Thursday, September 1, 2011

Talking to TV Vaidyanathan

2 days ago I got a call from an unknown number... It was a surprise a call from Mr TV Vaidyanathan. I had come across this brilliant Mechanical or more accurately a Mechanical Project Manager during erection and commissioning of MECON's Skin Pass Mill at Salem. One of 2 engineer (other was Mr Sugatahan)  who knew mechanical erection according to  Mr Munshi - who headed their department in MECON.

Sri Vaidyanathan (TVV) is a nice gentleman a go getter and never say die type of person. During Salem E&C days we used to use his temporary liquor license for buying our drinks. During Vizag project days we came to know his prowess in use of PC's - including games (never my forte) and in playing cards. His wife was a proficient classical singer and sang over Radio  and other places. Later on she did not keep well & was ill and had many medical complications. She expired in 2009. As informed TVV's daughter is married of & is in Delhi.

Wish a very happy retired / re- employed life to TVV. It was so nice to talk to a old colleague

Saturday, April 23, 2011

From Bokaro Steel to MECON - the change which changed the life


Were there no Emergency in India my life would not have been so exciting !

How ? Let us roll back a little to 1977 ..

Janata Party - a conglomeration of anti Congress and anti Emergency political parties  overthrows Indira Gandhi Govt by thumping Majority after dark days of Emergency.

Late Mr Biju Patnaik,  Steel Minister in new dispensation goes ahead to set aside earlier decision to have Russian Mills and gives the order for new CRM-II complex to MECON with Wean United Inc of USA.  

Thus MECON - a leading Steel Consultancy Company - got the order for CRM-II in 1977 and  MECON had to play dual role as consultant as well as supplier of equipment for SAIL- Bokao Steel. In view of this new job some 17 electrical engineers were selected from Bokaro Steel Ltd for parallel transfer to MECON - both companies were subsidiary to SAIL at that time.

I along with many of my friends Mr SB Mukherjee, Mr PC Sadhu,  Mr Prakash Chatterjee, Mr Udai Singh, Mr Prabhakar, Mr NK Tamrakar, Mr KN Jana, Mr KK Mukherjee, Mr Awdhesh Ojha. Mr Tiwary. Late Mr DK Roy, Mr CD Pandey, Mr Manoranjan Dandpat and others joined MECON. It was a curious change for us. We were perfect commissioning engineers with lot of and  variety of hands on commissioning experience and we had to prove our selves in design and engineering organization. We thought the new job easy earlier learning later that it was anyway not so very difficult.

That time electrical department in MECON was in 3 parts Electrical-1 headed by Mr Mathai C.E, which did Electrical Power and Distribution, Electrical-2 headed by Mr BP Sarkar, CDE which did Rolling Mills and Processing Lines (Both Supply jobs and Consultancy) and Electrical-3 - headed by Mr PS Sharma, E.M which did all remaining things for Steel and Iron Making. Myself was picked by Mr BP Sarkar for posting in Electrical-2 (RM&AED) under Mr K Ramadurai- who over turned earlier decision to post me in Electrical-1.
I alomngwith my friend Mr SB Mukherjee and others joined Rolling Mill - supply part of Electrical-2 lovingly called United Wing due to MECON's collaboration with Wean United Inc. We were put under Mr BP Goyal - a tough task master. He later resigned from MECON to work with Road Master Cycles at Rishikeh and later in Jindal Stainless Ltd. I rejoined under him as VP-Projects in JSL during my short stint in 2006-2007.

We used to work in what was called "Apna Bazar Building" in main road of Ranchi - then in Bihar State. Driving a scooter in Ranchi road without road devider and lot of Rikshaws was a nightmare for most of us who had seen wide roads in Bokaro. However I was comfortable driving here and 2 of my friends needed me to drive them to Firaya Lal chowk when required.

One interesting thing which happened during our initial days in MECON was that - me and SB Mukherjee will criticize Mr BP Goyal (I have lot of respect for him now) in Bengali thinking he won't understand us. Later we got a shock when we heard him talking fluent Bengali - due to his earlier posting in Durgapur. My journey with MECON had begun..

Monday, February 28, 2011

Post PG test - So called malfunctioning of CO2 fire fighting in Salem 2 Hi mill

Few years after performance guarantee test SAIL HQ realized the importance of fire fighting system, which was never commissioned to the satisfaction of Salem Steel. Almost Rs 2 Crore was pending from SAIL to MECON and there was pressure on Lube and Hyd department of MECON who had supplied the CO2 fire fighting system as turnkey system and our Electrical department was not involved. However when the problem of pending money came up- we were again summoned to recommission the system supplied by Vijay Fire. Sri KN Jana who was that time in Electro Technical Laboratory was asked to investigate and do the needful. After brief study he found that the power supply to main board was not stable. He assembled a power stabiliser using 2N3055 transistors and we started our journey to Salem. That time we found that we could afford to stay in Welcome Group Chola Shereton a 5 star Deluxe Hotel in Chennai as per our DA entitlement if we shared room.

We did stay in that hotel sharing a room. We found the fridge in the room stiffed with cold drinks, chocolates and other stuff. We ate and drank all that was in the fridge thinking it was complementary. Jana even drank the soda water also. It was shocking later to pay Rs 70 for each bottle of cold drink consumed which were worth Rs 4 or so that time.. we learned a lesson that day about such hotels..

In Salem we had to discuss the test with Mr Sugathan - a ex MECONIAN in charge of design in Salem and one Mr Jayraman Mr Jayraman was in charge electrical and was ex colleague of my then boss Mr K Ramadurai. It was tough discussions and we knew the going is going to be tough.

During the test all technical people along with fire fighting personnel were present. We were confident having tested the panel several times. But when the test was done, Only fire alarm got activated and no punching of CO2 cylinder took place. We were disappointed. We tested the panel and it functioned well. As expected our requests for retest were not accepted. It was time to check again and again why it malfunctioned. Again it was myself only to notice that a glass cover on the panel installed by Salem Steel for protection / mal operation was pressing a selector switch and thus only manual mode was getting active - this was preventing automatic operation of CO2 cylinders as required for successful test. We again approached Salem Steel for retest. With lot of arguing with Mr Jayraman and with some support from Mr Sugathan a retest was organized next day with panel glass cover kept open. Fire fighting worked and a minutes was signed accordingly.

We returned to Ranchi and reported the matter with a sense of pride to Mr BP Sarkar - then GM (C). He was very happy, patted by back. However the pleasure was short lived. A telex message from Salem Steel arrived in second half rejecting the fire fighting system on the plea that such an important system worked only in second try. Our sincere efforts to make the system drew a flak. MECON then went for a commercial settlement and got all the dews except for Rs 5 lakhs deducted for this system - stll a good bargain for MECON, though Mr Sarkar wont agree...




Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Salem- We almost missed flight from Chennai (then Madras) to Calcutta

During Performance Guarantee Test of MECON's  2 Hi Stainless Steel Mill, we had to over stay at Salem due to  re - test for certain sizes of strip, which was not taken care in our planning. We, - myself, Dr KG Pandey, Mr SM Ganguly, Mr Raha and others,  were short of cash due to this delay and had just enough money to reach Calcutta (Now Kolkata.). We were not worried for our stay in Calcutta since our company had a guest house. We were also not worried for our onward journey for which we had confirmed air tickets.However we were definitely worried if we  were to miss the flight at Madras. 
We reached Madras in the evening by train. Our  flight was at 6:30 PM. It left us with just enough  time to reach airport before check in counters will close. We immediately took a taxi and rushed to the airport.  But Murphy's Law caught up with us. "What may go wrong will go wrong." On way there were some trouble - a crude bomb was set off by miscreants at an important road Junction and all traffic to Meenbakkam Airport was diverted. 

Our one hour ordeal of worry and tension - now started. Due to precarious cash position we could not afford to miss the flight. Had we anticipated all this, we would have taken some advance from SAIL office  in Salem. There were no ATM or Credit Cards in those days. Our company (which has an office in Chennai today), had no office in Madras in those days. If we missed the flight we had no money to stay or purchase even train tickets to Ranchi. 

Driver started driving through alternative route. He followed the taxi ahead for some time then lost sight of the it. Since there were not may flights in those days, not many taxis or cars were there on the road to follow. We soon realised the driver is not familiar with this route. We got scared once we realized this.  Dr Pandey threatened the driver with consequences if we miss the flight. Others also got jittery and started scolding the driver, who due to this pressure missed some turns. I asked him to stop at a betel shop and ask for the direction. I tried to over hear the Tamil conversation and could make out he has overshot some turm and is about 10 km from the airport and one railway crossing shall be on way to the airport. Once he took a U turn all of us lost our temper.  We still had 45 minutes from the flight departure. They used to close the counter half an hour prior to departure. Every body was prepared for rushing to Indian Airlines  Manager's office to allow us late check- in. At this point of time I remembered that I had an all India road map book I had purchased this during my car journey from Salem to Ranchi via Tirupati.
I took the map out of hand bag, and tried to locate our current position. Soon I could locate the railway crossing near the airport. It was another day for me to become a "hero" for the team. I  guided the taxi to airport based on the direction as per the road map within 15 minutes. Every one was relieved - though no body thanked me and simply rushed inside the departure area after paying the driver and carrying the bags. No body even bothered to use the baggage trolley.
On reaching the airport we found that the flight was delayed by one hour. This fact instead of making us happy disappointed us. This was like preparing hard for an examination for which examiner has set very easy paper !

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Salem - Encounters of the "celebrity" kind


Film and sports personalities visit our hotel, Hotel Gokulam during our long stay hotel in Salem.

During my various tours, I have been fortunate enough to come in contact with several celebrities. Some particular interesting ones happened during my stay at Salem between the years '80 - '81.
This steel city was infact a mid-sized town. It was characterized by 3 road junctions namely, anja roda (5 Road Junction), naal roda (4 Road Junction) and moon roda (3 Road Junction). During the time two hotels were considered "good" - Hotel Gokulam and Hotel National. Hotel -Gokulam, where we stayed was located near "anja roda", while Hotel - National was located at "naal roda".

Out of the two, Hotel Gokulam was a popular destination for film personalities. We even had chance to see some film shooting in this hotel. Salem itself had a film studio while nearby Yercaud is a scenic hill station well suited for outdoor shooting.
I recall one particular incident when a Tamil film was being shot in Salem. The producer, who happened to be an old colleague of MGR was staying at our hotel. The hero was Mr Vijaykant, some people may recall him as being popular as "the poor man's Rajanikant" for their similarity in looks. The Heroine was debutant, a school student from Bangalore. The vamp in this film was the famous Silk Smitha. I had earlier watched her Tamil film "Mun Ram Piraye" which was later remade in Hindi as Saadma.
While Vijaykant was staying in a double bed AC room, on the first floor, I was in a AC single room in ground floor. I think my room no. was 211. The heroine was in room no 212 a non-AC single room with her father where as Silk Smitha  with her hair dresser was in room no 216 - an AC single room. All these rooms were in the same corridor. Room no 215 was occupied by BHEL's Sambshivam.
I noticed that the heroine's father used to stay in the hotel itself entire days, spending his time smoking filter cigarettes. Out of curiosity, or just to give him some company, I broke into a conversation with him one day. I learnt that  though his daughter wanted to become a doctor, she had got a nice break in the films. Later I chanced to see a few of the dance numbers of the heroine shot in National Hotel. I could clearly understand why the father was not invited for shoots. It would not have been easy for the poor soul to see his daughter shaking her legs in skimpy clothes.
One night I was awakened up by loud knocks at my hotel room door. I opened the door only to find a drunk Silk Smitha knocking on all doors in the corridor.  She was trying to walk down to her room hung onto the arms of her hair dresser. Often she would break into a dance in the corridor. I could only pity her for her lonely life inspite of such a large fan following.
One scene of the film was shot in the hotel premises. In that scene the heroine runs away and is chased by the villain's men. A close up shot of each of the men shouting out loud was taken afterwards. In that scene, I was also part of the crowd who were shouting in Tamil, which I learnt meant "maro - maro". Later when I watched the movie I tried hard to locate myself in that 2-3 minute sequence, but could not. I guess this is what is called "getting lost in the crowd"
In that whole experience I came to know how tedious is making a Film, when infact I saw just a small portion of all the work involved.

A Sporting Angle
During our stay once a national level cricket match took place in Salem and many cricket star stayed in the Hotel. Kapil Dev was one of them. Our colleague Vaidyanathan asked him where is Sunil Gavaskar? His reply "Who is Sunil Gavaskar?" amused us totally. It clearly indicated underlying differences in Indian Cricket team that time.

I didnot see much cricket but saw many Tamil / Malyalam movies (one film per day was part of our dinner). We saw several movies of Kamal Hasan, Sri Devi, Rajani Kant, Madhavi, Bhagya Raja. The list also included original Tamil versions of many Hindi remakes such as Woh Saat Din. I appreciated the multi faceted talent of Bhagya Raja who was a writer , director, music director and actor much like our Kishore Kumar. I do miss those days.... and it was so refreshing to relive them here with you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Performance Gurantee Test - Salem 2 Hi mill,

In the last post I wrote a story which was not exactly my own experience but experience of one of my colleague in the section Mr JVSN Rao. I desire to dedicate one posts on my old colleagues of  80's in MECON - particularly when Rolling Mill and Auxiliary Equipment Division (RM&AED) of MECON was located in rented building called Apna Bazar Building - which houses Income Tax office now. RM&AED also was called United Wing due since we used to design and supply rolling mills under collaboration with Wean United Inc of Pittsburgh, USA. There was one company's who's brochure meant for Mr BP Sarkar used to have an interesting address

"Mr BP Sarkar, Chief Design Engineer,
United King, MECON, Ranchi-834002".

Replacement of United Wing with "United King" matched well with Mr Sarkar's royal manners and we shall some time refer to Mr Sarkar as "UNITED KING" Our department was headed by Mr Ramadurai. Others were Mr BP Goyal, Mr SM Ganguly, Mr JVSN Rao and Mr Kalyan Bhattacharjee. Myself, Mr SB Mukherjee and Mr Manoranjan Danpart joined in 1978 as per parallel transfer from another SAIL unit namely Bokaro Steel. I shall detail out this later. Now for main story of today.


Story  about Performance Guarantee  test at Salem.
Me, Mr Vidyanathan, Mr Raha, Dr Pandey etc constituted MECON's team  for PG Test in 1987. .During pre checking of Mill readiness, Salem engineers desired to change 2nd short dump from 80 mm to 105 mm. This was needed to accommodate  roll protection unit which had lost its shape due to wrong force cylinder operation earlier and now needed 105 mm gap.

In absence of Siemens Germany's engineer, BHEL didnot want to touch AGC panel. As usual for my inquisitiveness, I studied to drawings and found that one BCD (Binary Coded Decimal)  register when converted read 8000. I quickly came to a conclusion that this must be 80 mm short dump reference and thought to change this. The change needed only  shorting for the zeros one ones, so as to read 10500 or more. Dr Pandey was anxious the moment he knew what I was up to. He tried to convince me to let the status quo remain. How ever I being in different department than his, stood ground and explained, in case the changes did not work, I can revert back the settings. I could set to nearest to 10530 and we got a short dump of 105.3 mm. I knew, I have won the hearts of operators of Salem as this change was very important to them. Operators were key for us to pass through the PG test and I desired to keep them in good humor. One operator named Quadir - a Malyali guy was an excellent operator and a good friend of MECONIANS. He later went to middle east. Another trainee operator had terrific accident when manually polishing the rolls and his hand went inside the roll gap - it took six months for him to again get back to work.

Null Setting of  servo valve of Hydraulic roll force  cylinders was another contentious issue , I had already done this setting along with Sri CND Nair,  for safe and equal dumping movements of both cylinders at approx 4% of flow in case of power failure,  and I did not want proposal department to recheck this. I did not cooperate in terms of help from BHEL they needed and it was impossible for them to do anything themselves in Salem. They had taken more than required credit of this insignificant electro-hydraulic related thing in past in Rourkela and I did not want this to happen in Salem. In MOM with Salem Steel it was recorded "Servo valve's null setting was done by MECON during commissioning (ie in 1980), however this may checked by plant once every month".

In the night of PG test there was lot of drinks - Whisky specifically,  available at site and we all were drunk. However I had noticed slippage of strip on deflector rolls particularly at high speed some time resulting on negative elongation measurement. For MECON to pass nobody should notice this in the displays. I decided to be behind the panel for the whole night correcting the factor thumb wheel switches for the 2 deflector rolls such that elongation for the major portion of strip reads within the set value and so MECON was successful in passing one of the first PG test of the mill. Mechanical guys will not agree that the strip was slipping on the deflector rolls and design should have been different for Stainless Steel. I tried to prove my point through publications and calculations though in vain. I am sure they still do not agree with me in the same way they thought regarding the dump valves was erroneously getting energized by Electrical Circuits till proven wrong.. (this story also for a later post..).

Mr Kalyan Bhattacharjee has requested me to publish the story of Ms Silk Smitha - Tamil Danseuse and actress staying in the same hotel very near to my room. I shall post this and other story regarding we almost missing the flight in the very next post... very very soon..




Sunday, January 23, 2011

Midhani - Mr Rana and Mr BP Sarker..

In the last post I have posted regarding problem of heavy foundation vibrations of Entty Reel due to faulty instrument gearing arrangement and and how EPC was commissioned. In this post I am going to write a brief story I heard from my friend Sri JVSN Rao as reminded by my friend Sri Kalyan Bhattacharjee regarding visit of Mr BP Sarkar to Midhani, Hyderabad. In subsequent post I am also going to tell a story as to how low on money, we almost missed our flight back from Madras to Calcutta (that time it was neither Chennai nor Kolkata).

Firstly story at MIDHANI.
Mr JVSN Rao was posted on temporary transfer to Midhani, Hyderabad for commissioning of bar mill. That time temporary transfer meant allowance of  Rs 13.00 a day against Rs 54.00 per day for persons on tour. Since engineers from all other department were on tour, Mr Rao used for feel deprived. When invited by Mr Rana for beer, he used to calculate his finances since a bottle of beer used to cost Rs 17.00. During that period. Mr BP Sarkar visited Midhani. and as usual was behind some panel during a late afternoon. Mr Rana who didnot recognize Mr BP Sarkar and may have taken him as a junior engineer though he was Engineering Manager and even senior to Mr Munshi, Rana's boss. In a hurry to go back in the evening Rana patted Mr Sarkar on back and said in Hindi " hume bhi koochh batoa thora electrical main bhi janata hoon. Aab band karo chalo kahi beer sheer pitain hain cabret sabret dekhte hain". Mr Sarkar didnot clarify the position he gave him just a cold look. Rana realised his mistake during the same trip when Mr Munshi clarified to him that Mr Sarkar is even senior to him. Rana could not get chance even to apologise to Mr Sarkar.

other part of story in next post.....

Friday, January 14, 2011

2 Hi Stainless Mill at Salem, By MECON, Edge Guiding System etc.

Hope you may have read my earlier posts, I am awaiting more and more comments. This post is regarding edge guiding system by GPE provided by MECON with electrical controls- meaning there by BHEL's scope was limited to one feeder in MCC.

As told in earlier blogs, BHEL was main electrical supplier and their 4-5 engineers were posted at Site for commissioning. I was a guiding engineer from MECON, since MECON was involved on overall design and we knew complete project from incoming power supply to end connections. From Panel and transformer locations to cable route to main and aux motors and motor and ECR ventilation. BHEL had experts of converters and power systems. While I had taken over MCC commissioning including building of logics as per our functional descriptions, when it came to Edge Guiding system controls, BHEL threw tantrums that this is not in their scope and they will not commission it. I though of commissioning it my self. I had 7 year of  hands on commissioning experience while at Bokaro Steel (SAIL) and had commissioned large units alone such as 5 units in Sinter Plant-1 (Screening unit, Crusher plant, coal storage and handling, large Synch Motors, mid section of Sinter Bed-1), MSDS2& 5, Roughing section of HSM - 5x 10 MW motors, Pickling Line, CRCF etc & this was a small thing to do. I was however little apprehensive regarding support from Head Office, since such direct commissioning work was not attempted by MECON earlier. I found electronics for GPE was simple using photo sensors to detect edge and generate a positive or negative reference depending upon whether photo cell was covered by strip or not. This will move the POR to or away of the mill till the light was just half covered. Simple. Only adjustment was sensitivity and speed of movement for a given error. I had already commissioned manual part of cylinder movement and GPE controls only needed to be activated using blocking valves of main hydraulic circuit. This commissioning enhanced my image with Salem Steel operation personnel who started approaching me for any modification they needed for equipment controls. I also obliged by modifying circuits for problems like creeping of walking beam's long travel cylinder.

Later due to use of contamination prone aux Hydraulic system B for GPE, the servo valve started malfunctioning and myself was sent along with Mr Narshihman of Lube section of MECON to rectify. Similarly CO2 fire fighting system from M/s Vijay Fire also was not functioning. The system was a turnkey supply by M/s Vijay Fire and several visits by them did not resolve the problem fully. 

Mr Narsihman was totally at loss to understand the edge guiding system's hydraulic circuit. He was not sure why a blocking valve was provided and why there were "left" and "right" movement valves in addition to GPE valves. How he opened the servo valve despite warnings in GPE's literature and thus spoiled the servo  action and how Sri TR Rao tried to salvage the situation in our next visit to Salem will be detailed out in the next blog on the issue. Please read on as to how we had spent all money we had during PG test and we were about to miss our flight back to Calcultta (that is how it was pronounced then) due to a problem in Madras or Sennai (as written at the airport in Tamil even when not officially renamed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Salem 2 Hi Mill by MECON - Visit of Mr BP Sarkar

I have put in this blog some technical and one semi technical story, hope you shall still read on.

We 3 engineers from MECON - my self, Sri TV Vaidyanathan and Sri CND Nair had some times some relief in the form of engineers sent for small durations of 10 to 15 days. While Sri TV Vaidyanathan has relievers like M/s PC Sahu, Mr J Sahu from Ranchi and Subrata Bhaumik from Kolkata office. For Sri CND Nair, Sri SDR Kumar and Sri DD Sinha came as relievers. For me it was Sri SM Ganguly, who use to come over for approx 7-10 days after I did approx 45 days - maximum number of days not requiring Director's approval those days. During one of the overlap time with Sri SM Ganguly, we had a problem during commissioning of payoff reel. After it was optimised by BHEL, during running and particularly during speed changes, there were terrific vibrations in foundation as if the motor will break the foundation. After few trails BHEL lifted their hand. During site discussions Mr SM Ganguly observed that there must be some problem with tacho feed back and we tried at first to locate any ca ble screening problem. I remember having dreamt one day regarding Ohio instrument gearing and it came to my mind that the play in gearing may be playing havoc with the system. Since the KB6 tacho system was very light, the gears play was resulting in un called for vibrations. BHEL did not agree, Result we used a hand kerchief as brake at tacho coupling to create small load on the gears and it dampened the vibrations to a large extent. The foundation were not shaken and our theory was accepted. Result removal of Ohio gears for direct connection of tacho to main gears.Since gearing were needed only to match reels RPM with those of tacho for wrap counting,  this actioin disabled the wrap counters for both reels completely and automatic slow down after a defined wraps  never were commissioned. Mill runs like this even today !

We were informed about Mr BP Sarkar's visit one day and I  was required to bring him from the station. I went there with our taxi car and received him. His very fist question was did you start rolling in the mill? Since I had improvised roll force cylinder lifting using battery box, and even rolled, I said "yes". He said "Tab hum kya karenga?" This answer remained a matter of joy to me and to my colleagues. He however was furious when he found how we rolled. He started scolding me for putting the mill to peril by rolling without load cells. I could nor argue with him regarding using relief valve to limit the roll force. He made us run around to adjust speeds of all hydraulic cylinders as per design and Sri CND Nair was sore going up and down to cellar. His next step was to fix tensiometer which had broken bearings. Since he went inside mill housing which was full of grease, we also went inside and spoiled our clothes and shoes. He tried to fix load cells also and spent whole day behind the panel. When ASEA tensiometer and load cells could not be fixed with his clear offer of a good dinner to all BHEL engineers, he agreed to witness rolling using batteries as we did earlier. However he did nor like 100 T load and asked us to increase it to 200 T. We did as instructed. This however resulted in un-controlled reduction of material on the two sides and thus in skew. The material will this move to one side and fold up in the reels. Whole day we did not succeed in stable rolling. Only when Mr Sarker left site we changed back to 100 T force for sucessful mock rolling to be shown to the minister later on.. 


Next re-commissioning of GPE system and visits of Mr TR Rao, Mr Narshihman and failure of fire fighting panels,

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Salem 2 Hi mill -AGC Cylinder Commissioning for Minister's Visit

Hope you may have gone through my last post and enjoyed how I sent Mr DD Sinha to ladies toilet due to my ability to read Tamil but having poor vocabulary or how we gave lift to Mr Raju ED, Salem Plant in our brand new Taxi Car and enjoyed no checks at gate for next one month !! In this post I want to be little technical. Being far away from HO we had little or no interference from MECON's Ranchi Head Office and we did as we liked. There were no phone let alone mobile phone those days. Communication was through telexes or difficult to get trunk calls. We had 3 visits by Mr Subimal Ghosh then Chief Design Engineer, One visit each by Mr BP Sarkar then Chief Engineer, Mr BC Mondal, then GM and Mr PC Laha then Director - only 6 visits in about 9 months, we were at Salem all most at a stretch.
We were trying to commission the mill as fast as possible and most of the motors and hydraulic system were commissioned. Unlike earlier practice where MECON's electrical engineer will only stand or see BHEL commission the plant, I went ahead to do some hands on commissioning, which started due to a tiff with BHEL regarding scope of edge control commissioning (I will tell the story in next post). BHEL engineers at site Mr Kumar and  Mr Pillai agreed to provide me with instruments and one helper. Mr Sambasivam another BHEL engineer and In charge was a man who always read through contracts and was a difficult person.
NOW  to main story of today -- AGC system control were supplied by Siemens Germany and a German Engineer was to arrive to commission it. It was getting delayed since ASEA's load cell, Tensiometer etc were not ready due to faulty power supply. In the mean while there was a visit by Mr ND  Tiwary. then Minister for Steel. We were asked to run the mill with strip in the mill. Now this was not possible without Hydraulic Cylinder of the mill lifted from bottom to at least touch the strip. Here came my earlier exp at Bokaro handy, where we used to give reference from a battery box for UBCR (Op Amp) ckts. Moog valves were to take about 20 mA each coil for fully open the valve. I decided to connect them in parallel and pass 40 mA using battery box. Later we improvised and used  V/I converter of Simatic C3 modules to pass 40 mA and opened both side moog valves. Pressure of Hydr System C was adjusted using relief valve to a value to generate roughly 100 T of load and the cylinder lifted to touch the strip. We successfully rolled MS coil with paper winders / unwinders in use and no body could know that in fact mill is far from commissioning.. Next story visit of Mr Sarkar..