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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 38
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Week of 22 April 2019: The 360 look
Week of 22 April 2019: The 360 look

How many safety incidents do we encounter in our mills where we are focused on the potential safety issue in front of us when another is lurking beside or behind us?

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Week of 15 April 2019: Know your coworkers--a key to safety
Week of 15 April 2019: Know your coworkers--a key to safety

In the military, there are lots of discussions about "battle buddies.' A battle buddy is a person who sticks with you and you with them so you continuously know each other's condition. It is a safety issue in an environment that is often not safe.

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Week of 8 April 2019: Who should do safety inspections?
Week of 8 April 2019: Who should do safety inspections?

Personally, I think at least two individuals should be involved in any safety inspection.

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Week of 1 April 2019: Safety Record in the Pulp and Paper Industry
Week of 1 April 2019: Safety Record in the Pulp and Paper Industry

For a long time, the industry has patted itself on the back for its safety record; perhaps we have had a small part in pulling it up by its leash on this subject. I do think the industry has gone from a time of poor safety performance (pre 1975 or so) to good safety performance (approximately 1975 to 1995) and now, in the last twenty-five years it has regressed somewhat.

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Week of 25 March 2019: How to tell if a Maintenance Department is Effective
Week of 25 March 2019: How to tell if a Maintenance Department is Effective

There are only two or three conditions one has to observe to determine if a maintenance department is effective. Fixing them if they are not is a whole other chapter in our quest for a properly operating mill. This week we'll just look for clues as to effectiveness.

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Week of 18 March 2019: Prejudice in Maintenance equals Ineffective Maintenance
Week of 18 March 2019: Prejudice in Maintenance equals Ineffective Maintenance

As I go around the industry, it seems like the last bastion of old-fashioned prejudice is the maintenance department. It's often the rough and tumble end of the mill and many times the workers in this area may have been overlooked in general training for the softer parts of doing their jobs. It has been a male dominated area forever. I have seen some racial prejudice in this area, but not near as much as I have male/female prejudice.

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Week of 11 March 2019: Maintenance is not popular
Week of 11 March 2019: Maintenance is not popular

I have been railing and writing about maintenance for decades. All of this energy has not turned the tide on the popularity of maintenance. No one likes it and to the uninitiated it is just a cost. It indeed often seems like an intangible cost, for the results of good maintenance are that everything runs just fine, there is no drama, no excitement. Hence the desire to put it off as long as possible, hopefully until the manager in charge of the budget can get promoted. At least that is the manager's position; employees close to the process always know better because bad maintenance makes their lives miserable...

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Week of 4 March 2019: It's maintenance month!
Week of 4 March 2019: It's maintenance month!

I am told others can't wait for August (Corruption Month) when the Pulp Rats come out to play. I'll admit I enjoy that month, too, but I further admit that Maintenance Month is likely my favorite in the Paperitalo Editorial schedule. I contend that lack of proper maintenance is the largest contributor in failing to maximize the spinning of your invoice printer. I'll further contend that once you get behind on maintenance, it takes a serious effort to catch up. In most organizations and cultures, catching up is nearly impossible--everyone fights you...

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Week of 25 February 2019: What will another year bring in transportation?
Week of 25 February 2019: What will another year bring in transportation?

Of course, it is hard to say, but I will say this: "I would be leasing all my transportation equipment if I were you, and, further, I would be signing leases with relatively painless exit clauses."

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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 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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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 38
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