2 Mar 2015, 0:00 CET

All trainees working shift in the production!

As a part of our trainee  program all trainees were to work in the production for two weeks at their own site. This would give us a better understanding of the processes at the mill and how it is to work shift. During the two weeks, all trainees worked both at the pulp and carton mill in the production where we got the chance to experience the different departments. First will I, Mattias, describe my experiences from the week at the carton mill in Gävle and then Gabriel will share his experiences from the pulp side of the mill in Karlsborg.

On our shift period me, Lina, Anna and Fredrik was visited by Tim and Maija from Solna who joined us. At the Gävle mill we worked two mornings, two afternoons and one night shift both weeks. Me and Tim were assigned the same schedule and spent our first week at the pulp mill and the second week at the carton mill. I will now recap on my experiences and impressions from our very interesting week at the carton mill.

Me and Tim meet up in the locker room at 05:45 on Monday and headed together down to the control room of paper machine 4 and 5 (PM4 and PM5). We were situated at PM5. First we meet the operators at the wet end were the pulp enters the paper machine. During the day the operators explained how the wet end of the machine works and how the control system work. We also took samples with the operator that was then brought to the laboratory. We also participated in a break and lock activity on machine that was going to be serviced. This involved locking valves and switches to ensure the safety of the maintenance personal. Safety always comes first at the mill!

The next day we joined the operators on the dry part of the machine. The dry part consists of the drying, bleaching and tambour. We also got to participate with changing the tambour (the big paper roll in the picture below). During this process they also took samples to ensure the quality of the paper. The operators do visual tests and then bring samples to the laboratory for further testing.

The next two days we were on both the wet and dry part of the machine were the operators walked us through the machine and explained how the different sections work. It was really interesting and useful. The final day was the nightshift and was a real fruitful day. We got an explanation on how the production coordinator works with deviations and also how the bleach is mixed. During the day we also visited the finishing department were the paper rolls are packed and shipped to an external warehouse and then to our customers.

For me, Gabriel, the shift period at Karlsborg mill was really worthwhile, very informative and overall great. During the period I had my base at the control room for the fiber line but I followed the process technician quite closely as he moved between departments to either just do a checkup or learn about process problems they had to deal with. The only thing that would have made this shift period better was if it had been 3 weeks longer!

Working as an operator at the Kraft pulp mill can be very interesting but also tiresome when the clock hits 03:00 and all you want to do is lie down in your bed and get that well deserved rest. What you hope for, for your interest, is that problems occur so that you get the opportunity to see things that you normally do not. Certainly, even though you are alert and ask a lot of questions, there will be thousands of situations regarding process disturbances that you will not see or ask about.

The first set of days I worked was scheduled like this: Saturday and Sunday, 06:00 to 18:00, Monday and Tuesday 18:00 to 06:00. It was a kick start of the shift period due to the switch from day shift to night. Over one day you are going to try to adjust from a day shift when you wake up and go to work, having your spare time after work, to a night shift when you have your spare time before going to work. The difference here is that you get really tired at the end of your shift because you have already been awake for about 14-15 hours depending on your ability to sleep during day time. It is a hard time doing shift and I have not even been talking about the effects on the social life, being at work while your friends are home and vice versa.

My first day at this shift period started Saturday the 6th at 06:00 and the day before at 18:00 there had been a stop in the process which resulted in pulp overflow, from the slush tank and onto the floor. Can you guess who got the honor of washing that away? As a matter of course it was me, but at least that experience taught me two things. Firstly, a lot of water is needed to get the pulp to flow as it will not move with ease. Secondly, there is a big difference between “a hose” and “a hose”! Well I think I will leave that subject unexplored in this text.

On the behalf of all trainees, we would like to take the opportunity and thank all the shift teams for all the explanations and answering of our questions during these two weeks in the production at BillerudKorsnäs mills. It has been very fun and interesting and has provided us with a better understanding of the process of producing paper.

Thank you all! // Mattias & Gabriel