Completely screwed

Our resident engineer-turned-technical copywriter - Keith Wilson - shares some of his stories of working as an apprentice in the 1960s. Keith worked for a large controlgear manufacturing company and during this time, did and saw things that would today rightly be considered horrific. He's going to share some of these with you...

"Tighten those bolts, lad, and make sure you get 'em really tight." The skilled tradesman for whom I was working must have felt that he could have hardly asked anything simpler. What could possibly go wrong? Even this easy job I managed, however, to screw up – quite literally.

The bolts in question held large and heavy bar-and-shaft contactors in place on a steel framework. I used all the strength I could muster to make sure they were really tight but, strangely enough, after tightening so far, they became rather easy to turn. Bolt after bolt it was the same story. On the way home, I realised what I had done. My vigorous tightening had partially sheared the bolt heads. I didn't have the nerve to confess, but for years after I had nightmares about the contactors falling off the framework and injuring someone, although that dreaded report never came. This was, however, definitely a case of too much torquing!

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About the Author: Keith Wilson

Keith Wilson

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