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Shasta Mill-Wide (LAN) Data Network

Paper Mill Home Page

In the early 1990s, the Shasta Mill began the process of installing computers in various operating areas throughout the mill complex and connecting them to a mill-wide data network.This was accomplished through the installation and use of an extensive multi-mode fiber optical cable network, with fiber going to every workstation in both the pulp mill and paper mill.

LIU fiber terminalcable label

The mill operation was ahead of its time, in the terms of information technology, as this was one of the very first applications in the entire north state, of utilizing a fiber optical data network in a large industrial based, commercial business environment. 10 base switch

Before the introduction of fiber, the mill network was originally a '10-base' system, using a 'thinax' or thin-net coaxial cable bus network configured topology. This early network supported the AS/400 IBM series operating platform at Shasta. The AS/400 mill server was originally connected as a node into the early Shasta Mill thinnet network and originally located in an office in the paper finishing department.

Prior to the mill's AS/400 server, there were two IBM System 36 operating system computers, one located in accounting and the other down in sheet finishing. The AS/400 server supported the mill's Operations Management Information System or OMIS for short.

Due to advances in both information technology and the introduction of a mill-wide fiber optic network, over time, the Shasta IT department went to a 100 base broadband network system. Right photo depicts a 100 base fiber switch. mill computer station

Left photo: Operator Ed L. inputting data into the computer at the No.1 backtender station on the mill's newly installed fiber optical network.

One major goal of this project was that sometime 'down the road' in the future, eventually all of these various computer workstations would be tied in and become part of the Corporate Business System Project strategy or vision, better known as 'BSP', which would connect the various mills together across the country.

Corporate Building

The system would permit the sales department to view where a client's order was at any given time. This project had been under development for quite some time. The development of BSP employed hundreds of talented individuals whom worked specifically on this project. Fiber Optic Cable

The MIS department's responsibility to the mill operation was to provide workstation computer assistance, network and software support for the entire mill operation.

As the corporate network was developed, IT equipment servers were relocated out into the new corporate MIS department server room (very top two photos on page), which was located in the newly constructed corporate service center building, just adjacent to the main paper mill complex and across the mill's railroad spur into the plant (upper right photo).

mill telco room

A diesel generator was also installed and located within the area between both mill and MIS.

This system could provide back-up emergency electricity for the MIS network services should the mill lose its primary energy service for whatever reason. Fiber IDF Terminal

Right photo depicts the old telco service board inside the main mill complex. Original T1 services and other early data transfer circuits were routed and terminated through this location. Standard mill-wide telephone service was also terminated and routed through this point.

paper log

High speed network communications were later rerouted out into the new corporate service center telecommunication room and associated network server rooms. These structures permitted the corporate MIS department additional space for future growth as well as the ability to provide support for the newly installed fiber optical network.

Another additional benefit of the newly installed, mill-wide computer network was that it aided in the development of control room data tracking logs, which replaced the control room paper logs used to record various operating values inputted by the operators on each shift.

Fiber Switches

The Shasta Pulp Mill operation was the first area of the plant to implement this application to switch over to electronic logs in an effort to both reduce costs and also have a better means of sharing information between various control rooms and the pulp office. Fiber Switches

Upper left photo depicts the pulp mill IDF communication room with a multi-mode fiber optical cable intermediate distribution cabinet installed vertically in a non-typical wall mounted configuration.

The left and right photos depict the front and back of a series of 100- base network switches: two pulp mill fiber optic network switches and one CAT 5 cable network switch mounted in a stacked configuration.Interduct Terminal

Right photo depicts the fiber optical cable interduct terminal box and various orange plastic interduct conduits which were located up along the pipe rack just outside the back of the pulp mill office.

network back board

The mill also installed Statistical Process Control (SPC) software during this period, with the pulp mill area being the first to track various processes throughout it's operating system.

The introduction of SPC at Shasta laid the groundwork for the mill to later become ISO 9002 quality certified. While the operation was laying the foundation to earn this highly respected quality standard, the goal was never achieved due to the mill's abrupt closing.

fiber patch panel

Just prior to when Simpson put the mill up for sale in 1997, the corporate BSP project was abruptly canceled, the result of which, many salary IT and other professional career staff losing their jobs.

Chances are, had the mill still been in operation today, the phone system would now be Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) with the mill's Ethernet data packets traveling at speeds exceeding 10 'gig' across it's fiber optical network.