From mid 1975 to 1977 I was with a engineering company. This job was offered to me by those diploma students, who knew me from that technical institute. My job was to work on projects between R&D, production and installation department, because of my skills in electro – mechanical devices and electronic devices. I had proved my ability as trouble shooter on many occasions.
There was a need of a special rotary switch on a prototype project. That kind of rotary switch was not sold in the market. The project was getting delayed. The owner of the company had known about my abilities. He told me to prepare one such switch. I had made the required switch in 20 minutes from a 5 pole 5 way standard available rotary switch. That resulted in bad relations with a R&D design engineer, he took it as his insult.
After about a month there was an urgent need of an battery operated alarm system on one of the project. I was called to make one such alarm. I picked up a flip-flop circuit board from the production line, connected a relay and a reset switch. The standard car horn was connected to the relay. Change in the input level from 1 to 0 the relay used to actuate the 6 volt horn, tested that alarm for 10 times and handed over to the project engineer. Again it was taken as insult by that R&D design engineer.
There was five conveyor control consoles in a fertilizer plant I was called to make 3000 connections of these consoles. With a team of 3 production colleagues, worked continuously for 78 hours and finished the job without a mistake. But received only thanks and a party in a local restaurant.
There was a project of Auto Weigh Feeders in a Steel Plant. I was sent to make both side connections of 24 core 28 armored cables at a distance of 3 kilometers. There was only one helper given to me, he was our security guard at that plant, there was no dead line, had to finish that job earliest possible. I made a simple method to be followed by that helper. There was cable number tied to each cable, but no number to each core (wire). I gave the list of cable numbers to the helper, and this simple device to connect to each core (wire).The maintenance engineer of that Steel plant was informed by his people that only two boys, one of them a security guard was identifying the core and making those important connections, he came with surprise to see us doing that job. The device I made was simple, two 1.5 volt lamps, a battery and four pieces of wires connected as followed. He had accepted the correctness of our method.
I was in the main control panel room and the helper was in the main control room of the plant located 3 km away. We both had to select a cable one by one as per the number in the list. Helper had to connect one end of wire of our test device to the armor of a cable, then helper had to connect any core of that particular cable to the device, I started searching the right core in that cable. Moment light blinks we both had to hold the light on for three counts, then three times connect/ disconnect to make sure the right core is selected gave number 01 till 24 and repeated the process for all the cores in every cable. There was not a single mistake in identification of each core of each cable.
Then an incident happened in that company head office, that taught me about the relations between company owner and the worker’s union leader. To know that relation I had to know various clauses of the contract between that company and the Steel Plant management. ” if there was a delay of one day after stipulated completion day of the project there was a fine of few thousands per day till the day that project gets commissioned and handed over to the Steel Plant.” That company had to pay the Steel Plant fine for 310 days and could be more for not completing the project at the expected date. But there was one more interesting clause “if there was delay because of unavoidable circumstances, such as workers strike or closure of work, then for each day of closure would allow 30 days delay for that company. There were stories, that company had manage to close down work for more than six months, during that time there was stone throwing and then police firing, in that 8 innocent passer by got killed. That company managed to get extra six months from already delayed months to complete that project.
The fact was that project was delayed because of design and installation team differences. the control system was working good on testing facilities but not working on that plant site. Again that fault finding was given to me by the company owner. I found the power cables and the control signal wires were running from same cable trey causing malfunctions in the speed control system. I suggested to separate those power cables going to Weigh feeder and run through a trey 5 meters away from the control signal wires. The problem was solved, one Auto Weigh Feeder was commissioned as per design and expectations of the Steel Plant. I did not get any benefit, but this time fight between me and that R&D design engineer made me to leave that company. It turned out a good Break, in good sense for me and my future.