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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 34
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Week of 18 February 2019: Autonomous Internal Transportation cont'd.
Week of 18 February 2019: Autonomous Internal Transportation cont'd.

A category of business where I see little movement towards autonomous vehicles but where I think there is lots of opportunity is in maintenance and related activities.

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Week of 11 February 2019: Internal Transportation already autonomous...
Week of 11 February 2019: Internal Transportation already autonomous...

Last week we talked about the coming over-the-road autonomous trucks. Inside your facility, autonomy is already here for most routine production tasks.

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Week of 4 February 2019: The Autonomous Truck is still coming
Week of 4 February 2019: The Autonomous Truck is still coming

For the past several years, when transportation month comes around on our editorial calendar, I have been talking about driverless trucks being right around the corner. They still are, but the corner is closer.

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Week of 28 January 2019: Capital Project Managers--the good, the bad and the ugly
Week of 28 January 2019: Capital Project Managers--the good, the bad and the ugly

Sadly, the Good are few and far between.

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Week of 21 January 2019: Training engineers to manage capital projects
Week of 21 January 2019: Training engineers to manage capital projects

I have been amazed at the inexperienced personnel that have, on occasion, been allowed to manage capital projects. Such selections, as I have seen them, have usually been made by senior managers who rose through the production ranks and who give little thought to what it might take to manage a capital project, even one of a very modest size.

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Week of 14 January 2019: Capital Projects are still political
Week of 14 January 2019: Capital Projects are still political

Mid-career operations managers and capital project managers have usually seen one or two complete disasters by the time they reach this stage in their careers. Typically, they resolve something like this, "If I ever get to the point that I am in charge of a capital project, I am going to do it differently. I will _______." Their failing is they never spend the time to learn how to do a project correctly and they seldom get a chance to hire someone who knows how to do a project correctly. Of course, for the latter to be true, they have to recognize that they do not know how to do a project correctly and they have to be given the latitude to seek out someone or some firm that does...

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Week of 7 January 2019: Capital Projects--what is new?
Week of 7 January 2019: Capital Projects--what is new?

I have been working on capital projects since March 1970. I didn't know that was what they were called when I showed up for my first co-op position that March, but looking back on it, I was certainly working on machinery that fit into our customer's capital project. What has changed since then?

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Week of 31 December 2018: Where are we going?
Week of 31 December 2018: Where are we going?

As designs continue to evolve, energy costs will continue to decline, regardless of their root costs. We don't have to do anything emotional or nonsensical about energy costs, just continue to think of better and more efficient ways to do things with less energy...

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Week of 24 December 2018: Where it started
Week of 24 December 2018: Where it started

Until about 1712, humankind depended largely on human and animal exertion for work. There was the occasional water-power dam and, in parts of the world, windmills, but these were specifically location- dependent. Thomas Newcomen freed work from location and muscle, with the invention of his atmospheric steam engine around 1712. There had been precursors to this invention, but Newcomen is credited with the first practical design. This was only 300 years ago, a mere dash in time when compared to all of human history...

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Week of 17 December 2018: Energy Data Continued
Week of 17 December 2018: Energy Data Continued

One reader last week challenged my citation of Wikipedia stating the consumption of kerosene for illumination, even today, equals that of the consumption of jet fuel (essentially kerosene) in the United States. If anyone has a solid, better source of data, please share it and I will be happy to pass it on here in one of the remaining columns this month. In The Economist issue of 1st - 7th of December 2018, right on schedule, their Technology Quarterly special section was titled "Towards Zero Carbon--Conquering CO2." The good news, and I believed I read this portion of the magazine fairly carefully, was that the pulp and paper industry was barely cited--steel and cement manufacturing were the bad boys of the industrial sector.

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Week of 10 December 2018: Energy Shocks
Week of 10 December 2018: Energy Shocks

With various analogies over the years, I have talked about our myopic look at energy issues. Your view of energy production, consumption and other KPIs related to energy are largely dependent on where you sit and what you read. Often, we find this is wrong, when the real numbers are placed in front of us. So, we are going to travel a little outside our normal realm of pulp and paper this week, hopefully giving you material not only to think about but to challenge you, the next time you think you know something, to dig a bit deeper...

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Week of 3 December 2018: Energy Update
Week of 3 December 2018: Energy Update

For years, Energy has been our editorial topic for December. We have covered every side of it--from science, engineering, politics and personal perception. Yet, energy always remains a fresh topic since it is so important...

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Week of 26 November 2018: Put a proper perspective on strategic decisions
Week of 26 November 2018: Put a proper perspective on strategic decisions

I used to say the winter price of heating oil depended on the commuting experience the heating oil traders had on their way into Manhattan from suburban Connecticut each morning. If they had a cold, miserable experience, they jacked up the price. Maybe that is not giving them enough credit, but I don't think I am far off. Believe it or not, I have sat in capital strategic planning sessions in our industry that display just about the same perspicacity...

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Week of 19 November 2018: Strategic Politics
Week of 19 November 2018: Strategic Politics

I have been saying for some time that major capital projects often have a large political component to them. Throughout my career, this has been true to a certain extent, in the modern age with animation and graphical availability available to everyone, it is become even more the norm rather than the exception...

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Week of 12 November 2018: Pulling the Plug
Week of 12 November 2018: Pulling the Plug

As hard as it is to get innovation right, a subject to which we alluded last week, pulling the plug on a bad project is even harder. If you read the management books, they will often quote someone like Winston Churchill, Vince Lombardi or Teddy Roosevelt, with an admonishment to never, ever, give up. Sometimes you need to give up. It is called throwing good money after bad...

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Week of 5 November 2018: Innovation and Strategy--Back to the Future
Week of 5 November 2018: Innovation and Strategy--Back to the Future

As you might have guessed, November is Innovation and Strategy month at Paperitalo Publications. I thought would we would start out talking about lost innovations. There are many clever innovations with industrial application from the past that have been lost to the present era...

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Week of 29 October 2018: It wasn't Camelot
Week of 29 October 2018: It wasn't Camelot

When I think back over my five decades in industry, one stands out when the subject of quality comes up. It is the 1970s. The 1970s were the age of shabby. I don't care what kind of product it was, retail or industrial, I would suggest the 1970s were the low point of quality, at least in the United States. So, what changed?

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Week of 22 October 2018: Using quality to manage your business
Week of 22 October 2018: Using quality to manage your business

There is an old phrase, "We don't have time to do it right, but we have time to do it over!" So true. When you produce off-spec goods you will break into production to remake the order so you don't lose the customer. The losses are incalculable. Examining why you make poor quality goods or deliver poor quality services is instructive and a good place to start to buff up the overall management of your organization. Why did you produce poor quality goods? There are only three or four key high-level metrics that need to be examined out the gate...

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Week of 13 March 2017: Maintenance Storerooms
Week of 13 March 2017: Maintenance Storerooms

If you have read my thoughts on maintenance storerooms over the years, you will accuse me of having been all over the place, and you will be correct. At one time, I adopted the attitude that everyone should do what they were best at doing, and in the case of paper mills, this was making paper, so they should outsource storerooms. I still think this is good for small consumables and specialized repairs (such as roll repairs and recovering). However, for other items, such as pump assemblies, screens, motors and so forth, keep your own--but take care of them. This philosophy certainly applies for existing papermills (but read to the end)...

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Week of 6 March 2017: Maintenance
Week of 6 March 2017: Maintenance "Costs"

We have been conditioned to think maintenance is a cost and unscheduled maintenance is acceptable. There is no basis for this logic; it is just a rumor passed around from board room to board room. It is time for your senior management to take a long hard look at the numbers, not the traditions...

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Week of 27 Feb 2017: Future jobs in transportation
Week of 27 Feb 2017: Future jobs in transportation

We have spent the entire month talking about driverless trucks, drones, robots and so forth. So what is in the future for humans in this scenario?

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Week of 20 Feb 2017: Deadheading Drones
Week of 20 Feb 2017: Deadheading Drones

We have heard a lot about drones delivering packages, but not so much about the return flights--there will be a lot of deadheading going on. Can this wasted transportation resource be put to good use?

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Week of 13 Feb 2017: Rethinking local transportation needs
Week of 13 Feb 2017: Rethinking local transportation needs

While last week I was talking about long distance transportation of pulp by pipelines, let's look at what should be done locally, given the current state of technology...

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Week of 6 Feb 2017: What has changed? What is new?
Week of 6 Feb 2017: What has changed? What is new?

This is transportation month at Paperitalo Publications. This week, we discuss trucks and pipelines...

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Week of 30 Jan 2017: Keeping Capital Project Costs Low
Week of 30 Jan 2017: Keeping Capital Project Costs Low

There are a number of actions by mill owners that drive up the costs of capital projects. We'll wrap up this month by touching on these...

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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 34
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