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22 Jul 15: Applications 21: Control Systems

Those of us used to dealing with physical items, and I'll throw paper scientists, mechanical engineers and chemical engineers into this basket, often take controls, control schemes and control programs for granted.  This is a mistake.  Do a Pareto analysis of your major causes of downtime, and I'll suspect electrons of one use or another rank high on the list.


And we are content with this.


Time to stop being passive, time to start being active in dealing with control schemes.  This starts with hiring controls engineers and programmers who are willing to be open and listen to the customer--you.  I don't think we work hard enough at understanding modern control programming and we are too passive about pushing the subject with the professionals who deal with it.  One or two little meetings and then we let them go their way with the process.


What do you think?  Should management, especially operations management, be more active and more demanding of programming professionals?


Jim Thompson


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Comments from last week:




Re: Board Visits


This is a can of worms.  The board visits are rare so the effort is seen to be "once in a while".  Ongoing cleanliness and order is cultural and managerial and it's only when these two coincide that the desired result is reached. 

I just got back from a visit to a 21 year old newsprint mill  in Thailand that was good looking and well maintained but starting to slide a bit.  However, even in this state it, compared to our mills in NA, it was  light years ahead of us.  Green field and brown field installation stand a chance here if management and crew are relatively new.  Over the years, I've seen new machines installed in new buildings that replaced existing machines in a mill and within 5 years the new machine looks like the old ones with dried stock everywhere and old loose broke all over the basement.  

For someone like me that spends two or more years of our life designing a top notch mill, to see it go downhill so fast is discouraging.  On the flip side, seeing a mill that you designed being kept in pristine condition and beating the competition in efficiency and quality while using fewer people, makes this job worthwhile. 




Brian Creagan


Montreal, PQ




Good Morning, Jim


Regarding cleaning up and throwing away, all I can say is "AMEN!!"  I would add "fixing leaks" to your short list.



Bill Adams

ERCO Worldwide


The board rarely, customers regularly. They're more important.
Comment: "You could eat of off  this floor!"
(alas, no longer true)

George Mead
Wisconsin Rapids, WI




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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