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Nip Impressions´┐Ż is Paperitalo Publications' flagship publication.  Published every Thursday afternoon (US Eastern Time), Nip Impressions´┐Ż is eagerly read by pulp and paper professionals around the world.

12 Mar 14: Computerization 5: Cheap Detection

When you are looking for cheap monitoring, you might just want to look at some consumer products that are available, durable and very economical.


An example is SimpliSafe.   I (Jim) recently bought one of these systems for my home security system.  Want to monitor a full tank, a temperature, a physical device open or closed? This will do it and do it for pennies.  I bought a system with 5 water sensors, 4 door sensors, 4 motion detectors, a carbon monoxide monitor and 5 smoke detectors for less than $1,000.  I installed it in less than one hour.  Full blown monitoring service, including reporting to local authorities (obviously not needed or wanted if you are doing process monitoring), a compute dashboard, text event notification and an app dashboard is $25 per month, no contract.



I can think of many mill applications where this cheap system will do the job.


Any comments?  Let us know by sending an email to [email protected] with "LGMI Frontiers" in the subject line.

We had a couple of comments from last week's topic:


Having spent half of the last month in a pulp mill where I inquired about operating parameters, it seemed the operators and their experience were the only thing keeping the place running. Very few of the process measurements were even working yet alone in calibration. My impression from this visit and many others in the past to a variety of mills, is that staff reductions in maintenance and instrumentation areas have put many mills in the fix it when it breaks or can no longer be operated mode. Even if better measurements and controls had been previously added, they were justified based upon staff reductions with little thought as to staffing required to keep them operating reliably. Eventually the operators must turn off the added or advanced controls and go back to manual operation to operate reliably due to lack of maintenance.

Since the paper machine usually gets the best of everything due to it's perception as the money maker, maybe the situation is much better there but I still think they are a long way from operatorless operation in the current North American environment.

If we can ever get back to the thinking that people are a resource not just a cost and utilize them effectively as participants and a key in the optimization process, then we have a chance to improve. As long as we think of them as a cost to eliminate or that from a distance we know better what is needed than they do, we will suffer. Work with the operators as a resource to improve the process not as a cost to be eliminated and we will see real improvements.

- Ronald Musselman


Labor will indeed need to be expensive to sacrifice productivity gained by labor's ongoing efforts to reduce costly operational safety margins and lead de-bottlenecking efforts. Accommodating full automation will be challenged by raw material variation. I think making "The Art of Paper Making" a quaint 20th century saying will indeed challenge the meaning of increasing the "standards of reliability".

- Joff Cowan




LGMI Design Practices
As always, your comments will be appreciated.
Think light!


Brian Brogdon, Ph.D.
Executive Director




Jim Thompson

Send us your comments by emailing Brian Brogdon
or Jim Thompson!

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