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International Paper offers an Experience Not to be Forgotten

Flowmeter and Infrared Pyrometer oh my…

Since May 2019, I have had the privilege to work with International Paper at the Corporate Technology Center based out of Loveland, Ohio. I get to stay with this group until the end of the Fall 2019 semester, and it is an experience I will not forget. I work closely with a team of eleven Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and support them when we travel to different IP mills in search of cost reduction opportunities. At the mill, I go out with a strap-on flowmeter and an infrared pyrometer and measure the temperatures and flows of different units in the hot water system. After characterizing the given tank or area, I take the numbers back and create a balance in Excel that is used to simulate future conditions and assess cost savings for different projects. Each team member collaborates and cross checks their work with others so that we can put together one large presentation summarizing all of the identified capital projects, which we deliver to the mill for implementation.

So far, I have traveled to IP’s Newport, Pine Hill, Red River, Pensacola, and Mansfield Mills. Before I close out the co-op I will also visit Savannah, Riegelwood, and Red River again. Even though I do not get enough time to intimately understand each mill’s process, I get to see the differences between mills and create connections between major unit operations at different places. Similarly, not working at a mill full time does not allow me to understand finer details, but instead, I get to understand the thought process that SME’s take when approaching new problems, which is fairly consistent mill to mill.

So Much More than an Experience

This experience has taught me how to approach different problems as well as a new flexibility in adapting to work at different mills. I have been barraged with a deluge of knowledge from working with SMEs and mill representatives, information not only about making paper but also about interpersonal relations and how to express ideas in a way that others will be more likely to accept. I am excited for my upcoming trips and for the future possibilities that this experience has provided.

Guest Blogger Jesse Price