Last weekend I bumped into Santa at a shopping mall and was reminded of a Santa Claus story crafted by Glenn Turner, which I first came across a couple of years ago, and told by him much more elegantly than I will summarize here:
A boy from a very poor family, who each year asks Santa for whatever his cousin (from a very well off family) asks for. One year a pony; the cousin gets a pony, the boy gets hand-me-down clothes.
The next year thinking he is erring in his approach, the boy carefully copies his cousin's letter to Santa word for word, politely asking for a bicycle. His cousin gets a bike; the boy gets hand-me-down clothes.
In response to this great disappointment the boy goes out behind the barn, with tear-filled eyes but with a rage-closed fist raised to the sky and says, "OK Santa, if that's the way you want to play it!" and then sets about being his own Santa Claus.
This is of course a success parable and hopefully its meaning is obvious: far too many people childishly rely on others to give, to appoint, to authorize, to promote, to grant permission, to set their life's agenda for them. Comparatively few accept full and total responsibility to be their own Santa and grant their own requests.
Fact is, there isn't any fat guy in a red suit coming down your chimney to bring you that new boat you've been lusting after, or that fat retirement account that'll guarantee your security.
But acknowledgement of this grim reality is empowering - just like it was for the boy in the above story.
So it's in this context that my wish for you in 2011 is that you 'write your own ticket'. Make no small plans, no big compromises. Set, pursue and achieve a lot of goals. Resist mediocrity and ignore less creative or ambitious peoples' criticisms or disapproval.
And thank you for your continued support, interest and creation of value for yourself, your company and your family from my work here and elsewhere. I am motivated by it and appreciative of it.
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What is a picture really worth?|
Marian Tumarkin, co-author of Hydraulics Made Easy and Advanced Hydraulic Control, sent me an interesting article published in the BBC's News Magazine, called: Diagrams that Changed the World.
One of the examples the article's author Marcus Sautoy cites, involves Florence Nightingale. As Sautoy explains:
"Although better known for her contributions to nursing, her greatest achievements were mathematical. She was the first to use the idea of a pie chart to represent data. She had discovered that the majority of deaths in the Crimean War were due to poor sanitation rather than casualties in battle. She wanted to persuade government of the need for better hygiene in hospitals but realised that just looking at the numbers was unlikely to impress ministers. But once those numbers were translated into a picture - her 'Diagram of the Causes of Mortality in the Army in the East' - the message could not be ignored."
A good diagram is indeed worth a thousand words (or numbers in Nightingale's case). It can also be worth a lot of nickel. Consider the four main types of hydraulic diagrams in common use -- and the consequences of having to manage without them:
Block Diagrams show the components of a circuit as blocks joined by lines, which indicate connections and/or interactions.
Cutaway Diagrams show the internal construction of the components and flow paths. Because these diagrams typically use colors, shades or patterns in the lines and passages, they are very effective at illustrating different flow and pressure conditions.
Pictorial Diagrams shows a circuit's components and piping arrangement. The components are seen externally and are usually in a close reproduction of their actual shapes in scaled sizes. This aids in component recognition and identification.
Graphical Diagrams are the shorthand system of the fluid power industry. They comprise simple, geometric symbols, drawn to ANSI or ISO standards that represent the components, their controls and connections.
To a technician skilled in reading and interpreting them, a graphical circuit diagram or schematic is a valuable aid in identifying possible causes of a problem. And this can save a lot of time and money in a troubleshooting situation.
If a schematic diagram is not available, the technician must manually trace the actual, physical circuit and identify its components in order to isolate possible causes of the problem. This can be a time-consuming process, depending on the complexity of the system.
Worse still, if the circuit contains a valve manifold, the manifold may have to be removed and dismantled - just to establish what it's supposed to do. Because if the function of a component within a system is not known, it can be difficult to discount it as a possible cause of the problem. Schematic diagrams eliminate the need to reverse engineer the hydraulic system.
Where are YOUR hydraulic schematics?
As most hydraulic technicians know from experience, there's usually a better than even chance that a circuit diagram will not be available for the machine they've been called in to troubleshoot. But this is unlikely to bother the technician, because it is the machine owner who usually pays for its absence through prolonged service calls and increased downtime.
Where do all the hydraulic diagrams go? They get lost or misplaced, they don't get transferred to the new owner when a used machine is traded, and in some cases they may not be issued to the machine owner at all. Why? Because generally speaking, hydraulic equipment owners don't place a lot of value on them.
So if you're responsible for the upkeep of hydraulic equipment and you don't have schematic diagrams for your existing machines, try to obtain them - BEFORE you need them. And always ensure that you're issued with schematic diagrams for any additional hydraulic machines you acquire. It's a picture which can be worth a thousand dollars.
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Plant Maintenance Resource Center
Another piece of paper you shouldn't be without|
A schematic diagram isn't the only piece of paper worth its weight in gold
to a savvy hydraulics user.
In my article in the November 2010 Issue of Hydraulics and Pneumatics
I explain what the other is and why it too is so valuable.
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About the Author: Brendan Casey has more than 20 years
experience in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of
mobile and industrial hydraulic equipment. For more
information on reducing the operating cost and increasing
the uptime of your hydraulic equipment, visit his
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