10

Are the skilled men disappearing?

Posted by terrycan 5 years, 3 months ago to Philosophy
26 comments | Share | Best of... | Flag

I have noticed a trend where I work. We have a lot of expensive and complex machinery. Much of it does not work correctly. I try to have maintenance repair it. They tell me no one knows how any more.
My question for you is. Is this happening around you too? Are the skilled workers retiring out. The application of software is great however are people that build things a dieing breed?


Add Comment

FORMATTING HELP

All Comments Hide marked as read Mark all as read

  • Posted by $ Commander 5 years, 3 months ago
    Hi Terry....it's been a while....
    I display my Rail / Dollar Sign bookends proudly!
    To answer from Minnesota; the most qualified repair tech in the entire MSP/StPaul area is 72 years old. Donny can repair board level electronics through scraping 100 year old machine ways....he's the last. Everyone seems to be "specializing", and not very well in these areas. I only know of 4 youngsters, respective to my early fifties, that are broad-based competent manual machinist / manufacturers / mechanics...and I trained two of them. I've been here since 91' and at a point where I'm ready to close up for lack of those who are willing to pay for my services versus what I would have to pay to get competent help. I only run manual machine tools......such is life.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by GaryL 5 years, 3 months ago
    Repairing things is often more costly than replacing things. Point in fact; A simple carburetor on a single cylinder motorcycle has issues caused by leaving ethanol fuel in it over the winter. A repair kit costs around $100 but if you can't DIY and must take it to a shop you will pay $80-$100/ hour and it will probably take 2+ hours or a total cost of around $300. A new carb costs $260.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by VicW 5 years, 3 months ago
    We live in a world of disposable items. Nothing is meant to be fixed. People are not trained trained to fix. I had a Maytag washer and dryer that lasted over 55 years with minor repairs every not and then. Parts were no longer available. I asked the installer of the new machine if they did repairs. He said no, we are a disposable society.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ Radio_Randy 5 years, 3 months ago
    Try to find a two way radio technician, worth his salt, anymore. Even the people we work for make disparaging comments to us...saying nobody needs to open radios, everything is done on computer, etc., etc.

    What these people neglect to consider is that there is a great deal of infrastructure that needs to be maintained for their radios to work. Also, many of the new guys, in the field, can't tell the difference between interference, distortion and other vagaries with radio communication. Entire agencies, like the Washington State Patrol, were taken totally by surprise when they switched their entire system to digital, only to find that digital has a lot of trouble in mountainous terrain. If only they had asked one of us old guys, first...
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by ObjectiveAnalyst 5 years, 3 months ago
    Hello terrycan,
    I am having difficulty finding a good die maker. It would seem that people are uninterested in actually making things anymore. When I first started my company, I routinely received resumes and applications. In the last ten years I have had to search for people. Are too many people satisfied with the subsistence living handouts? Why not aspire to a good upper middle class living? Why has vocational training been diminished, while we encourage a glut of college educated, indebted citizens without enough job prospects for those educations when skilled trade jobs go unfilled? I find many college educated young people unwilling to take on jobs they see as beneath their education because it requires them to work with their hands as well as their minds.
    Regards,
    O.A.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 5 years, 3 months ago
      I fully agree. However it maybe difficult to get trained as a die maker. Apprenticeships are often political exercises. Finding someone willing to be trained is also difficult.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by ObjectiveAnalyst 5 years, 3 months ago
        I would prefer to find someone already trained that can step right in. However, I am wiling to train one that has limited experience. I need a Mastercam programmer I can train to be a die maker, or a die maker I can train to run mastercam, but I don't have time to start from ground zero. I have done that many times over the last four decades, but now time is too short and I am nearing retirement. In the past it took me five to seven years to start with an apprentice that needed basic metal removal training as well as more advanced skills. Shop classes in High school used to teach the basics, but now they are almost nonexistent around here, so it has become more difficult to train new young people and now all the old school guys like me are few and far between.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by $ Snezzy 5 years, 3 months ago
          The ability to purchase and set up a small machine shop has gotten lost in well-meaning governmental regulations and liability-insurance matters. I was hoping to rescue the Hardinge lathe and the Bridgeport drill press of a late friend, but I would need to pay an exorbitant amount of insurance just to go onto the property and lift the machines out. Then once I had the machines, it would be illegal for anyone other than myself to operate them, because OSHA says they are obsolete. So I guess that they will become scrap iron.

          Without young hobbyists and entrepreneurs bothering to run small shops that do one-off work, there is no possibility for other young people to get their hands on equipment that is not somehow controlled by a computer.

          On the other hand, it certainly is fun to watch the many videos in which someone programs a CNC machine incorrectly and wipes out work and tool. Although many of the errors seem to result from having secured the work incorrectly.

          Do schools not teach machine shop because of (1) perceived risk of injury, (2) high cost of owning machines, (3) lack of teachers willing and able to teach the stuff?
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by ObjectiveAnalyst 5 years, 3 months ago
            Hello Snezzy,
            I have a lot of obsolete machinery on my floor in addition to all the newer CNC equipment. I will not give it up. It is still useful to me and it is impervious to EMPs too. I suspect many schools have stopped teaching shop for the reasons you have cited, but there may also be another component to it. Our government sponsored schools curriculum is no doubt a reflection of our past government ideologies which have been hostile to industry. This is really a problem since I believe it has aided in the outsourcing and decline of middle class jobs.
            Respectfully,
            O.A.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by 5 years, 3 months ago
        Is it possible to offer a State Apprenticeship in your shop?
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by ObjectiveAnalyst 5 years, 3 months ago
          It is possible, but I am not inclined to take on any more apprentices. I have trained over a dozen. Unfortunately my experiences with my State institutions have been less than rewarding... In truth, if I had a buyer I would sell off my business and retire tomorrow. It is well established with a solid customer list and some good people that need their jobs I am unwilling to abandon. None of them want to take on my responsibilities... You know as well as I owning and operating your own business is not all peaches and cream, but it does have its rewards.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Posted by 5 years, 3 months ago
            If you have trained that many apprentices you have certainly contributed much to America and your home state.
            The first shop I worked was bought by the foreman. Don't know all the details. Believe he received 10% per year of the company for five years. At 50% the original owner retired and sailed around the world.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ mminnick 5 years, 3 months ago
    I'm not sure about the maintenance staff of companies but I can talk to the level of capability of tradesmen who do home repairs in my geographic area. It sucks. I've had to refuse payment for work or have the company return multiple time in order to get the repair done properly. Case in point. I had a new furnace installed. just after the warranty period expired I stated having problems with it. I called them to come out. They wouldn't. I had to call another company one I was famikiar with (I had done some work for them on their computer sustems). They came out diagnosed the issue and showed me the problem. They were surprised it ever worked. The furnace flue was installed bacards, the condensation drain had never been connected, it still had the safety cap on it.
    This company contacted the original company explained what they found and suggested strongly that they pay for the repairs etc. They did.
    Anyway, the day of the craftsman is almost over. There used to be pride in doing a job well and seeinf it through to completion. Not anymore, at least not in my area.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by scojohnson 5 years, 3 months ago
      We used to make the stuff here, but we don't anymore. Here in California though, there are actually a lot of apprenticeship programs, but seem to be extremely difficult for young guys to get into unless their parents work there or are members of the union, etc.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ CBJ 5 years, 3 months ago
    Judging by the growing popularity of the "maker" movement, I doubt that people who build things are a dying breed. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maker_c...

    However, it's likely that fewer people entering the workforce are choosing maintenance and repair of complex equipment as a career. Especially since such equipment quickly becomes obsolete as new technology replaces it.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 5 years, 3 months ago
      Machinery does become obsolete sooner now than it used to. Most companies expect a minimum 20 year service life from a machine tool.
      Repairing 3D printers is really hot right now.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by $ sekeres 5 years, 3 months ago
    Our next generation is bucking the trend. The eldest (with the help of YouTube) taught her boyfriend to repair a carburetor. He and his father, then, repaired the leaking plumbing on their wine cooler. Her siblings will probably do similarly when they are old enough to leave home.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Eyecu2 5 years, 3 months ago
    I have long noticed this trend. It is to the point where a man who can fix things for himself around the house is a rarity. I remember a few years ago a female work mate friend of mine complaining that her husband couldn't change the brakes on her car, after hearing me talk about having changed mine over the weekend. My brake job cost me about an hour and $40.00 for parts.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  

FORMATTING HELP

  • Comment hidden. Undo