The Light Green Machine Institute

20 Jul 16: I found really light weight!

One of the companies I work for, Paperitalo Publications LLC, had an opportunity recently to pick up the sponsorship of a track car, a 2016 Corvette Z06, owned and driven by professional race car driver, Jim Painter, the retired mill manager of the containerboard mill at Cowpens, South Carolina.  Jim has been racing professionally for 56 years.

Jim invited me to come to Pontiac, Michigan this past weekend for a training event hosted by Katech, a builder of performance racing engines. Jim even arranged to take me out on the brand new course for a few laps on both Friday and Saturday.  I loved it, but my stomach did not, which was very frustrating.

However, we got to tour the Katech factory Friday evening, and this is where LGMI kicked in for me. These folks are always trying to shave ounces off engine parts.  It was eye-opening as to what lengths they will go to get rid of an ounce.
Then, on Sunday, while still sitting around at the track, Jim was telling me about a car wax called Rejex, which adds 2 mph to a race car's speed.
This, along with the entire experience, left me feeling like we are just playing around.
As I left the course, driving to Kalamazoo, Michigan, for a day of work on Monday, I started thinking about normal automobile driving, about what I had heard over the weekend about racing and about LGMI.  I was also thinking about a few weeks ago when in one of these columns we were talking about capacity and how it should fit into our LGMI principles.
And then I made the leap.
At today's paper machine speeds, we are just coasting along as if we were an automobile driver who had been going 100 kph and was suddenly allowed to go 120 kph.  Worse than that, we feel good about this.
So, my challenge is this.  What keeps us from making a paper machine that will run at 30,000 feet per minute?  My top-of-the-head pondering suggests that, up to the fan pump, we have no problems--just make everything bigger.  
Then the problems start.  The machine will certainly be a lot longer, but maybe that will allow us to make it narrower (after all, we will not likely need 10 times the production from one mill site that we get now).
But other things get more economical.  For instance, it is in a bigger building, but the building above the foundations does not have to be any stronger--there is no reflection of the speed of the machine in this portion of the building design.
Fourdriniers may become unbelievably long--I don't know.  Pressing?  Needs thought.  Drying--we will certainly need lightweight cans.  Turnups will have to be done differently and so will winding.
It is an interesting proposition, however.
And, I'll expect the usual comments and derision (remember when we discussed the idea of a vertical machine?).
Nevertheless, it may be time to expand our thought process.
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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