Whats Your Hot Job ???

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lakeroadster

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Ever heard the term "That would gag a Buzzard, on a gut wagon?" Been there... done that.

I'm retired. But I worked for a company for 18 years that built rendering equipment.

For those that don't know, rendering equipment processes all the guts , hooves, hides, skulls, bones, feathers, hog hair (you get the picture) from meat packing plants, as well as any dead animals that can't be run through a meat packing plant or that come from dairy's, farms, etc. The guts, dead animals, etc would be brought to the rendering plant in semi truck dump tilt trailers, full of the stuff I previously mentioned and dump the trailers into huge bins that were in the ground. These bins were the size of swimming pools, and they had augers in the bottom of them that conveyed the materials into "size reduction" equipment.

This size reduction equipment basically ground up everything into chunks, about the size of a human thumb. Then that ground material was cooked in steam heated vessels, then separated in a press, where you ended up with fat, and meal.

See photo below.

It's rumored Jimmy Hoffa went through one of these plants.

I didn't work full time in the plants, I designed the equipment the plants used. So when equipment broke down, sometimes I'd have to go figure out what went wrong, in order to get the plant back up and running.

I recall going to California and they were dumping the semi loads of guts in a parking lot because until we could get the plant back up and running... what else are you going to do with semi loads of guts and dead animals? I saw workers that were on break, eating donuts and drinking coffee, and the workers were sitting on bloated hog carcasses. Just another day for these fellas.

When we were ready to leave the plant you would take off all your clothes, put them in a garbage bag and throw them away, take a shower, put on new clothes, get in the rental car and head to the airport. People would still smell you coming. The rental car folks hated us.

I'd get home and my dog thought I was 170 lbs. of walking Purina Dog Chow... his nose was stuck on me like flies on a rib roast.

Regardless of what time of year it was... it was rough duty. But in the heat of the summer... well... I often questioned my sanity. There was just no way to get the smell to go away. It was in your pores. You just had to basically sweat it out.

Oh, for a short time we also built machines for municipal waste treatment plants when they were trying to cook human waste, then spread it on agricultural fields. They called that "Bio Solids".

Our Field Service guys were the highest paid guys in the entire company. Much respect to those fellas.

The worst thing I ever smelled though... was a raw material bin full of rotted chicken guts. It was bright yellow, looked like French's mustard.

My main focus was designing the continuous cookers. The largest I designed weighed 350,000 lbs. Most shipped by rail, sometimes though, they would ship over the road. See photo below.

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Sandy H.

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Is that a Turner truck pulling the load? Over the years, we've shipped quite a few loads on trucks like that, the longest one was 28 axles, I think. One group was Premier trucking with blue trucks and the other was Turner with red and white. I'm not sure how 'regional' vs 'nationwide' the companies are, but those big hauls always get attention. We'd often get some pictures in the local newspaper when loads like that left.

Cool to see!

Sandy.
 

lakeroadster

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Is that a Turner truck pulling the load? Over the years, we've shipped quite a few loads on trucks like that, the longest one was 28 axles, I think. One group was Premier trucking with blue trucks and the other was Turner with red and white. I'm not sure how 'regional' vs 'nationwide' the companies are, but those big hauls always get attention. We'd often get some pictures in the local newspaper when loads like that left.

Cool to see!

Sandy.
Yes it is.
 

mbeels

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Ever heard the term "That would gag a Buzzard, on a gut wagon?" Been there... done that.

I'm retired. But I worked for a company for 18 years that built rendering equipment.
Just wow. That takes the cake, or the carcass, or everything. I bet that Colorado air smells extra sweet.
 

mrwalsh85

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Foundry engineer for an automotive manufacturer. Plant gets quite toasty in the summer. We do low pressure die casting here, so cycle times are ~5-8 minutes, with approx 75 machines in our plant. I did a 3 year rotation at our sister plant (110 years old!)... The only relief from the heat was spot fans. Jet melters running full bore at 2200F to melt aluminum, and holding furnaces at ~1500F. All hand poured there, no automation. Just like the old days.

I have seen some pretty cool stuff, and I have seen some sobering stuff. Respect the machines and processes or they will bite you in the ass. HARD.
 

rkoenn

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Well I've been retired since 2011 after the shuttle program ended but I was very fortunate to have had a career working for NASA at KSC starting as a co-op in 1974 through the ASTP mission and then full time in 1979 through the entire shuttle program. During that time I spent 2.2 years at VAFB preparing for shuttle before it was cancelled there. So many great memories obviously from all those years and experiences. This was the final landing when I was working mechanisms and covered the launch from the firing room MEQ console and the landing doing our runway duties with retired astronaut Bruce Melnick on our team along with his son, Jim, who worked MEQ for Boeing.
 

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MikeyDSlagle

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I do HVAC work in paper mills, probably the most inhospitable manufacturing areas you can imagine.

Operating floor temperatures usually run around 120-140F.

Roof truss ventilation work is closer to 200F.

Edit: Although, I used to work in a sulfuric acid plant where they'd go into a 400-600F catalyst bed and screen the catalyst with some fire retardant suits with breathing apparatus and cooling. Never personally had the privilege, though.
I've done ventilation work in dozens of paper mills all over the US. Set countless fans, built several hoods and false ceilings; hung miles of duct.

Hottest we ever measured was a job in Hamilton, Ohio, the machine had no hood, we had tarps underneath the bridge/overhead crane to catch all the debris as we tore out a false ceiling with the machine running, literally a few feet below us. 158 where we were, 180 just a few feet away, checked with oven thermometer.

I've never seen an operating floor as hot as you say. The operating floor usually has decent ventilation, along with the hood doors and hood exhaust, to keep the temps down a bit.

I did HVAC work for 3 years in a (fairly) local paper mill. One perk was getting to work on the big units in the motor control centers and electric rooms, where it is nice and cool, with carbon scrubbed air.

Regardless...you are correct in that a paper mill is a very inhospitable place to work. Dangerous and deadly crap at every step, even the crap you breathe.
 

Blast it Tom!

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Well I've been retired since 2011 after the shuttle program ended but I was very fortunate to have had a career working for NASA at KSC starting as a co-op in 1974 through the ASTP mission and then full time in 1979 through the entire shuttle program. During that time I spent 2.2 years at VAFB preparing for shuttle before it was cancelled there. So many great memories obviously from all those years and experiences. This was the final landing when I was working mechanisms and covered the launch from the firing room MEQ console and the landing doing our runway duties with retired astronaut Bruce Melnick on our team along with his son, Jim, who worked MEQ for Boeing.
Just saw the Atlantis display at KSC today. What it must have been like to work there! I heard the sonic booms of the last landing over the phone from my mother in Winter Haven. And I'm thinking how we ease down from 35-40,000 ft in an airliner, but these guys were doing Mach 3 at 90,000 ft. over Winter Haven and landing "dead-stick" a few minutes later...
 
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