Weekly Idea 5 Dec. 2012--Getting started on "printing" your own parts--it's time

"Printing" 3 D objects out of plastic is becoming extremely economical. Printers are now available for less than USD 2,500 to print small objects. Like back in the days when we started welcoming personal computers into the mill, around 1981, it is time your maintenance department obtained one of these and started trying it out on simple, non-critical parts. Then, when bigger, more expensive units using more exotic materials are introduced in your mill, probably less than two years from now, you will have some resident experience.


The replacement part world is about to change dramatically.


Think light!



Brian Brogdon, Ph.D.


Executive Director


[email protected]






Jim Thompson




[email protected]




I still do not understand why nearly every new machine or major rebuild has to be totally redesigned so as to 'fit' the design requirements of the purchaser.  Since  the raw materials are largely the same, the finished products (within the same market segment) are largely the same, the people who do the work are largely the same, and valves, pumps, motors, controls, pipe, conduit, cables, and wiring are largely the same, why does each project (machine) have to be built to each mill's particular, detailed specifications?  Major time and $$$'s savings would be achievable if more standardized designs would be used.


My experience in ammonia plants where MWKellog cornered the market by offering a standard design in multiple capacities (5 if I recall) with the same layout (physical, controls, etc) and same major equipment (to the point that they offered a spare maintenance program if the customer wanted it-avoiding much non-productive working capital).  Operators could go from one start-up to the next and be effective with only a couple of days of process orientation (probably more for plant-specific rules orientation).  Plants started-up on schedule, and within budget and achieved better-than-budgeted learning curves in nearly every case. 


Paper machines will not likely become like ammonia plants but they could move significantly in that direction, if owners didn't believe that each one of them had a strangle-hold on design/operating techniques expertise.


More standard designs will reduce the time (and potential errors) needed for detailed engineering which will speed drawing completing (might even use ones from a previous project with a title-block change) and provide for 'fast-tracking' without the inherent issues of classical 'fast-tracking'


One man's opinion.


Highest regards,


Edward A. Turner


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