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  • Writer's pictureDavid Peterson

The Right Tool for the Right Job

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

As humans, we are interested in getting quick results - instant gratification.

Plus, we're lazy and want to get things done without doing hard work.

Those aren't necessarily bad things - in fact, those two concepts are what we call in our industry "Return of Investment" and "Automation".

I'd be a hypocrite to say that we don't want to see the results of our work and that we should work harder. No way.

But sometimes it's worth taking the long way around and doing a job right the FIRST time, using the proper tools and equipment.

This is never more apparent than a technician who has to clean up the work of another technician.

The title picture above is a perfect example of the concept of doing the job correctly.

The picture is actually a wheelbarrow belonging to Jon, our co-owner. We noticed this last week while pouring some concrete in the family barn.

It was a well-made, tough metal wheelbarrow about one year old - and it has one apparent flaw.

One screw was assembled with a non-galvanized nut... Just one screw. The entire rest of the wheelbarrow was in perfect condition.

Most likely, this item slipped into the wrong package at the factory, but it illustrated a few very important points.

The main point I want to focus here is the critical nature of taking the extra few seconds to do the job correctly.

We won't even bring Quality Control into the discussion. Whole different subject!

Always ask "What If?"

When you do critical work, people are counting on you. Life is all about making decisions and prioritizing your time to get the task done.

This rusty bolt may be holding a wheelbarrow together, and that may not be a huge hazard today.

But what if it's the set screw on a high-voltage electrical terminal block?

What if it's a shear pin on an overhead crane lift?

What if it's the screw terminal for a critical input on a PLC?

These are the questions that allow us to ponder the additional benefit of taking a couple minutes to track down the proper tools and equipment needed for making the right repair.

Three Useful 'Right Tools'

It might not always be essential to spend the extra time to find tools that do the job properly, but having access to them might be the difference between a good repair and safety hazard.

1 - A multimeter with the proper accessories.

Do you need to make AC current measurements? Get a clamping meter. Do you need to test inductors? Get an LCR meter. Need to test transistors? Get a meter with NPN and PNP terminals.

You might often get away with estimating a measurement, but we always need to ask 'if I assume incorrectly, what's the worst that could happen?' If the answer leads to safety hazards for people or equipment, you should very highly consider obtaining the proper measurements!

2 - Torquing screwdrivers.

Often, it may be easiest just to tighten the screw until it's 'good enough'. That might be fine 99% of the time, but that 1% you might just run into the terminal becoming too loose, or stripping the threads from over-tightening.

Many people have been fine with the hand-tight approach, especially when they are experienced with the task. But once again, ask 'what's the worst that could happen?'

3 - Quality Wire-Terminating Tools

I've seen countless times when a poor-quality pair of wire strippers cut or damages a small wire, leading to failure. Or a terminal crimper that works well enough to clamp an end until just more than a slight tug pulls it free.

If your job involves repairing cables and attaching wire termination devices, it's worth the time to get the right wire cutters, strippers, crimpers, and even soldering tools to do the job right the first time.

Your Work Reflects your Attitude

Remember that people around you (intentionally or not) are judging you by your work.

If your work is always sloppy and half-finished, you probably won't be assigned with high-priority tasks.

On the other hand, if you take the time to do the job efficiently but correctly, this reflects on your attention to detail and care for others.

Remember, it's not always you that will be the next person to see your work. You can choose how it looks. It can be great, or it can be poor.

If you and your team need to learn more about the right way to use tools to efficiently and safely troubleshoot control systems, give us a call.

We're always ready to teach the skills the right way.

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