Capital Argument$

A trademark of Paperitalo Publications
Published on the 15th of every month
August  2014
Horizontal PM
Horizontal PL II

Shutdown Details

My first shutdown equipment modification was a tiny one in a converting plant.  This was a five-day operation, so we were going to begin it Friday evening after the last shift went home.

I was a young person with a very poor attitude.  I didn't want to be there.  I had not done my homework.  We were missing three bolts, three tiny bolts, necessary to do the little project.  We aborted and came back to it the next week.  And I got a couple of demerits when Monday morning came around.

Over the years, I became absolutely OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) over shutdowns.  One has to make certain one has thought of everything.

Often, it is a generational thing.  Younger people, as a group, tend to be less meticulous than older people in preparing for shutdowns.  Of course, this could be a weeding out process, too--the only older ones left who like to do and are trusted to do shutdowns are the OCDs.

I can list some key performance indicators to help you determine if you are ready for a shutdown:

1. You have accounted for every bolt, nut and washer required to hook up the equipment. I am not talking about some broad sweeping, bag of bolts accountability; I mean every single one and every place each one goes.  Want to be really obsessive?  Use spray paint to mark bolts, nuts, washers and the holes they go in.
2. Same goes for gaskets.  Touch every one, know where everyone goes.  Spray paint again if appropriate.
3. If a device being installed has a signal wire, know exactly where in the programming logic that device appears.  Tag the signal wires with the lines of code that go with that device.
4. And, of course, take a good old tape measure and check field dimensions against the foundation and clearance dimensions.

Finally, the special category of shims.  Have plenty of shims of all kinds of thicknesses made up ahead of time.  I don't know how many shutdowns have been extended because time had to be taken to make shims.

If you think all of this is too much work, consider this.  It is a "pay me now or pay me later" proposition.  You have to have all these items accounted for and correct in order to have a successful installation.  The question is, do you want to do this ahead of time when things are quiet and calm or during the outage when a production manager is yelling in your ear?

Current Patent Activity is available here.

Capital Arguments Engineering Manager of the Year
Hall of Fame

CA LogoSince its inception, Capital Arguments has believed extraordinary projects are possible.  They can be done safely, responsibly and offer a great advantage to their mills with lower capital costs and saved downtime. We established this award in 2008 to recognize those people and companies that follow this philosophy. This award is given once per year somewhere in the world.  We honor our inductees permanently here.


Ed Kersey--Engineering Manager of the Year 2011

Jim presents Ed with the Engineering Manager of the Year for 2011.
(L - R) Matt Nilsen, Jim Thompson, Ed Kersey and Wayne South.  Nilsen is Account Manager and South is Business Development Manager for Kadant Black Clawson, underwriter of this year's award.  Ed Managed the construction of the Pratt Industries mill in Shreveport, Louisiana which took 13 months from piling to paper on the reel.  His reward?  They made him mill manager!

Peter Flynn and Steve Roush

Kadant Black Clawson was a major sponsor of the 2011 Award.  Here, on the left,  Peter Flynn, President of Kadant Black Clawson, receives the company's duplicate of Ed's Award from Steve Roush, Publisher and Editor, Paperitalo Publications. 

Not Awarded 2010

You have to be really good to get this award.  We did not receive any qualifying nominations in 2010.


Dean Abrams--Engineering Manager of the Year 2009

Now retired, Dean was an engineer at Corrugated Services, Forney, Texas, USA in the summer of 2009 when he completed his award winning project.  Dean managed a team that installed a secondary headbox in 11 hours, 30 minutes, paper-to-paper.  The experts had said it would take at least 3 days.  In April 2010, we presented the award to Dean in the presence of a number of his colleagues.

Dean Abrams Award 
Here is the award we presented to Dean:

Deans Plaque


Mike Ahcan--Engineering Manager of the Year 2008

Mike works at the UPM Blandin Mill in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, USA. In 2008, the mill's sole effluent pipe, running outside a building, almost in the Mississippi River, was determined to be in a state of imminent collapse.  The experts said it would take a week of total mill downtime to replace it.  Additionally, there was a danger of leakage into the river.  Mike and his team went to work and replaced the pipe without any downtime and with no spillage.  We had a banquet in Grand Rapids for him in July 2009.

OpTest Official Solid Background

And here is Mike's award:

OpTest Official Solid Background

We normally accept nominations in the November-December time frame.  They can be sent to with "EMOY Nomination" in the subject line. 

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Phila Mixing 2012

2nd Bright Button

Essco 2012




Currently in 3rd printing. Almost 500 copies in the field since 2006!