Pulp and Paper Canada

Maximize your assets — PacWest Report

August 1, 2013  By Pulp & Paper Canada

Speakers at PacWest’s opening forum had concrete suggestions for the mill personnel in the audience, suggesting they need to get out from the “tyranny of the urgent” and put in place better maintenance management systems.The…

Speakers at PacWest’s opening forum had concrete suggestions for the mill personnel in the audience, suggesting they need to get out from the “tyranny of the urgent” and put in place better maintenance management systems.
The sage advice about mill operations and management continued throughout the four-day conference, dispensed by both experts and peers. The PacWest conference, an annual event of PAPTAC’s Pacific and Western Branches, ran from June 12-15 at Sun Peaks, B.C. The theme this year was “Improving performance through optimization and reliability.”
“A lot of us are finding this year that we are really focused on getting the most out of the assets we have, debottlenecking, etc.,” said conference chair Bill Adams (Domtar). The conference theme evidently struck a chord with other mill personnel. Almost 50% of the conference delegates work in pulp and paper mills.
PacWest program chair, Brian Grantham (West Fraser – Hinton Pulp), said: “The value in this conference is the gems you find and send back to the mill to put into action.”
There were 26 papers presented at PacWest, in addition to several short courses, PAPTAC community meetings, the trade fair and roundtable meetings for maintenance managers and pulp machine superintendants.
A closer look at maintenance
Reliability experts speaking at PacWest commented that the manufacturing world is familiar with KPIs to measure performance, but when it comes to reliability and maintenance, most companies are only looking a high-level measures that do not specifically evaluate the performance of the maintenance department.
On the subject of maintenance business practices, Robert Landau, senior principal with Poyry Management Consulting, recommended the following performance indicators for the maintenance team:
• schedule attainment (world class:
> 95%),
• emergency work (world class: < 5%),
• work orders completed on time (world class: > 95%),
• startup effectiveness (world class:
> 95%),
• rework (world class: < 5%).
Measures of this type give the maintenance department a greater sense of accountability and transparency, says Landau. Good maintenance business practices can reframe the definition of success for maintenance personnel, he added.
Ian McKinnon, as a principal partner in the training firm Reliabilty Solutions, teaches that if companies want reliability in their manufacturing operations, then maintenance and troubleshooting must always be performed in a known, precise, disciplined and documented manner. He noted that reliable manufacturing is not a core business value of most companies yet, although he has hopes that it will someday join safety and sustainability as core values for pulp and paper producers.
Capturing knowledge
A concern frequently aired among mill personnel at PacWest is the amount of knowledge being lost as experienced staff retire. One person noted, “We lost 22 years of experience in the last year.”
Peter Lovell of Canfor’s Prince George Pulp and Paper, commented that the mill’s implementation of an asset management program “put us on the path of knowing that we can’t rely on just the engineers who could walk out the door.”
Timo Arra of Eurocon MOPSsys Inc. discussed the Production Loss Analyzer and electronic log book in use at Alberta-Pacific. In 2011, these tools were integrated with the mill’s CMMS. The main goal of the integration was to track efficiency and downtime.
Within the Production Loss Analyzer, reasons for an event can be chosen from a “tree” of reasons. Comments can be attached, and threaded with responses. The entries eventually form a “knowledge database” that is searchable, even just for specific words in the text.
Once database structure of the loss analyzer was harmonized with the CMMS, mill personnel could directly associate asset management with production information, identifying lost time and production losses.
Timo says Al-Pac uses the system proactively, on a continuous basis.
Brian Johnson of Canfor talked about operator driven reliability, and how it’s working at his company. “Management has to be fully involved with this. If no one looks at the information, the operators start to give up on it.”
Canfor began to employ this concept about 10 years ago. The operators use a handheld data recording unit.
He noted that ODR requires better housekeeping. There’s a need to keep equipment clean so operators can see evidence of any problems. It requires training of the operators to do the route, and ongoing communication. Maintenance staff need to have confidence that operators can do the tasks.
The PacWest program was not all about maintenance practices. Technical sessions addressed kraft pulping, automation, new technologies, process control, mechanical pulping and opportunities in bioproducts.
Next year’s conference will be held May 28-31in Jasper, Alta.


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