the fantastic Francesco and his primo packaging machine

before a break, Sun morning

our teacher is in the middle. Flanking him are a funny Maori named Beau and Your Loyal kabayan Blogger 😉

WHEN YOU’RE chosen to help operate a flashy new food packer / packager in your worksite (imported from Europe),  a machine that is used in only one other site in the whole country, it’s reasonable to expect that the makers will send someone of their very own to train you to do the best possible job of operating such machine.

It’a also entirely reasonable to expect that such trainer, given the short time available, will be a stern, no-nonsense taskmaster, intent on cramming into your cranium every possible technique, tip and detail needed to run such flashy machine efficiently.

Except that the trainer was about the farthest thing from a stern taskmaster as you could possibly imagine.  Francesco from Italy (where the packer was built) was a cool cat, teaching us how to run the machine using the user friendly panel, simple trouble shooting skills that belied the amazing complexity of the smart machine.  It was so smart that each of its component parts knew when to override itself (when a fault was going on elsewhere) and when not to (when a fault was minor).

The best part of controlling and operating the machine was letting it run by itself, and performing simple tasks like feeding it bags, glue and tape a few times a day.  Otherwise it would hum and perform the work of three men in a fraction of the time.  Bad for labor, but good for productivity.  Ah, such is progress.

Francesco, after teaching us the basic operating skills, had to rush to sub-zero degree Moscow to personally install the machine and once again train just like us its new operators.  He knew the machine top to bottom, knew its every nut, bolt, conveyor and screw, and yet allowed us to discover the machine on our own.

We couldn’t possibly have matched his skill level even after three days of intensive training, but I’m pleasantly surprised to say that, by just being himself, Francesco managed to make the last 72 hours into a relatively stress-free learning experience.  And considering all the stakes involved, that was quite a feat for the friendly Italian.

I won’t forget your teatime tales about all the places you’ve installed the machine in Francesco, your amazing patience, your Marlboro Lights, and I’ll hopefully be an expert operator by the time you return to check up on us.  From everyone in our worksite, grazie and arrivederci !

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