Fear of the "other side"


Thread Starter

Rich G

I'll admit it: I am a mechanical person that is trying to learn this electrical/control world (or at least have an idea when I am being BS'ed). Slowly overcoming my fears of it while not totally understanding it all but trying to pick up on key/repetitive items.

My question: From an electrical point of view, is there the same trepidations towards mechanical items and issues? Is it as difficult for an electrical person to sell mechanical parts as it is for a mechanical person to sell electrical?
I recall that in one of my early EE clases the insturctor indicated that some 30-40% of the students in the class would end up working not in EE but in other engineering related fields. I don't know if that true or not, but I do believe that anyone who learned the basics well and developed good problem solving skills can move
successfully between engineering disciplines. Regardless of your field, success requires constant learning even after graduation, so how is moving from one discipline to another different except in quantity to learn? Stow the trepidations and keep on learning.

Phillip Wade

One of the great problems we have in the United States is the separation of disciplines. I actually began as an auto mechanic and worked my way through school as such. After school I began to realize this was a real blessing and has helped me very much over the years.

There are few electrical controls people who have a good feel for the mechanical requirements of manufacturing applications. This requires a good
understanding (and feel) of mechanical loading which mostly comes from field experience. You can have real difficulties implementing PID if you don't have the feel for each of the components and how they effect the load or how the slack in a long chain system can change the requirements.

This is one a simple example. The point is, in automation controls a programmer can be mechanical or electrical (or chemical) in his primary discipline and be most effective only if he has the experience. A second problem is that some people just have a terrible time learning the basics of another discpline unless they learn it in a school environment.

Your years of experience in many different applications seems to be the biggest key.

Good Luck