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16 Sep 15: More on lightweight structures
Neil McCubbin had a great commentary on last week's column.  We'll use it for our column this week:

Your article on your cruise ship reminded me how I first realized that the concrete and steel structures in North American mills are usually grossly overdesigned.
When I was a mill engineer in Hinton in the 1960's I was given the structural work, because I had done a little at university.
Each  time I analyzed the question of building strength to support some new or enlarged equipment, I found that there was always a massive safety margin.
When I started traveling to Sweden in the 70's, I noticed that the columns were markedly skinnier than in our mills in Canada and the US.
When working with Sandwell in the 70's I learned why.  When a new mill design was under way, a memo was issued early on stating the design floor loading for each level in each department.  Structures were designed for that, long before actual equipment was defined.   Normal practice to set the loadings was the last mill plus 5% or 10%.

I later saw the same disease in Rust and H A Simons.
There is a lot of capital wasted because of the rush to get drawings done to pour concrete ASAP
When working on the S American mills with Swedish/Finnish management, there was much more up-front engineering with careful thought to capital optimization, including properly sized structures.
This also led to many variable speed drives, which make good sense and are incidentally much quieter than our oversized pumps pushing against � closed valves.

Thanks, Neil!

By the way, if you have not signed up for the 6th Annual LGMI Conference, time is getting short. You can do so here.
Jim Thompson
We would like to hear from you. Please send an email to [email protected] 
with "LGMI Frontiers" in the subject line. 

As always, your comments will be appreciated.
Think light!


Brian Brogdon, Ph.D.
Executive Director




Jim Thompson

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