Junior engineer - how to do it right?

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Summary
Junior engineer at a plastic industry
So recently I got my first job as an mechanical engineer. YAY!
The factory produces plastic products such as bottles/jar/etc with 2 main methods.
blow molding for PP and HDPE & ISBM for PET.
The whole area of plastic is completely new to me, my boss know that.
I'm the only mechanical engineer they have and I'm supposed to learn this field from scratch.
Many of the machines have lots of problems and maintenance people don't know how to deal with some of them from the engineer point of view.
I read a lot on the subject but still, dealing with an issue on the field is quite difficult.

I hope any of you have some insights/advices/suggestions, I'll be happy to learn.
 
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jrmichler

Science Advisor
921
820
Get a subscription to Plant Engineering magazine. Then read every issue.

I'm sure that there is a similar magazine for the plastic molding industry. Get that also.

These magazines are free, you only need to tell them that you are an engineer working in the industry. And relax, nobody expects you to know everything. Just start learning, do your best, and enjoy.
 
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4
Get a subscription to Plant Engineering magazine. Then read every issue.

I'm sure that there is a similar magazine for the plastic molding industry. Get that also.

These magazines are free, you only need to tell them that you are an engineer working in the industry. And relax, nobody expects you to know everything. Just start learning, do your best, and enjoy.
Thanks a lot! will do
 
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Remember that you know basic classical physics (mechanics, thermo, heat transfer, circuits, etc) and don't be afraid to use this. You'll be amazed at what you can do if you are willing to think hard.
 
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Remember that you know basic classical physics (mechanics, thermo, heat transfer, circuits, etc) and don't be afraid to use this. You'll be amazed at what you can do if you are willing to think hard.
For sure! thanks for motivating!
 
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Many of the machines have lots of problems and maintenance people don't know how to deal with some of them from the engineer point of view.
I read a lot on the subject but still, dealing with an issue on the field is quite difficult.
Try to get in contact with the equipment manufacturer if possible: if not possible then with a manufacturer of similar purpose equipment. There is no way you are the only one facing those problems, so they should be able to provide some help (to keep a customer - or to get a customer: from your point of view that does not matters).

Be creative in finding help - and do not hesitate to put the role of the engineer of the company/factory in full display if must. Junior or not, you are now engineer.

...maintenance people don't know how to deal with some of them from the engineer point of view...
The factory is still running so it is a safe guess that they have some way around some issues. Better to listen to them, since at this point they know more about the site than you do: even if their solutions may not really by the book (so they won't tell to anybody they don't trust) it might serve as a basis of improvement.
The 'old ones' are the treasure of every factory. Treat them that way.
 
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The factory is still running so it is a safe guess that they have some way around some issues. Better to listen to them, since at this point they know more about the site than you do: even if their solutions may not really by the book (so they won't tell to anybody they don't trust) it might serve as a basis of improvement.
The 'old ones' are the treasure of every factory. Treat them that way.
Amen!!
 
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Try to get in contact with the equipment manufacturer if possible: if not possible then with a manufacturer of similar purpose equipment. There is no way you are the only one facing those problems, so they should be able to provide some help (to keep a customer - or to get a customer: from your point of view that does not matters).
Ok, thanks for the tip.

Be creative in finding help - and do not hesitate to put the role of the engineer of the company/factory in full display if must. Junior or not, you are now engineer.
ok, thanks!

The factory is still running so it is a safe guess that they have some way around some issues. Better to listen to them, since at this point they know more about the site than you do: even if their solutions may not really by the book (so they won't tell to anybody they don't trust) it might serve as a basis of improvement.
The 'old ones' are the treasure of every factory. Treat them that way.
The factory is running, yet with a lot of depreciation and waste.
I' m listening and asking what I find important, lots of time they don't have the answers.
The 'old ones' are the treasure of every factory. Treat them that way.
Of course, but they are hard to talk to.
They don't like when someone new asking questions :\
 

jrmichler

Science Advisor
921
820
Of course, but they are hard to talk to.
They don't like when someone new asking questions :\
Then you need to arm yourself with facts. Get up to speed on OEE, line efficiency, downtime costs, product quality, reject rates, etc. Then your discussion is along the line of:

"Our OEE is only XXXX, product quality is YYYY, and management needs that improved. We need to do things differently."

Find out (by careful observation) if they are pushed into patching old equipment, or if they are expected to make proper repairs. If management thinks that breakdown maintenance is cost effective, then you have a real challenge. You need to decide if you are better off to (try to) teach management about cost effective maintenance, or to go with the flow and fight problems.
 
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... they are hard to talk to. ... They don't like when someone new asking questions :\
At this point they don't have much reason to trust you. It is a bit unfair from me to give such advice since I'm not really gifted in this regard but you might need some social skills (apart from hard work) to earn their trust.

I' m listening and asking what I find important
And what is what they find important?
 
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JBA

Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,507
427
You are in a learning phase at this time, so concentrate on learning the processes from the older employees and use that information to start investigating and studying on your own about the issues of improving efficiency and productivity. Long time employees are always going to be suspicious of new comers that come in and immediately start inquiring and talking about making changes.
 
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... new comers that come in and immediately start inquiring and talking about making changes.
The key element in this statement from JBA is "talking about making changes." If you phrase you questions well, simply asking "how do we accomplish this task or that" so as not to imply any desire to modify the process, I think you will find most are happy to talk. Most folks like to play teacher. But there again, the key word is "how," not "why." The choice of words can make all the difference.
 

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