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Energy Situation in Europe--a suggested response
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I am just back from the Iberian Peninsula where I was able to meet with a number of pulp and paper producers from Portugal to Finland. The energy situation in Europe is dire, a condition you have no doubt read about.

One of the "solutions" being discussed is to slow down the machines. Personally, I think that is a bad idea. Slowing paper machines gets everyone into a set of bad habits. Let me put some finesse on this.

A little slowing to get away from speeds which cause frequent breaks is not a bad idea. No point in ever pushing to a speed that is at the very edge of your equipment and your people limitations. Back off from that a bit. However, deliberately slowing 10% or 20% can really cause your team to develop not only bad habits, but bad attitudes.

Better I say to run a 10/4 schedule. Ten days of 24-hour operation and 4 days down. This assumes, of course, that you have enough surge capacity in your energy system to allow this. This results in a 28.5% reduction in production and, thus, should be a 25% reduction in energy usage (you will need a minimum amount of energy during the down days).

On the four days down, all maintenance can be completed, using a de minimis amount of energy. You'll have more time for maintenance than normal and should be able to put your facility in very good condition.

This is not a new idea, but perhaps you have not thought of it or tried it before.

Jim Thompson is CEO of Paperitalo Publications.


Get Jim Thompson's "Monograph on Purchasing." Available here.


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