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Just another Friday

​​I was challenged to write a story about my day at work to a local news bulletin called "Fluutiset" here in Heinola. I thought that maybe someone outside our mill would also be interested. So, please, here you are:
I wake up at eight with no use for an alarm clock. Soon I'm having some breakfast with coffee and reading daily newspapers. Next I pay a few bills via online bank and then begin to make some food for my family; chicken and vegetable risotto. At the same time I prepare a packed lunch for myself to take with. Cooking is usually a nice job, as well as household chores generally. So, I start the washing machine and also begin vacuuming our home. 

Soon I am heading to the town. It is time for a driving lesson because I teach a daughter of our friend family to drive a car. Teaching is a nice thing to do, while you learn to perceive the traffic better also yourself. The lesson takes about an hour, and then I return home for lunch. 
Our French bulldog stares at me in a demanding way.  Soon we find ourselves having a few blocks' walk. Then I pack my backpack and leave to work by bike; in one direction for about five kilometers.


I slip into my working clothes and head to the control room, where the morning shift operator is waiting, just to get a comprehensive report on the morning shift events. The board machine is running 127 g / m² fluting and the morning has gone pretty well. My first task is to make coffee for the control room crew.  After checking the main process displays and production schedule I read the summary report as well as the maintenance notifications made by the morning shift.


Having coffee, we discuss the results of a pulp reject test drive with a colleague.  There's also a conversation with the board mill manager and the day supervisor concerning the web breaks at the board machine.  Once again we have to admit that due to many variables in our process it is very difficult, even impossible, to point out one specific reason for breaks. Next I start an inspection tour, during which I collect some essential figures from the process. At the same time I check if there is any maintenance or cleaning acts required. I notice that the level of the retention polymer is low, so I empty a new sack into the storage silo.  

After returning to the control room I post the collected figures to the machine diary and enter a few maintenance observations into the SAP system. I also read some news and security perceptions on the WeShare site, check my e-mail and post one safety observation about corroded canal covers. In my work I have to actively use quite a number of different computer systems and software. Therefore computer skills are an essential part of my work.

I check on the operator driven reliability terminal (ODR) whether there is a need to make condition monitoring measurements for the wet-end machinery. There are not any expired targets this time, so I head to the Friday's 5S-region, the press section downstairs. Target appears to be quite dirty, so I spend three quarters of an hour washing the area.  After that it is time for a lunch break and some coffee. During the break my supervisor tells me that there will be a shortage of personnel in the morning shift for the next two days. After a short negotiation I promise to replace an absent person for two morning shifts. 

About seven o'clock a web break takes place at the board machine.  I check the surveillance camera system recordings to track the cause of failure: it seems that some dirt spilled from the top wire section has caused the break. In addition to the usual spots I wash thoroughly the steam box on the wire section and also start a shock treatment for the 2nd press felt with sodium hydroxide solution. We notice that there is a poor-conditioned  paper carrier rope on the dryer group 1 and decide to renew it, as the rope can cause large damage if broken on high speed. These extra maneuvers make the web break last a bit longer than usually. Anyway, after an hour the machine is clean again and the production in full swing. 

I spend the end of the shift mainly in the control room reporting the most important issues of the evening into the manufacturing execution system. Finally I make a short checking walk around the machine. Night shift operator arrives at half past nine.  
I inform him about the evening's events and leave the control room wishing him a safe working shift.

It is almost dark when I cycle back home. I arrive home at 10 pm, just to have a chat with my wife and enjoy a small evening snack. I try to watch Netflix series "Breaking Bad", but the eyelids begin to weigh too much. So I fall asleep a little after eleven, only to wake up again 4:30 in the morning.


Harri Laisi


A small vocabulary:
  • Fluting: Containerboard specially manufactured for the production of corrugated board.
  • Reject: Dirt, debris etc. separated from the pulp.
  • Retention polymer: A chemical aid used to fix fine fibers to the paper web.
  • Steam box: a device which boosts the drainage of water from the paper web and helps to achieve better moisture profiles.
  • ODR: Operator driven reliability monitoring system. Target is to predict possible machinery damages by regularly measuring vibration levels.
  • Shock treatment: An effective method to clean paper machine press felts with alkaline (lye) solution.
  • Carrier rope: A rope that helps to re-deliver the paper through the paper machine's drying section after a web break.