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Transformation – Part 9 B

October 19, 2017

We are all wondering, what’s up with this project? Some parts are out of their boxes, other parts are laid loosely on the back panels, yet others are being carried to the panel to join other parts. What is going on?

Transformation-Part 9-B

Quad Plus Shop:

As we arrive at the Shop, we are greeted by Dave. Dave started working for Quad Plus in January 2001 and was officially hired as Production manager around October 2003. In this part of the post, Dave is going to help us learn about the old method of doing a project size study.

It is the beginning of the year 2014. The shop is currently working on several projects at the same time. Each project, however, is at a different stage of its development. Some are close to finishing, others are in the middle, yet others are still in the very beginning. A distinguished project catches our attention as we see its parts spread over a larger area than the rest of the projects. Curiosity has always encouraged us to ask questions about things we notice are different or more interesting than others.

We are all wondering, what’s up with this project? Some parts are out of their boxes, other parts are laid loosely on the back panels, yet others are being carried to the panel to join other parts. What is going on?

Here comes Dave. Let’s see what he has to tell us. It seems that he will be walking us through the process of building a project from the beginning. Awesome! Building a project must start with a size study to make sure all parts fit on the specified panel and in the specified enclosure.

Starting with the Bill of Material (BOM), which includes all project’s parts’ numbers and descriptions, we first order all parts. Note here that most of the time, engineers who create the BOM are usually concerned with the overall results of the electrical project. They look forward to having the project accomplishing its purpose of performance and safety.

Since it has always been a team-work effort at Quad Plus, engineering trusts that CAD and the shop will handle the details of how the parts are connected together in the correct order to operate properly. Nevertheless, engineering still checks on the work during the development and provide markups to CAD drawings prior to the “actual” building of the project. actual building? What does that mean? Is there a notional building of the project? Yes, it seems like the project is notionally built before it is actually built.

This type of notional building is only performed as a project size study to make sure all project’s parts fit on the back panel/s. The back panels that eventually will have all project’s parts will have to fit inside the specified enclosures.   

To have a better understanding of the above, we want you to look at the real picture as we go through the process with Dave:

At this point, all project’s parts listed in the BOM have been ordered and delivered to the shop. The parts have been taken out of their boxes and placed either on a nearby table or on designated shelves to pick from and place on the back panels. The arrangement of the parts on the back panels depends on the CAD schematic drawings that are developed by the CAD Department. CAD Drawings are drawn according to the project requirements and the BOM order which is provided by the project’s engineer.

Side note: The number of the project back panels can range from one panel for a small project to 18 panels for larger ones. Wait! Do you know what a back panel is? Here is a definition for you; The back panel is a galvanized metal plate or panel where all project parts are usually mounted and wired. After wiring all the parts on the panel, the panel gets mounted on the inside surface of the back of a specified enclosure. From there, more wiring and connections are made where the project gets finalized and tested for the proper performance.

How does that sound? Does it seem like it is an easy work process? As we see it right now in the shop, it does not seem to be. I see the shop manager actually carrying the heavy parts and placing them on the back panel. This is not done to start wiring and get the project underway. He is doing this only to make sure the back panel will fit all the parts. It certainly creates a big waste of time to go through the process and wire everything only to find out at the end that the panel was too small to fit the parts.

And, not only that, but let’s take a deeper look at the process. Are there some hidden factors we need to consider when going through all that work?  Do you think there is anything that is more important than time and productivity?

Well, Transformation Part 9-C is waiting for us. Let’s continue reading to find out together what deserves more attention than our productivity.