September 27, 2007
I've got your bag filters... riiiight here
Originally published July 12, 2002
This hot hassle of a hell-week finally ended at work today, and I have the weekend off to rest and prepare for my trip to Hamilton, Mississippi next week. I have my itinerary all set. I leave Savannah at 3:00 PM Monday, fly to Atlanta on an actual jet aircraft, spend two hours in the smoking fishbowl there, then climb in the back seat of a crop-duster plane for the rest of the trip. I believe I land in Hiram Jackson's cow pasture in Longbegone County, Mississippi, around 6:00 PM central time. (Hiram offered to let me sleep in his hayloft, as long as I promised not to make love with his nymphomaniac daughter, but that sounded too much like a travelling salesman joke, so I booked a room at the Best Western in the nearby metroplex of Columbus.) I think I get to the motel by mule train, and I am supposed to hitch-hike to the plant the next day. I am ready.
I sat down with all the industrial bag filter experts at work today and picked every last morsel of information I could glean from them. That process took about 35 minutes. I am scheduled to meet for THREE FRICKING DAYS to discuss standardizing industrial bag filters across the four pigment plants my company owns. If the other people invited to this dog-and-pony show can talk for THREE FRICKING DAYS about bag filters, I don't want to be in the same room with them. I'll just have to choke somebody midway through day two.
Of course, I never would have been chosen for this trip or allowed an expense account if the bosses really wanted me to wax philosophical about bag filters for three days. My boss, abetted by HIS boss, who was following orders from HIS boss, said. "Talk about bag filters. Then blow their asses off and go check out Hamilton's finishing end. Find out about the new disc-flow pumps they're using and whether production likes them or not. Talk to the maintainers to learn what it takes to keep them running. Check the design on their rotary filter repulper shafts. See if you can get some drawings of the weld patterns on the paddles. Hang around the packaging areas and watch how their equipment operates. Talk to the operators. Talk to the supervisors. Find out if what they have is any good.
In other words, I am off on an INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE mission, camouflaged by that twitty bag filter excuse.
I don't know how I can be called a spy, since the reason for the trip is "Site Sharing." That's the unbelievably avante-garde notion that what works well in one plant should be passed along to the other plants so that nobody wastes time re-inventing the wheel. Unfortunately, we only share information that Corporate Headquarters has thoroughly vetted, screened, filtered and blessed, such as bag filters. Only then can we officially engage in "Site Sharing."
Well, I going to do some unofficial site sharing, and I speak the language of pigmenteers. Those guys (or maybe gals) will talk to me, because we all live, breathe and fart that white pigment dust. It's like wearing a Mason's ring. Fellow travellers recognize it and accept you as a brother. I'm looking forward to meeting those people. I may actually bring back some useful information.
But it won't be about bag filters.
All content © Rob Smith