October 2020: Minimizing Stairs in the Future
By Jim Thompson
We would all agree stairs are important around a paper machine (and a pulp mill). I think we would further agree that the elimination of stairs would be a slight decrease in the overall weight of a paper machine installation. And finally, we would agree that properly designed modern stairways are a safety feature, but if we could find a way to eliminate stairs, we would be even safer.
It will soon be time to rethink stairs.
Five years ago at the dawn of the drone era, we had a little newsletter we called Aerial Arguments (this was over at Paperitalo Publications). Early on, in that newsletter, I visualized a day when drones would be parked in charging stations around the mill and fly automatically to check on various parameters within the mill. This would sure save walking to the top of a two ply fourdrinier to check how the top wire is running, for instance.
This day is almost here. Ring (a division of Amazon) has announced such a drone for home use. I talk about it in this article.
This is going to make us think before we automatically put stairs all over the paper machine (or in the pulp mill). For if those stairs exist solely for visual observation, they will soon be obsolete. Visual observation anywhere in the machine room will be just as close as the nearest monitor. Visual observations will be storable in your cloud storage.
This is almost here!
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