Machine Configuration Evaluations
An independent view from a qualified individual having no vested interest in the outcome is an essential part of assessing any major new project ...
Few projects are no-brainers.
No single person (or even group) knows everything.
The paper machine configuration must be specified EARLY in the procurement process when little has yet been committed and changes still are possible. With an investment worth millions on the line, it is NOT sufficient to merely evaluate vendors' proposal presentations, compare price and delivery, and then call it a day. Visits must usually be made to other mill sites and demonstration trials performed at the vendors' pilot facilities. Lastly, it frequently is necessary to perform careful trials on existing equipment and make sophisticated lab measurements on the paper before deciding between several seemingly viable machine configurations.
In conducting these tests it is important to involve experienced and knowledgeable technical people to insure the validity and applicability of the results.
Lastly, it is important to provide checks and balances for the entire process, seeking the informed opinions of qualified people who have no vested interest in the outcome. This should be done throughout the entire process and not after the point where forcing changes would be like pulling teeth.
Without doing all these things, there can be big surprises, some of which can have terrible consequences for the people who must live with the equipment for what probably seems an eternity.