September 15, 2020
Capital Allocation, part 2

We stuck our toes in the water last month bringing up "Industry 3.0" with a hint that "Industry 4.0' is arriving rapidly. In just a month, it seems, there are indications that Industry 4.0 is going to be one of those technological phenomenon which arrives even faster than the generation before.

New sensors seem to be going wireless with abandon. This reduces the direct physical installation costs but seems to be increasing the IT programming component significantly. As for schedule, if you have had any experience with IT, you know predicting the schedule can be challenging.

I deliberately stated "the direct physical installation costs" above. The new wireless components, especially in an older mill, may require significant shielding of existing electrical devices, both instrument and power sides, in order to protect the new items from interferences. The smart project engineer will do a guassian survey before they submit their capital budget in order to ascertain what problems may already exist which will need mitigation.

It is a new world and it is coming on fast. The prudent capital projects engineer will do their homework and be up to speed on all the rapidly arriving ramifications of Industry 4.0. The time to start your new education is now.

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.

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