1 1/2" long in a factory that covers 200,000 sq. ft. I tried to realign the rolls so I could reinsert the keys, and discovered that all the bearings on the rolls were sticking. However, it was time to go home. The person who messed up very badly was a person who could use a good solid mess up (his nickname is "super-perfect", the quotation marks included), and the next shift will have to do the eight hours of hot and messy work and I won't. Today stunk, but it could have been a lot worse.

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