Fast paced environment for the mechanical maintenance engineer

28 October 2021

Dear Members

In Manufacturing industry there are people who fix the machinery and equipment that manufacture a variety of products like envelopes, cardboard paper, food packing, tin manufacturing machines etc. These people who maintain these machines are called mechanical maintenance engineers. These machines run at very fast speeds (pace) and when they breakdown the mechanical maintenance engineers fix these machines (I am not talking of the breakdown in electrics). Can someone describe the environment as too fast paced for the mechanical maintenance engineer? Because a maintenance engineer only fixes machines when the machines are not running/broken down. Is it a sensible description or ridiculous description? Does the maintenance engineer have to be as fast as these machines to be able to fix the machines?

Or you can think of it as fixing a racing car. The mechanic can only fix the sports car when it has broken down or when it is in the pit-stop not when it is on the race track. Can someone tell the mechanic that the racing car environment is too fast-paced for the mechanic? Does it make sense? Like I said the mechanic can only fix the sports car when it is stationary. The reason why I am asking is because one maintenance engineer was told by his boss (an Electrician) that the work environment was too fast paced for him and I thought this was not correct, ridiculous even.

Thank you in advance

I think it is reasonable to say that working on a race car may be too fast paced for a mechanic. That does not imply that he is fixing the machine on the run, but simply that he has to move very fast in the pit, because the time he takes to fix the problem counts against the driver in the race.

The same may be true of the machinery maintenance mechanic to some extent, if the whole operation must slow down until a machine is fixed. I do not believe he fixes the machine while it is running :grinning:.

Hi BA retired
Maybe I should not have given racing car as an example - I should have said stock car racing car where there’s no pitstop.

Hi tndemera,

Maybe you have a valid point. Anyway, welcome to simpliengineering. Good to have you aboard.


Welcome to Simpli Engineering!

I hate analogies. You are running a plant, not servicing race cars. Do your machines run 24/7, 365 days a year? If not, you have an opportunity to maintain them. If you are, you need to fix the machines when they break down, as quickly as possible. If you get to order components, spend the time, effort and cash to get reliable ones.

When I first read this post, it reminded me of an old joke . . .

So… A mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Harley, when he spotted a world-famous heart surgeon in his shop. The heart surgeon was waiting for the service manager to come take a look at his bike.

The mechanic shouted across the garage, “Hey Doc can I ask you a question?” The famous surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to the mechanic working on the motorcycle.

The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, “So Doc, look at this engine. I also can open it up, take valves out, fix’em, put in new parts and when I finish this will work just like a new one. So how come I get a pittance and you get the really big money, when you and I are doing basically the same work?”

The surgeon paused, smiled and leaned over, and whispered to the mechanic, “Try doing it while it’s running.”

:rofl: :joy: :rofl: :joy: :rofl: :joy:


I think this is just another example of English using the same expression to mean subtly different things. Sometimes infuriating, always a risk of creating a misunderstanding, but still a strength because of the way it helps you to use analogy to convey ideas you don’t already have shared words for.

As engineers, we’re as guilty of it as anybody else. Put yourself in the position of the musician who can’t understand why you’re fitting banjos in the fuel system of a vehicle.

Describing a job which requires intense work, throws up frequent, unpredictable but time-critical problems and where failure is costly as “fast-paced” is common practice. Most people know what it means and those who don’t work alongside machinery will never make the connection you do.

If a company posts a job opening for a maintenance engineer that includes the phrase “must be capable of working in a fast-paced environment” what it means is there is no maintenance planning and everything is done in reaction to failures.

In that environment the need for a “fast pace” in repairing broken equipment comes from the production manager standing behind the maintenance engineer screaming “we’re loosing money every minute the line is not running. Hurry up!”

I’ve heard that. Hurry up, do know what this outage is costing us.
Then again, if they had fixed the problem in the last outage, then we woul;d nopt have had this forced outage. Also my thoughts go along the line, I actually work in a different department, and not for you. That is is why we have more than one plant (good thing).
It’s only costing him his potential pay increase.

So I shake my head. Causing a person a heard attack is so not worth it.

I’ve worked as a maintenance engineer and can tell you it’s not all about fixing things when they break, it’s about being on-the-ball and anticipating likely problems before they become a problem. For production machinery, that means working along side and with the QA people inspecting the end product and reacting to their comments that the product could be drifting away from spec. and planning correction at the first opportunity .

1 Like