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Operations Planning (2)

Main Industry details

To properly fill in the previous table you need to focus more details about each "complex" industrie you plan in your design.
What you need, is an answer to BASIC questions, like :
- How it works ?
An overview of manufacturing process is usefull not only for your ( and your guest ) pleasure , but also to better understand and plan a prototypal traffic for this building.
- Wich type of raw materials they need ? This define type of car to transport materials for this building
- How often they need this materials ? This define frequency to transport materials for this building
- What kind of products they supply to the community?
- How is delivered ( boxes, cans, etc..) ?
This define type of car to transport materials from this building
- Rate of production ( how often they have ready products for shipping )? And, as above, frequency.

As a good sample, let me use some (little) parts taken from the BTS web site
( http://www.master-creations.com/hydemast.htm ) , I've used for the Hyde Pulp Mill I plan to have in my layout:

"Welcome to the tour of the Hyde Pulp Mill. The history of the mill is interesting, and we hope you will find time to look it over. It will help you understand why some things are as they are here at Hyde. And we have a small discussion of the pulping process and the rail services needed for the Hyde Pulp Mill available for you."
The Hyde Pulp Mill uses the chemical process to break down the wood chips into pulp. This process was the kraft process which first appeared in the late 1800’s. The process was named kraft because it is the German word for strength, and the name is still used today for the strong brown paper. It produced a stronger, lighter and cheaper pulp, yet darker in color, than the earlier chemical methods.

Pulping Process
In this kraft process, sodium sulfate is chemically reduced to sulfide, which is then introduced into the cooking liquid. This speeds the process of breaking down the pulp chips. While not trying to get into the heavy chemistry of it all, it seems that the alkali concentration in the cooking liquid, and the high temperatures, 155-1750, do most of the work breaking down the chips.
Here at the Hyde Pulp Mill, the day starts with the chipping crew working on the latest load of pulp wood. At the chipping shed, they strip off the bark, which is stored for resale to the local tannery, wash off the dirt, and run the logs into the chipper. Chips will vary in size, but the best ones should be ¼" x ¾" to get the best pulp. Oversized chips are run through the chipper a second time, and those considered too small for the good pulp, are fed into the firebox of the boiler.
From the chip storage bin, an auger brings chips into the main building. There they are again screened for size and loaded into the digester. This digester is a simple pressure tank that will hold the chips, water, and chemicals while they cook. This process takes around eight hours.
After draining, the pulp is washed and dried, then compressed into slabs. These slabs are stacked, wrapped, and wired for shipping to the paper mill. Mr. Hyde moved the wrapping process to the shipping/storage building when it was built. The slabs are moved by cart from the main building to the shipping building.
From this process, not only is pulp the result, but several by-products are created. Turpentine is recovered from the digester in the form of vapor. This is decanted to remove the water, and sold to chemical processors. At the Hyde Pulp Mill, turpentine is stored in the vertical tank until a tank car load is stockpiled. Another product from the resin of pine trees is tall oil. This is separated from the liquid used to cook the chips. Tall oil is shipped from Hyde in 55-gallon drums.
Another by-product of the pulp mill is one no one wants; the smell. The kraft process generates hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs, and spreads out for miles! There are no signs pointing to the Hyde Pulp Mill; everyone just uses their nose.

Data gleemed from: Smook, Gary A. Handbook for Pulp & Paper Technologists. Vancouver: Angus Wilde Publication, Inc, 1992

Rail Service
Originally, service to the mill was provided by the McCabe Lumber Co. railroad, a three-foot narrow gauge line owned by John McCabe of the Coon Gap Sawmill fame. Later, with the increase of incoming pulpwood and resulting outgoing pulp, a standard gauge line was also run to the mill. Since it was built to narrow gauge clearances, some difficulty exists with standard gauge equipment.
In the early days, narrow gauge pulpwood cars arrived on the single track, and the pulpwood was dumped by hand behind the mill. Here it was debarked, and fed into the steam-powered chipper. A simple conveyor carried the chips into the main building and the awaiting digestor. Finished pulp slabs were loaded into narrow gauge box cars at the large south-side freight door. Usually two loads of pulpwood arrived per day and a box car load of pulp left every Monday morning. A box car load of bagged chemicals would arrive every week or so. Naturally, a flat car or gondola with new equipment or large replacement parts would arrive when needed.
As the operation grew, so did the need for more rail service. The addition of the standard gauge track allowed larger cars to service the mill, and faster deliveries. However, the close clearances prevented the standard gauge box cars from coming directly to the loading door. And the increased size of these cars meant that they had to stay on the property longer to be filled. This bothered Mr. Hyde, so additional pulp storage was added in a second building. This allowed the accumulation of a box car load of outgoing pulp before ordering the car to arrive. And every couple of weeks a triple-dome tank car would arrive to carry off the accumulated turpentine.
Since dual gauge track is used at the Hyde Pulp Mill, it is common to see both standard and narrow gauge equipment on a daily basis.

The traffic to the mill consists of:

Incoming Material

Car Type Used


Flat, Gon, Woodrack

Bags of Chemicals

Box Car

Drums of Chemicals, Oils

Box Car, Gon, Flat

Boxes of Parts, Equipment

Box Car, Gon, Flat

Outgoing Material

Car Type Used

Finished Pulp Slabs

Box Car


Tank Car

Drums of Extracts

Box Car

Try to make this exercise for the most important industries you have, and you find out that you have ready a detailed plan of traffic needed.
This help a lot, not only to plan lather operation sessions, but also having a correct idea about "what car" you need to add to your roster to have realistic operations.

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Last update :
Nov 2009

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