Avoid Problems: Know Your Equipment

During a visit to a relatively small plant, I walked by a large exhaust system. Stopping to observe it, I questioned if the system was controlling airborne contaminants to a safe level. The plant employees admitted it was not, but said they did not know what to do, as they could not afford to replace it.

After studying the overall design of the large hood, I asked if the employees could find some large pieces of heavy cardboard. When the cardboard was brought to the area, I asked that pieces be held next to the hood entrance, each at a certain angle.

Much to the surprise of the plant employees, this seemed to control the escaping contaminants. I told the plant employees that I believed the airborne contaminants could be controlled safely if they would replace the cardboard with metal. They agreed and thanked me for the demonstration because they had thought the whole unit would have to be replaced. The lesson: Anyone designing exhaust hooding should be knowledgeable about how air flows at the entrance of a hood.
Kenneth E. Robinson
Apex, N.C.

Hiding the Key to Happiness

An ancient legend (modified for modern times) tells about a time long ago when society so abused wisdom that the wisemen decided to take the secret of happiness and success away and hide it where mankind would never find it again. The big question was where to hide it. The chief wiseman assembled a team of experts and called a meeting to discuss the problem.

The civil engineer said, “We can bury the secret of happiness and success in a subterranean structure in the dark depths of the earth.”

The general contractor said, “I like that idea, for my excavation contractor can dig deep into the earth and find the secret for me to keep.”

Not wanting the general contractor to have that advantage over everyone else, the architect said, “Then we will design an undersea building and hide the secret of happiness and success in the darkest depths of the deepest ocean.”

At that point, the mechanical contractor replied, “That's great because we will be able to provide gigantic pumps and pump the water away until we can recover the secret.”

The structural engineer chimed in, “We will design the highest skyscraper and take the secret into the stratosphere where the air will be so thin that no one will be able to climb to the top.”

But the chief wiseman said, “NASA has already gone to the moon, and the Russians have built the Space Station. Humankind will easily be able to climb even the highest structure, find the secret, and take it up for themselves.”

Finally, the Energy Guys said, “Here is what we will do. We will hide the secret of happiness and success deep inside every individual, for they will never think to look for it there.”

To this day, people have been running back and forth across the earth digging, pumping, and climbing in search of something they already possess within themselves.
Shared by Kenneth M. Elovitz, PE
Energy Economics Inc.
Foxboro, Mass.

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