Why Becoming a Heavy Equipment Mechanic is an Excellent Career Choice

In this fast paced ever changing word in which careers can become obsolete over night it’s hard to determine what will be a good choice for a long term career. Well if you love computers, new technology, working with your hands and head, being outdoors and are interested in big machines then you should consider a career as a Heavy Equipment Technician. There are a lot of good reasons to consider this excellent career choice much more than meets the eye.

Protected Against Outsourcing / Globalization

Consider globalization, over the years we have seen many jobs migrate around the globe all dictated by lower labor costs. Call centers have gone to India and manufacturing has been outsourced to China and truthfully if your job can be outsourced to anywhere where it can be done less expensively by your employer it most likely will. Heavy equipment technicians are secure in knowing that their jobs cannot be outsourced as the equipment must be used locally and therefore serviced either on site or locally, it’s just not cost effective to ship the equipment overseas to have it serviced and then sent back.

Opportunities Across Multiple Industries

Another important point to consider is this is one of the few trades that cross over into so many different industries. Heavy Equipment Mechanics work in Mining, Agriculture, Forestry, Oil & Gas, Construction and basically any industry that uses heavy equipment.

Travel Opportunities

If you love travel this career can open you to working anywhere in the world as there is always a demand for good mechanics worldwide.

Excellent Career Advancement

Once you gain experience this career can open doors into management positions such as Fleet manager, Fleet Director, Service Manager, Branch Manager, Fleet Supervisor, Shop Foreman and Lead Hand just to name a few.

Excellent Compensation

Finally, of all the types of mechanics who service and repair machinery, Heavy Equipment Mechanics sit at the top of the food chain in terms of compensation. With a few exceptions, Heavy Equipment Mechanics are some of the highest paid mechanics in the world!

When Did “Lobby” Become A 4-Letter Word?

Lobbying is a dirty word.

Ask anyone. Read the paper. Watch TV. Listen to talk radio. For the past few years every time I heard about political influence and lobbying there was a prevailing view that if we just got rid of the Washington lobbyists everything would be fine.

But is this possible or even desirable? Is it what we really want?

I don’t think so.

According to the First Amendment of the US Constitution “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” [1]

Apparently the founders were troubled by King George III’s inability to listen to polite criticism.

Basically, the Constitution gives us not only the right to talk to our representative, but encourages us to appeal to them, to persuade them, to convince them to our point of view, i.e. to lobby. The First Amendment guarantees it.

We’re doing it every day with our spouse anyway, with our roommates, our co-workers, and our boss. So why do we have such a problem with lobbying?

For most of us I think we feel that it is unfairly applied — meaning that it’s only the big guys and the special interests that actually make their views known to Congress. This is generally true.

But that’s not their fault. It’s ours.

In the last 10 years the lobbying industry has doubled in size and grown into a $3.5B per year business with about 10,000 lobbyists,[2] and that’s just at the federal level.

We, the silent majority (I include myself in this group) have been conditioned to believe that if we vote for a representative every few years, that will be good enough. We’ll get what we want. We now know that’s a myth.

Occasionally the literary, the erudite and brave ones among us write a letter to our congressman, to the editor of our local newspaper or the New York Times. Some of us sign petitions, make campaign contributions or even go out and protest.

But does that get the job done? Sometimes it does.

Personally, I’d like to believe that one brilliant, well-written letter to my Congressman with a nice follow-up phone call to their Legislative Director would be enough to get him or her to change their opinion about a pending law. But out of the almost 700,000 constituents[3] in my congressional district there are likely a handful of people who would take the exact opposite position of me.

Sometimes they have more money, more time on their hands and they’re more eloquent than I am. If they work for a large corporation with a PAC or are a union member they seem to have greater political advantage to getting their views in front of my congressman and often make more of an impression then I can alone as an individual.

I should just give up, right? Let someone else decide what’s right for me.

Perhaps.

So is that why “lobby” has become a four-letter word?

If I can’t lobby, don’t let anyone else do it either. If I can’t effectively persuade my representative, no one else should either. We should just rely on the ballot box.

But The Economist recently pointed out that “As this direct democracy” and its consequence “ballot-box budgeting”, have grown representative democracy (ie; the legislature) has become dysfunctional… California suffers from the same hyper-partisan and acrimonious deadlock between Republicans and Democrats as Washington does.” [4]

You and I have the right to petition our government for grievances and express our point of view. In all likelihood I’m not really sure that my point of view is going to be heard or even taken into account. Don’t ask me why. It’s just how I feel.

Sometimes I wondered if there were other people who thought the way I do.

So I started asking around at the Little League, soccer practice, Boy Scouts and Brownies and to other parents at our children’s school and once we got past the “Oh, it’s okay to talk about politics.” part, I found that for the most part everyone seemed really frustrated by the political process. I was in good company.

These were just average people; teachers, lawyers, barbers, car salesmen, repairman and a few VCs. No matter who it was, they really believed that if they voted and got “their” candidate into office, then we would have a panacea for this nasty problem of highly paid lobbyists controlling the agenda.

Everything would be wonderful again.

But deep in their hearts, they suspected that their singular voice did not matter and so often resigned themselves to saying “But what can you do? There’s nothing you can do.”

Personally, I doubt if this is true because I think our representative has a point of view about what issues are important to her, what side of the argument she stands on and what she would and would not vote for and support. She would welcome hearing from her constituents either directly or indirectly.

That’s why we have a representative democratic republic. We elect our representatives and they make the decisions. Got it?

They don’t do what you want. They do what they want. The only thing you can do is vote them out and get somebody else in.

But why wait two years before we have a conversation with them?

Have our apathy, focus and daily distractions kept us away from debate on the real issues?

If we evaluated our employees and spoke to our spouse once every two years, we wouldn’t have a job or a marriage. The dialog needs to be persistent, focused and fact-based.

I think members of Congress are pretty much realists and political animals. They understand that in order to pass legislation they have to convince half of the House or Senate to agree with them on key points. So your congressman is always involved in coalition building no matter what the issue is. He is trying to persuade his peers to get them to agree with him every day he is in office.

This act of persuading or trying to bring him around to my point of view then, is really an appeal on my part and is in fact, lobbying. I am trying to convince him to think the way I do, believe what I do and therefore vote the way I would like him to vote.

The frustrating part for all of us is that our representatives don’t always vote the way we want.

Someone persuading someone else or lobbying someone is not a terrible thing. So, we shouldn’t get rid of it.

Effective lobbying is pure salesmanship. There are good sales people and bad ones. They inform us about products and services. From them we ultimately learn the distinctions, comparisons and differences among a wide variety of choices. Products or politics, it’s all the same.

Lobbyists educate our legislators. If they appear to have too much power it’s only because we have taken a backseat and allowed a representative democracy to take place where we are not actively engaged anymore.

We have taken ourselves out of the political debate and we spend our time in our apolitical routine.

Consider the persistently high ratings for Americas Got Talent[5] versus political news briefings.

If we can bring ourselves together we could take charge and have a voice in the political arena. We could pool our resources and have as much clout as a top lobbyist.

What separates us from the activity of lobbyists?

Three critical things:

  1. Clarity of message
  2. A critical mass of constituents who believe in the same thing
  3. Consistency of financial support for the issue and the persistence to follow through

With these three elements we too can shape our political destiny.

Am I describing political Utopia?

No. I am simply describing a crowd-sourced funding platform for personal persuasion. This would enable the silent majority to debate and express their views.

Voting is important but having a consistent dialog with our representatives between elections should not be set aside.

This way, you do not have to stand in the street on a rainy night waiting for the media to feature you on the 6 o’clock news in order to gain attention for your burning issue. Those days are over.

You don’t have to sit in your public affairs office wondering how you are going to locate 10,000 supporters outside your district. You do not have to sign petitions that you don’t understand, nor wonder if your campaign contribution is enough to help gain you access to your representative.

You don’t have to act in isolation anymore. The technological and practical means for political change are here today.

You can come together to shape your future without quitting your day job.

If we act in unison on key issues, it is my belief that we would turn “lobby” from a four-letter pejorative word into a six-letter statement of personal power spelled ILobby.

[1] US Congress. (n.d.). Amendments to the Constitution Article I. Retrieved 07 04, 2012, from US House of Representatives

[2] Politics, C. f. (2012, June 19). Open Secrets. Retrieved from OpenSecrets.org Lobbying Database

[3] Census, US. (2010, April 1). US Census 2010. Retrieved from Apportionment Data

[4] The Economist. (2012, June 16). California, Not Quite Greek But Still Weak. The Economist

[5] Ratings, Nielsen. (2012, June 18). Television Prime Broadcast Network TV – United States Week of June 18, 2012. Retrieved from Top 10 TV Ratings | Top 10 TV Shows

What Can You Gain From Automotive Mechanic Courses?

Do you dream about working on cars? Love getting under the hood? A career as a mechanic may be the perfect fit for you.

Automotive mechanic training programs will give you the skills you need to turn your passion for cars into a steady, rewarding auto repair career. Automotive mechanic graduates can go on to apprenticeships in some of the most successful automotive repair and service facilities in the province.

Intensive diploma programs are designed to fully immerse the student into the role of an Automotive Service Technician. Instructors are often industry professionals with real world knowledge, who can execute an industry specific automotive mechanic training curriculum based on core industry components. Automotive Mechanic training programs rang from technical automotive theory, to diagnostics, to actually engaging in the repair and maintenance of automobiles (fixing cars), allowing student the chance to understand and retain the knowledge and skills needed to become competitive in the auto mechanic industry.

Because of the varied nature of the profession, auto mechanic training programs are often very comprehensive in scope. Areas of study may include:

  • Brake Systems
  • ABS Systems
  • Starting Systems
  • Electrical Systems
  • Drivability Diagnostics
  • Fuel Systems
  • Fuel Injection Systems
  • Differentials
  • 4×4 Systems
  • Computer Systems
  • EVAPS System
  • Exhaust System
  • Drive Clean (Inspector Certification – Emissions)
  • Heating & Air Conditioning
  • Ozone Depletion Certification (HRIA
  • Safety & Accessory Systems
  • Suspensions
  • Steering
  • General Maintenance Services
  • Engines (Gas & Diesel)
  • Transmissions (Automatic & Manual)
  • Driveline Systems
  • Cooling Systems
  • Ignition Systems
  • Tire & Wheel Service
  • Repair Facility Dynamics Structure
  • Safety
  • Professional Protocol
  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
  • Performance Standards
  • Effective Communication Skills

Aside from gaining experience and knowledge in these areas, you will have the opportunity to be certified as an emissions inspector, and licensed to handle air conditioning refrigerants under your regional prevention rules, regulations and programs. These certifications, a necessity for many automotive mechanic jobs, will give you a definite edge in today’s repair and service job market.

Graduates from comprehensive auto mechanic courses have found careers as:

  • Emissions Inspectors
  • Lube Specialists
  • Automotive Service Technician Apprentices
  • Farm Equipment Apprentices
  • Truck and Coach Mechanic Apprentices
  • Parts Counter
  • Forklift Mechanic Apprentices
  • Muffler Specialists
  • Front End Technicians
  • Electrical Specialists
  • Engine Technicians
  • Fuel Specialists
  • Tune Up Technicians
  • Diagnosticians
  • Emissions Specialists
  • Instructors
  • Transmission Specialists
  • Hybrid and Fuel Cell Technicians
  • Performance Specialists
  • Automotive Service Technicians
  • Journeyman Mechanics
  • Service Managers
  • Assistant Managers
  • Shop Foremen
  • Shop Managers or Owners

Turn your passion for cars into a rewarding, long-lasting career. Get started today in the auto mechanic industry with an intensive automotive mechanic training program.

Mechanical Engineering

One branch of engineering which has survived the economic gridlock successfully is mechanical engineering. This field of engineering deals with the innovative application of physical sciences, mathematics and technology to the design, production and operation of mechanical devices, machinery and other systems.

Innovation and designing go hand in hand with mechanical engineering and many complex products in use today right from aeroplanes to ships are the result of the hard work of mechanical engineers. This branch of engineering also deals with the design of industrial machinery and associated processes, which make other things, such as shipyards, paper mills and car assembly plants. It also involves ideas related to the efficient use of energy in various processes and design of complete systems like heating and cooling systems. It is thus one of the broadest branches of engineering with remarkable applications in the design, development and manufacture of a variety of energy conversion and machine systems. Other subsidiary forms of specialization under mechanical engineering include mechatronics engineering, bio-mechanical and marine engineering.

Opportunities for mechanical engineers thus abound in a number of sectors like aerospace, automotive, marine, manufacturing, biomechanics, power generation, oil-exploration, oil rigs, heating and ventilation, air conditioning and robotics. Even emerging industries like nano- technology and particle technology have mechanical applications and many mechanical innovations are being developed to tap alternative fuel sources like geothermal, wind, tide, solar and hydroelectric energy. These engineers are well paid in the industrial sector and since it offers a wide range of opportunities, mechanical engineers are usually unaffected by any economic turmoil.

Polytechnics are one of the basic institutions from where mechanical engineers graduate. They must however have an excellent faculty and well equipped labs for practical sessions. Since mechanical engineering is more hands on, no effort must be spared to set up additional workshops and labs like lathe and machine workshops, auto and thermal labs, welding and foundry shops and fitting, carpentry and sheet metal shop.

Every year industrial visits and in plant training sessions must be arranged to expose the students to the various industrial processes and relate better between the theory and practise. Career guidance programmes, self assessment programmes and seminars should also be organised to open the eyes of the students towards future opportunities.

Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities must also be encouraged to ensure that the students have a wholesome development. An exclusive training and placement cell should be in place to make the students industry ready and earnest efforts have to be taken by the management to ensure that all the students are placed in various companies.

Industrial Automation – Help your Robotic Project Succeed

Investing in robotic equipment can be a big leap for a small business. Industrial robots have been automating tasks since 1961. The first industrial robot, the Unimate, worked with the die casting machines at a General Motors plant. In the last decade there has been a surge of robots being integrated into mid-sized and smaller companies. One reason is the growth and affordability of the used robot market. With the leaps made in controls technology, companies are upgrading robots before the current model has finished its life-span. However, the overall functionality of the six-axis articulated arm has not changed in the last decade. As companies consolidate and reorganize, the factory surplus is sold.

Automation benefits include saving money and reducing production time. Automation also leads to an increase in part quality and reliability. These are some tips to help you get started implementing automation onto your factory floor.

  1. Involve the Shop Floor Workers Consulting the workers that currently produce the part is a good starting point. This is the person who has the experience to know what works and what had not worked in the past. They often have helpful insight into the process that you can not gain by simply watching. Requesting their participation in the robotic welding project will help it be more successful. The workers who manually perform the process can provide advice on the configuration and specifications of the equipment up front, avoiding the possibility that the equipment is not as ergonomically friendly or productive as it could be. Failure to involve them disregards the insight they have gained though experience with the process.

  2. Choose your Robot Operators and Robotic Programmers Carefully Most industrial robots are controlled by the use of teach pendants. Several of these pendants now are programmed with an interface that resembles a personal computer. An individual that is computer-literate will have less trouble learning how to instruct the robot and moving it to accomplish the desired tasks such as welding or material handling. For instance, the challenge of transforming a manual welding process to a robotic welding process is best handled by someone with a solid background in manual welding. This would be an ideal person to select for programming or operating the robotic welder. When choosing robot operators, programmers, and technicians, special consideration should be given to motivated employees that are willing to learn and advance their skills.
  3. Make Training a Priority It is important when purchasing a robot integrator to choose one that provides training on the robotic system. This allows your company to be able to fully utilize the robot and minimize later down-time due to mechanical problems. Ideally the person chosen to receive the training should be the future programmer or operator. With the proper training, the programmer should be able to reliably produce efficient and effective robot programs. Basic groundwork training is a minimum, with the real learning happening on the shop floor. Generally your robotic integrator will program your robotic system to interact with your current equipment and leave you with a turnkey solution that requires only a push of a button. It is still ideal to have trained personnel on hand should a future problem arise. Routine maintenance, such as an annual grease replenishment and battery replacement, is also an issue that you will want a trained individual to perform. Many robotic systems have been destroyed by well-meaning maintenance by individuals that do not understand the complex nature of the robotic system.
  4. Watch Part Fit-Up and Repeatability The most problematical issue with welding robots is part quality. Robotic systems are designed to repeat the same sequence of events. If the robot system has been damaged, repeatability can become an issue. Robotics systems sold feature a repeatability measurement and that should be taken into account along with payload and reach requirements. Used robots should be tested for accuracy and repeatability during the reconditioning process. When performing properly, robotic systems are more reliable and produce parts far superior in quality than manually welded parts. Touch sensing and seam tracking can be used to compensate for weld joints that are not static, but robots are limited by the laws of physics. The use of quality equipment in conjunction with robots improves the part fit-up. Attention should be paid to lasers, welding and cutting torches, welding power supplies, raw consumables, and other variables that could lead to a loss of quality in the finished product.
  5. Calculate Estimated ROI There has been a steady growth in the robot industry over the past decade. Experts predict that this growth trend will continue in future years. Welding robots are still the majority of the market, but many applications can be handled by robots. The general rule-of-thumb is that a robotic welder can do the work of four manual welders. Therefore when production is increasing, the choice to add robotic welders is easily justified. It will also improve efficiency, productivity, and part quality. Higher quality leads to a greater demand for your product. Improved efficiency will enable you to be more competitive in your market. The improved productivity will allow you to meet your production demands without a larger workforce.