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Thread: Fettykill Paper Mill, Fife - Oct. 2009

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    Default Fettykill Paper Mill, Fife - Oct. 2009


    Ho hum - another Sunday morning, another Fife paper mill :)

    Smith Anderson & Co had been making paper at it's Fettykill (or perhaps Fettykil) mill since 1859. From the start, the company specialised in paper bags and packaging - Charles Anderson himself invented an automated paper bag making machine.

    In 2006, the papermaking business went into receivership - the parent company still makes packaging, but they don't make thier own paper any more, so the Fettykill mill stands empty. It had been the only Scottish mill which used purely recycled paper - no virgin pulp.

    To start with, I was a bit worried that things had been all stripped out.



    There were some lovely old stone buildings, but all in a state of decay.





    Going further into the maze of interconnected buildings, there's some more signs of modern machinery.



    Then, turning a corner, bingo :)



    Two absolutely gigantic yankee dryer Fourndrinier paper machines. A yankee dryer machine uses one giant steam-heated roller to dry the paper instead of a series of small rollers.



    A closer look at a yankee dryer. This roller weighs 80-100 tons, and must be 20 feet in diameter. Apparently if they ever stop moving the bearings are destroyed, so these ones will need new bearings.



    Climbing right up to the top of one machine, you can look down onto the two Fourndrinier tables - the mesh has been removed.



    Looking the other way at the yankee dryer, you can see the big steam box that encloses it.



    Back down to the floor, for a look at the whole machine. I really liked this mill because the machines were in a big shed - you could see all of them at once. Other mills I've visited have the machines in very cramped sheds so it's hard to get an overall view like this.



    Along a bit to look at the table where mesh would have carried the pulp in the first stage.



    Onwards, and a wee stop-off in a samples store:



    A packaging section.



    And an external view.



    Next, and a rather convoluted way of getting into the old power plant. This is the top of the boilers, with the end of the conveyor that carried coal to the furnaces.



    A little bit further down, and a live control panel - though the power plant is no longer used, the substations are still live, running lighting and pumps.





    Down to the bottom floor, and some lovely old boilers.



    And a brilliant old control panel - with a Hopkinson gauge.



    Finally, a view along all three boilers.



    Loads more pictures, as usual, are in my FLickr set...

  2. Thanks given by: mealmarket, Nightowl194, risingdamp
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  4. #2
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    Great stuff! The paper industry in the UK is really on it's knees, and of course it's not just the mills themselves - I noticed that the Yankee Dryer (and probably a lot of the other stuff) was built by Beloit Walmsley. I grew up near their huge factory in Bolton and remember lots of massive loads being brought out when it was in full swing. I think they employed over a 1000 people in the 80's but it's now shut, except for the foundry which has been bought by an Italian company. Even that's less than 10 years old, which shows the rapid rate at which the industry has declined.

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    Interesting - and yes, it's depressing how much manufacturing infrastructure has been lost. The last picture I took was this one, of a Howden fan built just over the river from me in Glasgow:



    Howden are still in business, unusually, but the historic Scotland Street factory is derelict...

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    I was working on a Howden compressor today actually. A nice, thirty-ish year old machine.

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    One of their screw compressors?


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    Amazing ... I couldnt get in there before .... I think am gonn aneed to give it another go some time as its very close to me.

    My wife worked there when she left school, and distinctly remembers almost being electrocuted during one of the processed once before .... I dont think the H&S laws were as strict 20 years ago !!!

    Thanks for sharing ....
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenCooper View Post
    One of their screw compressors?

    Yup. Can't remember the model or anything though.
    Last edited by Conchords; 7th Oct 09 at 17:41.

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    I've got a picture somewhere of a bloke turning one of those blades on a lathe - pre-CNC, machined by hand from a solid billet. That must have been an absolute sod to do - a really skilled piece of work...

  11. #9
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    Default Paper Mill.


    Very nice pics, they bring back some happy memories.

    Quote Originally Posted by BenCooper View Post
    A closer look at a yankee dryer. This roller weighs 80-100 tons, and must be 20 feet in diameter. Apparently if they ever stop moving the bearings are destroyed, so these ones will need new bearings.
    ]
    They are OK stopped for long periods as long as there are no other machines running to vibrate the rollers whilst stationary (Causes fretting on the rollers/races).

    They were usually kept "crawling" and warm during short shutdowns to keep them from sagging.

    A real major job to change a bearing but lots of overtime.
    Last edited by Engineer; 9th Oct 09 at 01:55.

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    Interesting - you get the same effect (though on a much smaller scale) with bicycle headset bearings :)

    These machines are up for sale - stripping them apart is going to be an incredible job...

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