Power Engineer's careers can be as EASY as 1, 2, 3, 4.
 
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Power Engineering can be and
look easy but...
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If you are working out in the units and have a Control Room Operator directing some of your work efforts many things can be very straight forward.
 
 
Some things are really easy to do like, one, two, three, fourÖ
Lets start a pump.  First off, you may have to notify the control room operator of what you are about to do.  Verify the breaker for this equipment is energized. The start may be remote from the control room or local as it is in this case.

After starting the pump, verify with the control room operator that the desired effect has been achieved, ie. flow volume has increased.  Be sure to check for unusual vibrations, noises or leaks and report any such items.  If the pump has seal flushes, make sure the valves to these are open and there is flow to the seal flushes by observing the flow indicators.
Power Engineer starts pump
Power Engineer starts pump
Power Engineer Dave starts pump

 
 
Want to start an instrument air compressor?? Very similar.  Notify the control room Operator.  Verify the appropriate breaker is energized for this equipment.  Ensure the Appropriate run mode is selected (ie: Run, auto load & unload)
Power Engineer Dave starts air compressor.
Power Engineer starting an industrial sized air compressor
Dave the Power Engineer starting industrial air compressor and confirming it's proper operation.

 
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 High pressure to Low pressure steam control adjusted manually for setpoint on automated pneumatic controller If you need to increase a pressure or flow, like on this high pressure to low pressure steam make-up system you just increase the set point like increasing the set point on your thermostat for the furnace in your home.
 
Donít worry. They'll never ask you to understand this computer controls stuff. This is only if you have an extraordinary interest in it.
Power Engineer mysteries

All that is required of you to do is just reposition some toggle switches to get the desired result. The toggles are basically used to start and stop pumps and to open and close valves. Other devices are used to control flows and pressures etc.

That was the easy part.  This career can be extremely easy at times and other times you can be racing around like a wild man. It comes and it goes.  Don't get the idea that easy is business as usual.  It isn't.  It may look easy to an outsider watching a seasoned professional but, that's only because the professional has worked hard to know the facility they are working in.  There are many days and nights where they really have to work very hard and use their noodle to do the right things, at the right time, at the right speed and in the prescribed order to keep the plant on line.  They have to know all the ramifications of starting that pump.  What happens upstream and downstream when they push the button.  How it effects pressure, flows, temperatures, levels, vessels, exchangers in numerous systems that may be directly or indirectly influenced.  It takes training, desire, talent, effort and years of dedication.  Do you have what it takes to be the best you can be?  If you do, this could be what you are looking for.

You really have to know and understand the operating principles of processes and equipment, what the dangers are and what the idiosyncrasies of the systems are.  It takes many years of training and operating to get proficient at what we do here.  It is not a cake walk.

When you watch a professional go through the motions they really make it look like it is easy.  Just remember, it took years of effort for that operator to get to that point.  Even though they may make it look easy, at the end of many shifts, an operator goes home very tired.

If you are working as a Control Room Operator it can be more complex and very nerve racking. It can also look rather relaxing if you really have it all together and it's an unusually quiet day. Again it may look easy and like the Control Room Operator is relaxing but, he/she is constantly focusing on what is going on in every part of the facility and mapping out in their mind, what they will do throughout the day as the day's priorities change.  Again it takes years of hard work to get there.  For those who have the desire it comes with time.

Power Engineer control room

If the control room is like this old system you see me standing in front of on the upper photo, it can be relatively easy to operate equipment via remote control.  Not many of these old analog systems still in use these days.  Fact is, by the time I left this facility the board behind me had been removed except for the alarm lights at the top, and everything was on the computerized TDC system.


Power Engineer computerized control room


The other more complex device for controlling plant operations is a DCS or Distributed Control System or TDC.  Behind me is a wall with most of the old analog system removed as it's operation has been transferred over to the TDC.  As the years went on and more was transferred over more and more screens popped up to my right.  There were a total of seven screens to view the process when I left.

This thing I'm sitting in front of is called a computerized control system or DCS or total digital control system TDC. Lots to know about this thing and that's because it does lots. Youíd have to have a wall of switches and controllers a mile long to keep up with everything this thing can do. So many tuning parameter items that can make system behave so much better.  Once some Einstein figures out how to ingratiate artificial intelligence into the mix of things operating a control room and a plant could become a different animal.  Fortunately there are other professionals on site that handle most of the technical items for this. All the Control Room Operator has to do is maintain surveillance, operate the equipment out in the units with it via the computer screens you see. As the years go on you get more and more comfortable with it.  But again, there is lots to know about computerized control systems like this.

These computerized control systems are very reliable but, they do have their problems and you are expected to know how to remedy some of them.  If it's 2 o'clock in the morning with no one around to help, you'd better be on top of your training so you know what to do.  There are higher function and more complicated issues that do arise from time to time but, that will be for the specialists to deal with.  When that happens, it's time to get some one out of bed.  And it never matters how important the issues are, you'll never be totally comfortable calling people at 2 AM to remedy what looks like a computer problem.

The pay is more in the Control Room and they never put you in the Control Room unless you want it and are capable. Donít ever get the idea they'll force you into it. That would be like you being a bus driver and your employer telling you that you are now going to be a racing car driver. Not everyone is cut out to do it. I like it because it is a more challenging and cleaner work environment. Ya, I like the higher pay scale too.

Dave the Power Engineer Technologist


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TABLE OF CONTENTS My P.E.T. Career

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  • Brothers in the business:
      1. Al. The executive.  Photo!
      2. Brian. Working the 9 to 5, Monday to Friday routine.
      3. Chad. A newbe in 2001.  Photos!
      4. Chris. He used P.E.T. as a spring board to another career.  Photos!
      5. Don. Work in at the brewery.  Photos!
      6. Dwayne. An old hand.  Photos!
      7. Earl. Retired but still working full time???  Photos!
      8. Gord. Management.  Photo!
      9. James. Soon to be wealthy. Lots of great photos!
      10. John. Chief Engineer at the brewery.  Photos!
      11. Matt. A newbe in 2000.  Photo!
      12. Mike. Heís formerly from Scotland.  Photos!
      13. Max. A Control Room Operator and Shift Engineer who had his employer pay for his continuing education in his favorite hobby, computers.  Photos!
      14. Steve. The "Bad Boy of P.E.T." who has hit the six figure income bracket. Photos!
      15. Ted. Has hit the six figure income bracket.
      16. Warren. A newbe in 2001.  Photos!
      17. Older Warren. Lots of experience. Photos!
  • Sisters in the business:
      1. Brenda. A newbe in 2001.  Photos!
      2. Elaine. Management.  Very short Bio.  No pics.
      3. Hanna. Works in the electrical power generating industry.  Very short Bio. No pics.
      4. Lana. A newbe and Control Room Operator.  Photos!
      5. Mandy. A newbe in 2002.  Photos!
  • Brothers and Sisters of Aboriginal decent in the business:
  1. Liz.  She's happy to be a granny!  Photo!
  2. Alita. A student in 2002.  Photo!
  3. Jay. A newbe in 2000.  Formerly a research scientist.  Photos!
  4. Justin. A newbe in 1999 who is a Control Room Operator and who got $9000 in scholarshipsPhotos!
  5. Randy.  Under development.
  • Scope of P.E.T. Technology.
  • DARK SECRETS. Things people do and shouldnít do, while on shift.
  • Internet links to:
  1. US job opportunities
  2. Canadian job opportunities
  3. US apprenticeship, training and licensing
  4. Canadian apprenticeship and training
  5. Other countries and their job opportunities
  6. US Labor agencies.

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MY P.E.T. CAREER
THE Power Engineer's E-Handbook
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