Capital Argument $

A trademark of Paperitalo Publications
Published on the 15th of every month
January 2020
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Buy as big as you can

Two items come to mind when one thinks about extraordinary shipping to a capital job site.  The first is package boilers.  Often delivered by special trucks with up to 76 tires, these loads take up to six weeks to get from the fabrication shop to the job site.  Yet all involved say this is more economical that jobsite fabrication.

The other is Yankee Dryers.  If cast, they are necessarily shipped as large loads.  If steel, they come in shipment container size pieces and are field welded and machined.

When I look around capital job sites, I see many, many items that are field fit and assembled, much like putting together a pile of Legos.

It seems to me that we could obtain better quality faster and more economically if more items were pre-assembled and delivered as large loads.

The first place I ever worked we made industrial metal finishing machinery.  One of our premium offerings was can washers.  These machines, consisting of up to five to seven stages, washed two piece aluminum beverage cans after they had been through the drawing and shaping process at the rate of 3,000 per minute.  They were often over 100 feet long and fourteen feet wide.  They were pre-piped, pre-wired and fully tested before they left our shop.  They were in section up to forty feet long for shipping.  On the job site, they only needed to be lifted into place, connections made for piping and wiring and some non-critical field welds permanently linked them together.  Then the expanded metal conveyor belt was installed, vents and local services attached and they were ready to go.  Usually took a semi-skilled crew in the field about a week to put them together.  They weren't paper machines, but they were sophisticated and large.

I have watched a dozen paper machines being built in the last 25 years and they have all resembled tinker toy sets crawling with ants during their months and months of construction.

We can do better--you can do better.  Let's do this.

What is your opinion?  Drop me a line at .  I would like to hear from you.   

Young Engineering Manager of the Year, call for nominations

We are looking for an individual who has done an extraordinary project, one that almost defies belief.  Its extraordinary features can be schedule, technology, cost or all three.  There is an age limit on the manager eligible for this award: they must be under 35 years old when they completed the project.
We have often gotten nominees that go something like this, "I nominate Joe because he has done a great job of running our engineering department for the last fifteen years." Quite frankly, we are not interested in such nominees.
However, if you know someone who has led a very exceptional project in the recent past (the last two or three years) and meets our age requirement, we want to know about it.  We want to honor them and hold them up as an example for Engineering Managers in every pulp and paper mill around the world.
Just send your nomination, with as much details as you can provide, to  We will seriously consider it.

Current Patent Activity is available here.

Capital Arguments Engineering Manager of the Year
Hall of Fame

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Since its inception, Capital Arguments has believed extraordinary projects are possible.  They can be done safely, responsibly and offer a great advantage to their mills with lower capital costs and saved downtime. We established this award in 2008 to recognize those people and companies that follow this philosophy. This award is given once per year somewhere in the world.  We honor our inductees permanently here.


Mac Switkowski--Engineering Manager of the Year 2015

Mac Switkowski, center, holds his Capital Arguments Engineering Manager of the Year Award that was presented by Paperitalo CEO Jim Thompson, left, as Luis Henao, right, vice president at Pratt Industries applauds.  Mac brought the new mill at Valparaiso in on time and on budget despite a change of paper machine suppliers mid project.

Not Awarded 2014

You have to be really good to get this award.  We did not receive any qualifying nominations in 2014.


Not Awarded 2013

You have to be really good to get this award.  We did not receive any qualifying nominations in 2013.

Not Awarded 2012

You have to be really good to get this award.  We did not receive any qualifying nominations in 2012.


Ed Kersey--Engineering Manager of the Year 2011

Jim p resents Ed with the Engineering Manager of the Year for 2011.
(L - R) Matt Nilsen, Jim Thompson, Ed Kersey and Wayne South.  Nilsen is Account Manager and South is Business Development Manager for Kadant Black Clawson, underwriter of this year's award.  Ed Managed the construction of the Pratt Industries mill in Shreveport, Louisiana which took 13 months from piling to paper on the reel.  His reward?  They made him mill manager!

Peter Flynn and Steve Roush

Kadant Black Clawson was a major sponsor of the 2011 Award.  Here, on the left,  Peter Flynn, President of Kadant Black Clawson, receives the company's duplicate of Ed's Award from Steve Roush, Publisher and Editor, Paperitalo Publications. 

Not Awarded 2010

You have to be really good to get this award.  We did not receive any qualifying nominations in 2010.


Dean Abrams--Engineering Manager of the Year 2009

Now retired, Dean was an engineer at Corrugated Services, Forney, Texas, USA in the summer of 2009 when he completed his award winning project.  Dean managed a team that installed a secondary headbox in 11 hours, 30 minutes, paper-to-paper.  The experts had said it would take at least 3 days.  In April 2010, we presented the award to Dean in the presence of a number of his colleagues.

Dean Abrams Award 
Here is the award we presented to Dean:

Deans Plaque


Mike Ahcan--Engineering Manager of the Year 2008

Mike works at the UPM Blandin Mill in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, USA. In 2008, the mill's sole effluent pipe, running outside a building, almost in the Mississippi River, was determined to be in a state of imminent collapse.  The experts said it would take a week of total mill downtime to replace it.  Additionally, there was a danger of leakage into the river.  Mike and his team went to work and replaced the pipe without any downtime and with no spillage.  We had a banquet in Grand Rapids for him in July 2009.

OpTest Official Solid Background

And here is Mike's award:

OpTest Official Solid Background

We normally accept nominations in the November-December time frame.  They can be sent to with "EMOY Nomination" in the subject line. 

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Bankers Engineer