The Light Green Machine Institute
Check out Nip Impressions weekly
Nip Impressions® is Paperitalo Publications' flagship publication.  Published every Thursday afternoon (US Eastern Time), Nip Impressions® is eagerly read by pulp and paper professionals around the world.

4 Mar 15: Applications in Use 12: Information is Cheap


Last week, I said we were going to finish up the current series on installed spares.  As the politicians say today, "I misspoke."  In our straightforward language, that means I lied--I am no politician.


I got to thinking about some of the practices I have seen over the years which keep bringing me back to this topic.


Over ten years ago, I was in an old mill in the upper Midwest here in the US.  When I say old, I mean, old--open gearing on the dryers, lineshaft, slow speeds.


Yet this mill had something that was outstanding for its time--it had a monitoring module on every motor in the place.  These all fed into a central program.  The maintenance manager, and designees, would get an alarm on their desktop if a motor was performing out of its parameters (vibration, amp loading, temperature, etc.). Today, I am sure you could get those alarms on your phone.  


From a screen one could pull up any motor and see its entire history in meticulous detail.  


This is the kind of modern software that can eliminate those installed spares we have been talking about so much.  The payback on such software has to be near instantaneous in a mill without it--how many hours of downtime from 500 HP motors would it take to pay for it?


The lesson here is this.  With today's technology, the solution to a problem (an installed spare) may just reside in another area of expertise (software, for instance).  We have to unclog our brains and think of the unconventional if we are going to make progress.


For more, see Bryan Creagan's comments below.

We would like to hear from you. Please send an email to 

with "LGMI Frontiers" in the subject line.  



Correspondence from last week:



Jim, I always look forward to your weekly comments so keep it up. 


On the spares issue, there is one aspect that may have been missed and that is "predictive maintenance".   This used to be a major pain to input each piece of equipment into a schedule with part numbers, inventory  and PO's. 

Today, there is no excuse whatsoever for not having every bit of the process on a computer system.  You don't need specialized software and todays wireless communication systems allow all of this information to be at everyone's fingertips for data retrieval and input.   I can now stand in front of a cleaner bank with a tablet and pull  up maintenance procedures, part numbers and then input the repairs requests directly into the shutdown schedule.  Elapsed time, 30 seconds.


How does this affect LGMI?  Have a look around at the mountains of spare parts in an operating mill and then look at the layers of dust on those parts.   These are "just in case" parts that should not have been purchased (tying up capital) , take up space and are probably useless without an annual check-up of some kind.  Predictive maintenance gets rid of the majority of "just in case" parts and eliminates all of the reasons behind installed spares.




Bryan Creagan






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!




LGMI Weekly Ideas are presented for your consideration and inspiration only.  It is solely your responsibility to check for engineering correctness, applicability, standards, insurance policy and local, national or any other legal compliance required before implementing.  Neither The Light Green Machine (TM) Institute, Paperitalo Publications, Talo Analytic International, Inc., nor any individual associated with these entities accepts any responsibility for your application or compliance issues.


The Light Green Machine Institute is a stand-alone non-profit Delaware Corporation.  

Copyright 2015 LGMI All Rights Reserved