Friday, October 3, 2008

On the Threshold of a Dream: Application of rapid mb methods in paper industry

It seems that certain interest in novel, both rapid OFF LINE and automatized ON LINE  methods for the control of paper machine microbiology has arisen at least in Finland. The benefits of fast activities against spoilage of raw materials, biofilm and slime problems in processes as well as immediate corrections of biocide problems is understood in many mills.

What has prevent the progress of microbiological control in the mills until now?

First of all: lack of knowledge (ref. the picture above, drawn by my son in his early years). Bacteria, moulds and yeasts are something frightening for the majority of paper mill personnel. This opinion is false: learning basic facts of microbial ecology, environmental ecology and biotechnology helps to understand the activities of microbes. This kind of knowledge is served every year on trainig courses, intended in to present microbiology to laymen of paper industry.

Another claim: " We shall wash our machines several times per year - we then clean both chemical and microbiological problems away". False again: microbiological problems very often hide inside the process and lead frequently to acute problems which force to stop the production and clean the machine - and in worsest cases, lead to severe faults of products. 

We do not think that visiting our doctor a couple of times per year covers us against infectious diseases all the year, do we? Absolutely not - why then we thrust that infrequent boil-outs could prevent our machines against their "diseases"?

"Where we can catch information of novel control methods? We are not microbiologists?"

A good supply of paper industry microbiology is available nowadays, not only in scientific journals (J.Appl.Environ.Microbiology and J.IndMicrobiol.Biotech.  may be the best sources of P&P microbiology today),  but also on courses, blogs (like this and and elsewhere in Internet.

Focusing certain activity to be familiar with P&P microbiology isn't too hard task for those persons who are responsible for the technical and quality issues of paper and board production. It is definitely worth to do and to reserve time for it.

Back to the title of this post: great british rock group "The Moody Blues" published and album with the same title years ago. Progressive rock with jazz features (near to the heart of IM) then grew to a respective form of music all over the world on 1960's-1970's. I hope that we are now similarly stepping into a new era of control methods for paper industry microbiology today.

1 comment:

Helge V. Keitel said...

Hello Juha, you have some great new postings on your blog. I've a feeling that the gospel of "rapid methods" is finally receiving more attention. The strategy to "go global" with PMEU and Biotouch is starting to pay-off. But it takes time. Much more time that we anticipated when we started to collaborate around the issues two years ago. Take a look at a new member at KK-Net. Become a friend with Gregory is interested in what we are doing.