Pipefitter (Episode 56)

Pipefitter (Episode 56)


There’s a complex structure of pipes responsible for air flow, water supply and hydraulics, in anything from buildings to ships. The next career assembles
and maintains these systems… on this submarine! Let’s meet the pipefitter. Hi! Howdy. I’m Viviana. I’m Darshan. Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you, too. So, this is where you work. This is it. In a submarine. That’s right. Want to show me around? Yeah, let’s take it for a ride. All right. My name is Darshan Dhillon. I work at Victoria Shipyards, Esquimalt on Victoria-class submarines and I’m a pipefitter. A pipefitter basically moves
anything from point A to point B, whether it be steam, oxygen, water, hydraulic fluid for weapons systems, anything that can be moved in a pipe. My job here is to bend pipe and fit all the
weapons hydraulic systems for the submarines. I fabricate different styles of pipe. I flush the pipes. I take the paint off of them. I get the flanges prepared. I do bolt-up. Marine fitting is a lot different than industrial fitting. Industrial fitting is more of run
the pipe straight through the oil field. We have to really go around a lot of objects, especially on a submarine
being a stealth boat. We have to make sure that everything
has a certain gap in between. The first thing I do is make sure
that everything is on and ready to go. All the bottles are tested. Bottles would be anything from oxygen
to acetylene for cutting or heat treating, and then we fire up the bottles and start our day. Whether it be bending, fabricating new pipe, heat treating to release stress. And then on to the boat
and then we start measuring up. All right, Viviana, are you ready
to do some heat treating? I’m ready. All right. Let’s do it. What we’re going to be doing
is heat treating the pipe to try to release all the stress in the bends. Okay. So, what we want to do is try to heat the front, the top, underneath, as well,
and then the inside of the pipe. So, basically what we’re trying to do is try to get all the stress out of the pipe here,
without melting the pipe. So, we want to try to get it cherry red. Think you could give that a try? I think so. Some of the skills that are very mandatory, that I find you really need to have, is the ability to know exactly
what your hands are doing without even seeing your hands, which, to a lot of people,
can be a little challenging at times. But it’s all about touch and feel. Another thing is problem solving and math. Math is very high in this trade,
especially with marine fitting. So, obviously you’d need to take trades math. And shop classes definitely help. You have to be familiar with a lot of power tools. You’d have to do ELT, which is entry level training. It’s a nine-month course to familiarize
yourself with all the pipe trades. And then after that, you work for X amount of hours until you can go back and do second year. Then you work for X amount of hours. And each time you go back to school, it’s six weeks. And then when you go back for your fourth year, it’s eight weeks to write your IPT,
which is an inter-provincial ticket, which allows you to steam fit in all provinces. A common misconception for a pipefitter is that we’re the equivalent of a plumber, where that is not the fact at all. A plumber deals more with plastic
and PVC piping to make their 45s and 90s. So, they kind of stick to certain angles. where a pipe fitter will manipulate
at different degrees, how the piping goes. We can do 27 degree bends. We can bevel pipes and weld them together. We can change any kind of angle we want. Plumbers are still a piping trade, so you can still do an apprenticeship as a plumber. And as a pipefitter, they just have
to get X amount of hours and then challenge the IPT
and then they become a pipefitter, as well. On a submarine, we probably do more paperwork
than the average pipefitter. I’m very organized. I keep a journal of exactly
what I do each day, so down the road someone will say, “Hey do you remember when
you did this six months ago?” I can say, “No, I didn’t do that”
or “Yes, I did and this is what happened.” You have to be able to express exactly what you mean, whether it be measurements,
type of material, thicknesses… You can’t have your own style of saying
unfamiliar from other trades. Did you ever think you’d be
this close to a submarine? Ten years ago? Not a chance. But now I love everything about it. And nine to five hours? About 6:30 to three, and all
the overtime you can handle. Oh, nice. There’s so many aspects of the trades
that a lot of people don’t realize. There’s sheet metal. There’s pipefitting. There’s welding. There’s steel fitting. There’s so many different things that you can be doing that just, every day, challenges you. And you’re never doing the same thing every day. It’s always something new. It can be very challenging at times. And I love pipefitting. I love putting things together. I love seeing how a submarine works. The systems involved,
may take an hour to figure it out, but once you figure it out and get it bent up. It looks pretty darn sharp. I just love what I do. See, thanks so much for showing
me around the submarine. No problem.
Thanks for coming over. Thank you. See you later. Once again, this is Career Trek and I’m Viviana , reminding you that this career could be yours. We’ll see you next time.

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