Blog #2 Joshua Kranabetter

June 25, 2019 2:43 pm Published by 1 Comment

A lot has happened in the last two weeks. With the shutdown of the Armstrong mill I was temporarily relocated to the Lavington division, Tolko’s ground zero mill that has been operational for over 60 years. It’s fascinating to see how different the layout and processes are between mill sites. Older mills are particularly interesting in that the arrangement is a representation of the original design, its evolution, and what products the mill specializes in. Among first impression these entities seem to rival the complexity of the human circulatory system, but familiarization is quick when you pay attention to lumber flow.

I have been working on implementing technologies that improve the flow of lumber while decreasing lumber pile-ups to keep the throughput high and the operators happy. I also laid the groundwork for a VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) upgrade. For those of you unfamiliar, a VFD is a type of motor controller that drives an electric motor by varying the frequency and voltage supplied to the motor. Its out with the single speed conveyors where the speed is determined by a gear ratio, and in with VFD’s where we can control the motors speed with frequency in hertz. Ahh the magnificence of a digital age.

car on road

Figure 1 – The commuter!

As a habitant of Kelowna who holds a job in Armstrong (two cities separated by about 70 kilometers), I have become somewhat of an expert in the highly specialized, and widely loathed field of commuting. Therefore, I have decided to assemble a list of commuting tips.

  1. Don’t neglect the tank.

In BC, things can get rural real quick. If you don’t know exactly where the next gas station is, its best to be prepared.

Furthermore, fully emptying the fuel tank deprives the fuel pump of its cooling (most cars have an in-tank fuel pump). By keeping your fuel level over around 1/8 tank you can prevent overheating and prolong the life of your fuel pump.

  1. Function over form.

Yes, I sold my BMW for an ever economically superior Honda Fit. Yes, I miss the leg room in my BMW. Yes, the Fit embodies the essence of ‘nerd’, but at 36 MPG whose laughing now? Alright, maybe still you, but I will have you know that the Honda Fit boasts a lane change time faster than a corvette Z06!

What I’m trying to say here is that when your putting on the kind of mileage that I am (150km/day), you can save a heap of money by driving something economical.

  1. Bring water.It’s 2019, everybody knows they’re not drinking enough water. Have your reusable water bottle filled and ready to go before departing.
  2. BCAA is a must.Speaking from experience here, I’d recommend the “plus” plan, it includes free towing under 150km and is only 3 dollars extra per month!


  1. Check your tire pressures.


You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3% by having properly inflated tires. Check your user manual or online for your vehicles tire pressures.


  1. Adjust your route for traffic.


I was able to shave off 20 minutes of my home commute by avoiding major city centers. Try doing a little experimenting with google maps and remember to set your departure time so it adjusts your route for traffic!


  1. Stay stress free.


I find podcasts and audiobooks are a great way to keep the brain engaged while combating stress and boredom.


Thanks, and tune in again next time!

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