Here at LGMI, we have talked for years about how in this modern world, cast iron is a lousy material to use for dryer can construction. We continue to make dryers from this obsolete material, essentially, because "we have always done it this way." A few companies have boldly moved to steel, but by no means are steel dryers the norm.
It is time to start beating the drum for alternative materials for press frames, dryer frames and press rolls. The components suffer from the "we have always done it this way" syndrome, too. Hence they are usually made of various grades of steels and cast iron, in carbon and stainless form.
The airline industry has been dabbling in plastic and carbon fiber strength components for decades. Finally, several years ago, Boeing came out with the "plastic" airplane--the 787.
The aerospace industry had always been ahead of us on materials usage. Face it, they have not had the subsidy that we have had when design components--that subsidy being the luxury of anchoring components to solid foundations anchored in the earth. They have always had to deal with strength in a way extracts the best from their engineering designs. We have had the luxury of being sloppy.
A combination of carbon fiber and fiberglass construction can give us a much lighter weight and far more accessible paper machine. This will reduce construction, maintenance, and energy costs. It will yield a design that is far more accessible, hence receptive, to the coming sensor burden of Industry 4.0.
It is time we got started.