Are We Too Late to Bridge the Knowledge Gap?

The retirement of senior operators, the changing employment market, and the investment of time necessary for junior operators to gain knowledge and practical experience represents a widening gap in the availability of skilled operators across North America and the world. One chief difficulty in addressing this risk is coordinating operators’ time so that junior operators can work with and learn from senior operators and their experience. Using a simulator to train junior operators is an effective way to bridge this gap.

By employing computerized process modeling and control system emulation, a high-fidelity simulated plant can provide a learning environment for less experienced operators and a means for seasoned operators to pass on their knowledge to future generations without needing access to the physical process. Adding a classroom interface to the simulator allows for the staging of many scenarios including upset conditions, startups, and shutdowns that can be paused and reset to allow operators to practice in real-world scenarios with no risk to actual plant operations.

During TAPPI’s Pulping, Engineering, Environmental, Recycling and Sustainability (PEERS) Conference, November 2-4, Chris Flynn, Andritz, will present “Bridging the Knowledge Gap” as part of the Engineering, Reliability, Corrosion & Materials (ERCM) track. Attendees will learn how senior operators’ knowledge and experience can be effectively transferred to the next generation with minimal impact to mill operations by developing a realistic simulated plant, incorporating a classroom interface, and involving experienced operators in the planning and vetting of scenarios.

PEERS 2020
This year, PEERS transitions to an all-virtual format creating an opportunity for industry professionals to participate in high quality technical sessions, research, keynote addresses, and networking events without leaving their mill or office. Mills can save money and time while still offering exceptional training opportunities to employees.

The comprehensive, peer-reviewed program includes tracks focused on the environment and sustainability, pulping, bleaching, recycling, energy, recovery, lime kiln, recaust, nonwoods and more. The ERCM track addresses key topics on plant engineering, reliability, corrosion and materials and includes the following track sessions:

  • Reliability Case Studies
  • Methods to Improve Operations and Capital Projects
  • Optimizing Non-Metallic Performance and Repair in Challenging Industrial Settings
  • Maintenance Alternatives for Asset Life Cycle Extension Panel
  • Alloy Performance in Thermochemical Processes
  • Reliability Centered Maintenance

View full technical program for presentations and speakers

PEERS is co-located with the International Bioenergy & Bioproducts Conference (IBBC). Participants can attend both virtual events for only one registration fee.

For Conference details and to register, visit

PaperChase Fun Run/Walk
Attendees are encouraged to also participate in the co-located events’ first-ever virtual PaperChase Fun Run/Walk. Whether you choose to run, walk or just relax, you can support the Engineering Scholarship program and help students achieve a bright future in the pulp and paper industry. Learn more.

Benefitting the Bottom Line
There are many benefits to sponsoring or exhibiting at the first-ever virtual PEERS/IBBC conferences. With Gold and Silver options you can get a virtual booth with videos, downloadable promotional materials, meetings with attendees, session sponsorships and more. To learn how your company can benefit, view our Exhibitor/Sponsor flyer.