Payback

I’ve been slacking hard at work for a couple of months. Most projects were axed the moment that the shutdown was announced, and they aren’t reordering expensive spare parts that we typically keep in stock for the plating lines. The lines tend to run reasonably well, so demand maintenance has been light. I’ve gotten soft and lazy. Softer and lazier than usual, I mean.

Yesterday and today have been payback. I had a previously canceled project reactivated yesterday morning, and by the end of the day, three pumps had failed – two Pacer style, and one magnetic drive. The Pacers were on the same waste water treatment section, and would normally back each other up. The waste treatment guy came to me saying that both had failed and the containment area was rapidly filling up.

Obviously, one pump had failed some time ago and either 1) nobody noticed, 2) someone noticed but didn’t say shit, or 3).they noticed, requested repair and were blown off. Then yesterday, the second one failed and threatened to flood the place.

I had an hour to disconnect the 480V and the plumbing, remove the mounting hardware, yank the pumps out, and reverse the process on at least one of them or we were going to shut down two departments.

Acquisition of the rebuilt replacements was quick, but they were pre-mounted to the wrong style base. I love my impact wrench. It made short work of that part. I got both failed pumps out, one replacement back in place, bolted down and the plumbing reattached in roughly forty minutes. I would’ve liked to have given the pipe dope longer to cure, but I didn’t have that luxury.

I hooked up the power with a 50/50 chance of getting the phases right for correct rotation. Of course I got it wrong. Finally, it was in, wired correctly and ready. By this point I was covered in sweat and gasping for breath. High temperature, no airflow, insane humidity, and a fat man trying to work quickly are not a good combination. The fucking facemask was digging into my face below my eyes, and my glasses had completely fogged over. I was not happy.

Both pumps are in the same line with nothing but a single valve each on the inlet and outlet sides separating them, so I wanted the second pump at least plumbed in before putting the first pump back in service. Fifteen minutes later that was done, and the first pump had the water receding. I could finally catch my breath.

The conduit elbow for the second pump was damaged, so I had to find a replacement. Then of course I wired that one for the wrong rotation direction, too. Eventually, both pumps were back in service and I had dragged the old ones and my tools back to my area.

I changed into a dry shirt and spent the rest of the day working on the project. I noticed the leak that ended up being the mag drive pump failure just before I left, but I wasn’t motivated enough to confirm the source of the problem. I was officially informed of it early today.

I hadn’t been in the building thirty minutes today before I got called about a loader that kept sticking. It’s a piece of shit that I’ve tried to make work at least halfway right for months. It uses an air-driven motor, so as long as it’s getting the air to actuate, the only possible issues are air pressure and lubrication. I’d already bumped the air pressure up a while back, and that seemed to help temporarily. I’d also greased the spindle bearings around which it rotates about a month ago. Prior to my arrival, one of the maintenance guys had bumped up the in-line air lubrication system. I’m not convinced that works at all, because I’ve never seen the oil level change, but whatever. I greased the bearings again (two strokes each) and came back to continue working on the project. That’s pretty much where I’ve been all day. They didn’t call me any more about the loader, so either it started behaving or they are just dealing with the hiccups since we can’t seem to truly fix it. I’ll swap out the mag drive pump tomorrow.

That’s more work in two days than I’ve done in the preceding two weeks, not counting the days that I missed from the plague. They really need to transition me into my new role.

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2 Responses to Payback

  1. hollychism says:

    Yikes! That sounds like the opposite of fun.

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