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Survival Techniques for the Practicing Engineer

ISBN: 978-1-119-25045-6
208 pages
August 2016
Survival Techniques for the Practicing Engineer (1119250455) cover image

Description

Providing engineers with the tools and skills  to survive and become successful in the work place
  • Gives experience-based, highly realistic guidance to a cross-section of young and even established engineers
  • Delivers practical guidance and acts as a handy resource so that lessons do not have to be learned the hard way with numerous errors, and costly problems
  • Includes real world examples and case studies from a 45 year veteran in the engineering field
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Table of Contents

About the Author xi

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xv

1 Getting Ahead 1

1.1 Finding your Niche 1

1.2 Twenty Rules to Remember 5

1.3 Calculated Risk Versus Reward 8

1.4 Advancement 9

1.5 Learn from Observing Failures 10

1.6 Keep Good Records of what you have done 12

1.7 Flexibility in your Career 17

1.8 You’re Known for Your Work 17

1.9 Ethical Behavior in Engineering 19

1.10 Humor in the Workplace 20

1.11 Self-Preservation when Documenting your Analysis 21

1.12 Don’t be Overwhelmed 22

1.13 Providing Guidance to Others 23

1.14 The Technical and Managerial Ladder to Advancement 24

References 26

2 The Politics of Engineering 27

2.1 What to do 27

2.2 What not to do 28

2.3 Disenchantment with your Job 30

2.4 Conducting yourself in a Meeting 33

2.5 Organize and Prioritize 35

2.6 Do as much as you can for your Colleagues 36

2.7 The Catch 22 of Engineering Project Work 37

2.8 Arrogance, Humility, Favors, and Courtesies 38

2.9 Be Curious and Inquisitive 40

2.10 Striving for Perfection 43

References 44

3 Utilizing the Input from Others 45

3.1 Just out of College 45

3.2 Mentors and Colleagues 46

3.3 Interaction Between Disciplines 47

3.4 It’s Nice to be Appreciated 48

3.5 The Funny Look Test 49

3.6 Uncluttered Thinking 49

3.7 The Art of Visualization 51

3.8 The Importance of Alliances and Networking 52

References 53

4 Communicating Effectively 55

4.1 Speaking Effectively at Meetings 55

4.2 Effective Writing Skills 57

4.3 Learn to Listen 58

5 Problem Solving and Decision Making 61

5.1 Why is this Section Important? 61

5.2 The Simplest Solution First 62

5.3 The 80–20 Relationship 63

5.4 The Five WHY’s used in Problem Solving 65

5.5 Being the Devil’s Advocate 66

5.6 An Engineering Approach: Use the Scientific Method for Problem Solving 66

5.7 You Need to know the Whole Story 70

5.8 Failure Analysis and Accident Investigations Differ 72

5.9 Why Decision Making is Important in Engineering 73

5.10 Decision on Several Choices 74

5.11 The Importance of Personal Checklists 76

5.12 Confirmational Bias or Self-fulfilling Prophecies 78

References 79

6 How an Engineering Consultant can help your Company 81

6.1 Why Use a Consultant? 81

6.2 What a Consultant can do 82

6.3 The Cost of a Consultant 83

7 Consulting Engineering as a Career 85

7.1 Consulting as a Career 86

7.2 Compensation will Probably be less than you Expected 87

7.3 How much should my Billing Rate be? 88

7.4 The Job Contract 88

7.5 You must Understand the Companies’ Politics 88

7.6 Documenting the Consulting Effort 90

7.7 Useful Equipment for a Mechanical Engineering Consultant 90

7.8 Verifying an Analysis 91

8 Precautions on Purchasing First of its Kind Equipment 93

8.1 Initial Design Specifications 94

8.2 Question Everything and Understand the Design 94

8.3 Document all Changes and Trust no one 95

8.4 Assign Responsibilities 95

8.5 When things don’t Work as Expected 96

References 97

9 Useful Information to Consider 99

9.1 Various Types of Equipment and their Failure Loads 100

9.2 Cracking of Welds due to Cyclic Stresses 101

9.3 Remember to Consider all Forces and Moments 104

9.4 Phantom Failures: Some Failures are very Elusive 107

9.5 The Art of Hammer Tapping 108

9.6 Development of Some Simple Energy Equations 109

9.7 Maintaining Proficiency in your Analytical Abilities 111

9.8 Safety Concerns to be Aware of 115

9.9 Should I Pursue a Patent? 118

References 119

10 Case Histories using Analytical Models 121

10.1 Building an Analytical Model of a Material Processor 123

10.2 Determining the Loads on the Processor Structure 129

10.3 Determining the Life of the Processor 131

10.4 Discussion of Failure and Potential Fix of Processor 132

10.5 Understanding the Sloshing Equation 135

10.6 Failure of Agitator Coupling Bolts 138

10.7 Causes of Auger Feeder Screw Failures 140

10.8 Temperature of a Blocked in Centrifugal Pump on Bypass 141

10.9 Heat up Rate and Rubs on a Steam Turbine 143

10.10 Pneumatic Testing Dangers and Beware of Safe Distances 144

10.11 Containment of a Wrecked Internal Part 147

10.12 A Catastrophic Disaster 152

10.13 Why are Parts out of Tolerance on the Production Line? 155

10.14 Failures Caused by an Impact Force 157

10.15 Design of an Aircraft Tow 159

10.16 Shaft Failures and Crack Growth 162

References 166

11 Benefits of Continuing your Education 167

11.1 Benefits of an Advanced Degree 167

11.2 Importance on Selecting your Academic Advisor 168

11.3 Difference between an Engineer and a Scientist 170

11.4 Benefits of Continued Education 170

Reference 171

12 Closing Guidance 173

12.1 Determine what you want to Achieve 173

12.2 Most of my Success was due to others 174

12.3 It’s not so much what you do as what you Haven’t Done 174

12.4 Become a Mentor to Someone 174

12.5 Remembering those before us 176

12.6 Thoughts on the Future of Engineering 178

References 180

Index 181

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Author Information

Anthony Sofronas, DEng, PE, has spent the past forty years troubleshooting field failures, designing machinery, and fixing equipment for ExxonMobil, Bendix, and General Electric. He is currently a consultant and presents seminars worldwide through his company Engineered Products. He has published forty-one technical papers and articles, along with a bimonthly column for Hydrocarbon Processing magazine on engineering case histories.

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