Some of you had comments on the comments from last week. We'll let this flow as long as you keep it up. Make sure you read this whole column--aluminum dryers come up again near the bottom...
Gents, I must admit that a few times I wonder if some people are oxygen deficient but in general, your questions and thoughts are thought provoking. From a guy who designs and builds paper mills for a living, keep up the good work.
I have a question for the group. What percentage of a capital project should be assigned to conceptual (not detail) engineering? Not project management, just plain old brain storming and development engineering. The facts will surprise you.
Montr�al (Qu�bec) Canada
Then I said:
Here is my answer, which I will publish next week. My answer is 50% for conceptual work.
There are two reasons for this answer. The first is that we do not recognize the power of creativity, even while using proven equipment, to do things differently and better than we have done them before.
The second reason is that general engineering is so inefficient and so poorly executed that it costs way too much, much more than it should.
So, in an ideal world I think the total engineering costs for a project should go way down, and the proportions changed as stated above. We would build better mills at far less engineering cost.
Part of the problem with engineering costs are that engineers are paid like lawyers--by units of time. They have little motivation to do their own jobs better or spend any time looking at new ways of doing things. They burn up the time allocated and try to save money by doing it the way it was done before.
This is what is different about LGMI versus other initiatives. We dare people to erase all the old ways and start with a clean slate. Incrementalism, that is changing things just a little bit at a time, is banished from our way of thinking.
To which Brian replied:
Jim, I can see you don't have a very high opinion of engineering firms. We are not paid like lawyers and we work within a "not to exceed" cap on major projects--far from the lawyers' approach.
The hourly rate is used by clients to compare firms against each other so the initiative to think outside of the box is stamped out in favor of the lowest possible engineering cost. The bottom line is, high caliber, forward thinking design staff costs time and money.
Then I said:
When I was executive VP of Jaakko Poyry Engineering in the US, we nearly gave away the study phase in order to get the detail engineering. Of course, that was 25 years ago.
and Brian's last comment:
In that era, Simons, Cowan-Lavalin, Sandwell and ABGS in the north-east, were all giving away the studies. I remember a sales pitch that said, "if the project goes ahead and we get the detail work, the study is free".
I was there at three of the firms and all three were trying to cut the others' throats. That did very little, from the client's perspective, to assign any value to the front end work.
Your condescending, "where's the real science?" negative responder should be more learned with his/her put-downs.
Because 6061 aluminum structural/welded alloy has an ASME Sect VIII max. allowable stress of 6.2 ksi at 350F (safety factor of 3.5) and gray cast iron has a max, allowable stress of 3 ksi (safety factor 10!), AND aluminum weighs 38% less than gray cast iron, an aluminum dryer is thinner and substantially lighter based on very sound engineering (scientific) design practice, even more so because aluminum alloy resists corrosion by steam and condensate, which is the only environment I've ever found in a dryer in mills that know how to operate the dryers.
Perhaps your responder can explain where acids and bases (alkalis) outside the pH 4 - 10 range arise to corrode any dryer, aluminum or not, because last time I checked cast iron is corroded by acids and subject to stress corrosion cracking by caustic above 200F. Corrosion and wear of aluminum dryers, were it feasible, can be mitigated with an anodized coating, as on Calphalon cookware that is routinely exposed to acidic cooking and alkaline solutions in kitchens everywhere. (I wonder if the negative responder knows standard dishwasher solutions have pH >10.)
Since the other "obstacles" raised by this responder echo all too well the typical "can't do that" attitude of many engineers in the industry, there is no point in challenging them, but I do want to combat, and ideally dispel, "bad information" about the aluminum dryer option even though no one will ever prove it out.
I trust you to use this as you find most appropriate for the forum.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your family!
Corrosion Probe, Inc.
with "LGMI Frontiers" in the subject line.