Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An International Dispute In My Basement?

15 Hour Days = No Blogging

Sorry for missing a day of blogging yesterday, but I have a good excuse involving "professional obligations." (and the people that know me in real life are laughing their rear ends off right now when I include "professional" in the same sentence with reference to myself.)

Any way, for some reason I went out in June and sold this touch screen PLC based sensor system which has to measure the temperature of a product on a production line moving past at a rate of as fast as 22,000 units per hour.

Yes, you heard me right ...TWENTY TWO THOUSAND PER HOUR.

Doing the math for those of you that went to FSU and UGA, that's a little over 6 times per SECOND that something comes flying past my two non-contact infrared temperature sensors. (Non contact IR Sensors are expensive...and that's all you need to know if you're not an injuneer.)

I'm using "non-contact" type sensors because obviously you can't actually touch something moving that fast to determine it's temperature because either you or it would get hurt in the process.

Got it?

Then to complicate things further, the customer's existing process is smart and can throttle it's speed downward by about 50% if things start backing up in packaging or somewhere else on the line, and this makes it hard to tell where the bad product my temperature sensors have detected is located afterward because my system is supposed to "kick" the offending product off the line before it gets mixed in with all of the other good product.

You might think that's a hard standard, but believe me it's even HARDER than you think at these speeds...particularly since you can't just guess how fast it's moving.

You have to KNOW...


Then, as my title suggests, I'm having trouble getting all of the sensors to get along because they're from different manufacturers.

But hey...all three are all built in Germany, and I thought that by default that they'd all speak the same language and all I needed was a good translator so that I could understand what they were saying and things would be good.

But NooooooOOOOOOO...

I'm not sure what it is...maybe the guys that designed my proximity sensors are fans of a different Rugby or Soccer team from the ones designing my IR sensors or something.

And my PLC was made here in the good old United By-God States of 'Merica (by non-union employees...I've been to the factory) and everyone knows how most Germans feel about Americans.

And with the switches and warning lights made in China and Taiwan and some of the other stuff made in Costa Rica, it almost seems like that for the past month I've had a regular United Nations Security Council sub-committee meeting going on in my shop inside a 16" x 20" x 8" steel box.

And apparently up until now, everybody gets to vote but ME.

I just spent about 22 hours over the past two days trying to "sprint to the finish line" on this project and late yesterday I think I had my final breakthrough on getting everyone to agree to work together and not pass any resolutions against the US and more specifically, anyone living here at the Turbo Pup Compound.

In the interest of diversity the Council demanded I get some woman's involvement into the process, so Pat looked at everything and was impressed and said it looked "cool".

And little Missy the Turbo Pup's a girl puppy, so I'm gonna hold her up to the front of the cabinet today and let her put a good puppy "snoogh" right in the middle of the touch screen.

Unfortunately I was unable to comply with the racial diversity part of their request because I don't know any African Americans here in Knoxtown with PLC programming skills.

I told them that the Chief plant electrician at my customer's facility is a very competent Black guy so the Chinese talked the Germans into letting me off the hook on that one.

So now, Ladies and Gentlemen, having explained where I've been for the past 48 hours, I'm going to collapse back into a coma for another two or three hours before getting back downstairs to make sure one group of parts hasn't started another war with the other groups.

Regards Y'all...

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