Wizard of Motion Control

I was hired to provide second shift support for a production line, but I was trained on the first shift till they felt that I was ready.  This was a state-of-the-art facility that had a lot of sophisticated equipment in it.  It was a great job and I learned a lot.  A guy that worked there designed this machine that spread a tar like substance on a web where the product was manufactured.  He was a genius and everybody knew this, but this guy was not very well liked and, on my interview, they told me that I had to learn everything that I could from this guy, because I was going to be his replacement.  I liked this guy but he made a mistake, not following a Lock-Out Tag-Out procedure and the Safety Manager had it in for him, but since he was irreplaceable, they had to wait for me to get up to speed with the equipment.

The production line was new and they were still working out some of the program bugs and what they really needed from me was to support this machine that they called a Blotter.  It had a multi-axis Compumotor stepper control system that nobody understood except this genius and although I had worked with similar software, I did not know this.  When I program any machine, I use comments, so I can follow along with what I am doing and this is also helpful for others that may take over the machine after I am done with it.  This program was very cryptic, jumping all over the place through different routines and it contained zero comments.  That is why I called this guy a wizard, because he was able to follow this program and nobody else could.  I finally decided to make a flowchart of what this program was doing at every step it went through, and that allowed me to see why it was doing what it was doing.  I had confidence and I was ready and the wizard was shown the door.  I felt sad, but I was the only guy who actually got along with him.

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver #261 – Wizard hosted by Michael.

5 thoughts on “Wizard of Motion Control

  1. This sounds like a true story. The guy in the video talks about algorithms. Did you write algorithm based on your flowchart? My young son writes algorithms as part of his job and he did freelance work writing them also. I haven’t a clue what one is but it sounds like a mathematical formula?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The program was already written before I started this job and I created a flow chart of the instructions to help me understand what was going on. An algorithm is a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations that are used by computers and you can look at this as the directions that are given to computers. Computers unlike people do what they are told to do and they carry out their orders in the form of steps done one after another.

      Liked by 1 person

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