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26 Mar 14: Computerization 6: Brain Games

In the 14 Mar 2014 edition of the Wall Street Journal, there was an article on neuroprosthetics, that is implants in the brain.  This is not the only article I have read on this subject lately.


One recent article suggested that in the not too distant future, should one wish to vacation in Paris, knowing nothing of Paris or the French language, neuroprosthetics will be the answer.  I don't know if you will go to your travel agent or your doctor, but an implanted chip will give you full knowledge of Paris and the ability to understand and speak the French language.


A few little problems exist so far in this type of surgery, although mechanically it is already being done for hearing problems and is in tests for an aid to Parkinson's Disease patients.


However, think what this will do for pulp and paper making.  Training will become obsolete.  So will problem analysis.  All of these functions will just be plug and play--in your brain.


This is probably one of the more far reaching ideas we have promoted here, and one a bit of a ways off.  However, it is intriguing and it seems likely that the next step in machine control will see a closer link between the human brain and the DCS/QCS functions.  Interesting times are ahead.


Any comments?  Let us know by sending an email to jthompson@taii.com with "LGMI Frontiers" in the subject line.

There was a nice discussion on LinkedIn regarding last week's topic:


Hello Sir! Interesting comment. So we would experience more integrated mills in future? or just production else+converting locally in future? With the increase in market pulp prices and other dynamics at work, what would be best fit that you predict?

Somnath Ray 芮森纳
Research Section Manager at Double A (1991) Public Company Limited


Why didn't box board "mini mills" pan out? Might it be the cost of making the pulp, whether virgin or recycled, requires the kind of capital that gets leveraged by economies of scale. In other words what is the model where a price premium of small local production trump the dramatically lower costs of central production?

Joff Cowan
Owner, Pulmac Systems International Inc.


I am not sure what you mean by "boxboard" minimills, but linerboard minimills have been a roaring success. The idea, when promulgated in the '90's, was a recycled mill with simple effluent and power islands. After that linerboard minimills were built in Cowpens, SC; Prewitt, NM; Conyers, GA: Solvay, NY (three machines); Staten Island, NY; Minnesota; Forney, TX; Shreveport, LA; Niagara Falls, NY and now under construction in Valparaiso, IN. I probably missed a few.

Jim Thompson

Thanks Jim for bring up thought provoking topics!
While these are examples of what were considered mini-mills.... they sure have grown! Would you consider Sovay's 2000 tpd, Cowpen's 800tpd, or Conyer's 1000 tpd to be "mini-mills"? What do you think is a good working definition for a "mini-mill" from the perspective of this topic? I am thinking tissue is the closest to a definition in that the papermachine often serves regional markets with integrated converting and distribution. What do you think?

Joff Cowan
Owner, Pulmac Systems International Inc.

I agree with you Joff. I was citing the classic definition that came about in the '90's. These little tissue machines which are popping up all over the country certainly fit as well--and make sense--tissue "cubes out" way before it "weighs out" in transportation. Hence, close to the market makes a great deal of sense.

Jim Thompson




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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