Seven days ago, a machine in the factory I work in started acting very odd. It would power down randomly during a cycle. We own 47 of these machines, and I have personally never seen one of them do that in the 8 years I've worked there. I was called to the machine, told of the problem, and I started checking some things. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and I ran the machine four more times myself, no problem. Called the operator back over, they ran it twice while I watched, nothing. I walk away, talk to the supervisors, and start heading back to my office. I hear a shout, turn around, supervisor is waving me back over. Machine did it again as soon as we had walked away.
Not entirely unheard of, I mean, machines have had strange issues in the past, and things come and go. So I grab a part number, tell the supervisor that maybe this power supply is overheating and powering down because of it. Tell them to leave it off until after their break and start it up then, if it happens again just shut it down and I'll fix it with a spare part in the morning. I go home.
Sure enough, it happened again as soon as they started it up after break and ran two parts. I get in, replace the part, start it up on first shift, it runs all day without any issues. Second shift comes in, and within 30 minutes of the shift starting it happens again. I tell them to deal with it and I'll look at it in the morning. This goes on for a whole week. Each time second shift shuts the machine down because of issues, and every morning I check and replace a component in the power circuit. Each time it runs all day on first shift without an issue. The last day, I've ran out of components in the power circuit, everything has been ruled out as the source of the fault. That is everything except the operator. From the very beginning, the operator pressing the power off button was in the back of my mind, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. But they could start the machine up on 3rd shift, run all night, run all day on 1st, and only have issues on 2nd. I let my boss know of my concerns, but did not express them to the supervisors because I wasn't 100% sure.
Sure enough, last night they moved that operator to another machine, same model, etc. The original machine ran perfectly throughout the night, but this new machine suddenly had issues, including randomly powering down during a cycle. They shut the machine down for the night, and when I came in this morning, I checked it out, reset it, and it ran all day without a single issue. During the morning production meeting the President/CEO asked me what was up with these machines, and since I still didn't feel 100%, I just told him I had an idea about what was happening and would be monitoring the issue. The plant manager looks at me and kind of smiles. I figure he knows what I mean.
Second shift operator came in today, and I looked around trying to figure out what machine she was running that night so I could keep an eye on it in the morning. But I don't see her anywhere. I looked on our plant wide production schedule and did not see her active on any machine.
What gets me, is if she is sabotaging these machines, she must have at least some intelligence. But if she has some smarts, how does she not understand that we can catch her doing this sh*t? She has to realize that by doing it on the second machine she was moved to, it pretty much guarantees her being caught. And by moving her away from the machine in question, and it suddenly not having any more issues, it pretty much guarantees her being caught. There was no end to this ordeal that ended well for her. And I'm not 100% up on these laws but it seems like maliciously sabotaging equipment to cause a loss of production and money for a company can lead to some very dangerous situations for a person...
To make the issue worse, she had the 2nd shift supervisor covering her ass. In private about day 6 I asked him if he had tried another operator (made it sound like a joke to avoid accusing) and he told me "Ha, ya, I watched it happen, she was no where near the machine at the time". Which appears to be a lie now. This supervisor is relatively new (only 4 or 5 months) and he seems to have a thing for all the young attractive women that work on his shift. Including this woman. Last night I was monitoring the machine she was on before I left to see if it was having any issues. He was over there personally showing her how to clean the parts. That's definitely not his job. He's not there to train operators, he's there to supervise, there are four employees who are in charge of keeping machines running and training new operators on jobs. The only reason he was there showing her how to do it is because she was an attractive young woman. I'm actually planning to bring up this supervisor's improper behavior when dealing with certain employees on his shift to the plant manager tomorrow. Because I just know that the only reason this woman was allowed to waste so much of our time and money was because this supervisor allowed it to happen.
I'm just frustrated right now because this supervisor has always rubbed me the wrong way, but now I have some pretty damning proof of his inability to supervise affecting the business in a very noticeable way.
Edited, Jul 18th 2013 7:38pm by TirithRR