To train, or not to train?

            The many of you who know me know that I have been an advocate for training since my career in the oil industry began, and I always will be. I’m always amazed at how many people seem to say ‘I’m all set” when it comes to training or how little their enthusiasm seems to be. This is coming from some technicians, service managers and owners.


Some of the reasons given for not participating are: ‘It’s too late in the season,” ‘I can’t give up the manpower,” ‘I can’t afford it,” or ‘My boss won’t pay me for the training time.” There was a time when training programs would get overbooked and more than one class had to be scheduled. However, as I talk to some of the really dedicated trainers, they too are often surprised as their enrollment numbers have declined.


            Why training? The reason is very clear, because there are so many changes being made at a very rapid pace, when it comes to both new equipment and control technology. You will also find out sooner or later that these changes will affect both the oil and gas side of the trades as well.


            As an example, how many know about the states making it mandatory for all oil lines to be incased and have an oil OSV valve or for that matter what the OSV does? How many know about the 2012 federal requirement that all boilers produced must have an outdoor reset or a water temperature controlling device? Do you know how to retrofit an older boiler with these new controls or how they wire or function? How many gas technicians and installers know about the new gas piping that can replace iron pipe and is listed for seismic and fire resistance and has lightning protection? This same piping requires fewer joints and has a special auto flare.


I myself recently hopped on a plane and flew to Cleveland, Ohio to attend a training program on a control that was brand specific. To my surprise I learned that the control is being installed on a German manufactured boiler. I was also surprised to learn about the controls’ new features and benefits, one being capable of a reduction in fuel consumption. The controls can save 10-15 percent in fuel oil.


            I also attended a training program held recently at a Rhode Island based company, and I learned from the class that they too are going to the market with a new control that will do away with those soon to be old-fashioned cubes that have been used in many applications. I learned that this control will be protected from stray voltage with a new type of protector.


 I’m sure many of you recently experienced power outages for several days from the recent Hurricane Irene and started up or bought a new generator. But did you know that not all generators distribute the same current? As I was told by a generator manufacturer, some of the older units can distribute dirty current. The result of the dirty (various measurements) current was a high loss of electronics devices such as TVs, computers and heating equipment controls.


            Now that you have read this article, I hope that all the readers will reconsider the training opportunities whenever offered in order just to stay ahead of the technology curve. Now you will have to decide for yourselves to train or not to train.

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