By Ron Clark, President
It is hard for me to admit, but alas true, that I was not always the all-knowing, wonderful, omnipotent,…. in bolting matters only of course… no purple cap here… ever modest guru, that all my three followers know me as. Feeling the need to help you innocent bolting engineers…. Halley to note… that are untouched by harsh reality, I swallow my pride to bring back that nightmare window from the past in this anecdote remembering the matter of:
THAT DAM VALVE.
Looking back I can see why it took months of trial and error to fix what I considered poor design causing a simple bolt breakage problem. The valve was a large poppit style, about a foot in diameter that was driven open to allow fast approach of the slide downward and closed, to transit into pressing speed, just above the part to be trimmed. The Press would run for a few days and crash. The 16mm bolt holding the valve in place would fail. Fast approach would not slow down to pressing speed and tools would say “ouch”.
After a few failures we decided the obvious fix would be to beef up to a larger fastener and then a larger yet when that didn’t work, and at that stage, we pick up the story which continues as everything in India does, at tea time of course. I spent more time drinking tea than working, so that’s probably why my eyeballs are still yellow… anyway, there I was, drinking tea and munching Samosa’s with my good friend Erik, the plant maintenance super, discussing the latest repeat event involving… right….. you guessed it, that dam valve on my #!@%$<> (adjective) German hydraulic trim press that had crashed again, and Alberts was there. Alberts was an older bugger, a nice enough soft spoken chap….. wasn’t even a mechanic because he was only a lowly electrical supervisor, and part of his job was replacing fuses for Pete’s sake. So naturally, following the industrial caste system prevalent at that time, was considered mentally inferior….. So of course I had every right to look down on him….
By this time everyone in the forge and his brother were aware of my valve problem and maybe the whole world for all I knew. My genius reputation caused by a swollen head was in danger. Listening to our frustrated conversation while drinking tea through a monster mug, Alberts, as others before him, mildly ventured a simple fix that he had used successfully on his bicycle pump, which brought laughs and jeers from the room, along with a rude comment by me as to where he could put the fix and the pump. Because most of my problems were with German machines I remember feeling in those early days that the whole German race was against me and that they were winning. Of course this could well have been because most of the machines I installed were German anyway and I was too proud to ask the engineers at Banning who I felt would laugh at such a simple problem! I was quite young but already showing my Guru qualities in stupid.
Fast forward six months and I am at Banning, the press builder, touring our German principals from whom the company I work for import and resell machinery. I unload all my pent up Valve misery including some under my breath on Herr Joachim, the unfortunate spokesperson from their engineering department who apologetically tells me that they do not use that system any more but that they had suggested a simple fix that had I possibly not received…. Call me sensitive, but I know he was slyly laughing at me. He then showed me a sketch of the fix, which left me red faced and many hat sizes smaller. It was Alberts’ bicycle fix exactly… even including leather as the material used to absorb the shock when the valve closed. Yes SHOCK, IMPACT causing load spikes were loosening and finally fatigue failing the fastener which did not require any assembly preload. But of course you all knew this and the moral of this story is less about bolting and more about listening. A little respect for other people’s opinions can lead to good things.
In conclusion… I heard that sigh of editor relief.
As your ever knowing…. etc. .etc.. modest as always, bolting Guru I would end by mentioning a tea party on my return from the Deutschland sponsored by me.. I paid… for Mister Alberts, no less, to acknowledge his successful contribution to the institute of unaware bolting fixes and other unmentionable things and to inform him that Herr Joachim would like to hire him as head of design fixes for Banning or was it banging… can’t remember but my head size did grow back to require extra-large Mexican sombreros…
OK the end.