Experience Counts

In the beginners mind there are many options, in the experts mind there are few.  As I am encouraged and polished by the senior application engineers I find this statement to hold true in many ways.

There are, however, certain fields in which I am already an expert in my own right.  As an automotive technician for nearly a decade, an array of master certifications and advanced level competency certificates give weight to what many would call expertise.  Scarred hands and busted knuckles prove that any knowledge gained has been done so through perseverance and personal time on the job.  People can wonder why someone would want to do this, but in all fairness I liked cars before I liked girls.

I used to open up all the operating parameters on each sensor input and watch them on the scanner during diagnosis.  Over time, you get an idea of what is normal, what is acceptable variance, and what is erroneous (in addition to what the books and charts say).  I would also scope these outputs onto a digital oscilloscope to watch the sweeping patterns of the electrical signals.  Sometimes this is the only way to find a glitch when it’s momentary because the readout screen of the scanner doesn’t respond fast enough.  (Thank you propagation delay!)

This experience and a willingness to help with any car related problem has always been a good thing for me and yesterday it proved worthwhile once again.  I answered my phone in the application engineering department of EXAIR and was greeted by a fellow engineer.  Unbeknownst to me, this gentleman was an engineer for an automotive parts supplier.  They were working with a new prototype sensor that needed a specific cycle time to heat up and cool down to simulate on-the-road conditions.  We went through the parameters of the application and as each specific came to light it sounded more and more familiar.  Sometime during the conversation I stated this sounded like the “___”.  There was silence.

“Uhh…  Yeah that’s pretty close…

“I used to see these scope out faulty on the twin turbo ___ engines”.  (Still do)

“Oh WOW!  That’s… Well… I can’t say much more without giving away the farm.  This project is of high level interest to the company…”

As it turns out, this engineer was working on a new and improved sensor for which I had spent significant time watching the readouts.  Repeated failures of the same part often led me to ponder the root cause of failure.  Perhaps the metals used to surround the pickup points had not been configured correctly and as a result the longevity was compromised.  Or perhaps normal operating conditions varied too widely across different regions and the expected values to the controller software were too stringent.  It’s not often these questions can be fielded by the (ex) technician directly to the engineers designing the parts.

So as the conversation went on I found it quite enjoyable to listen attentively and my colleague found my experience to be quite helpful.  We found a solution using the EXAIR Vortex Tubes, and I’m eager to learn the results of testing.

This level of service and dedication is something in which we take pride at EXAIR.  Whether its machine setup and operations, manufacturing design, process control, efficiency implementation or automotive product prototyping, we’re here to help.  If you need a hand with your application, give us a call.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

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