Better performance, step by step

Dec 19, 2014

The Hallsta mill is leading Holmen Paper’s shift towards becoming a specialty paper company. To support and speed up this development, Holmen Paper has signed a performance agreement with Valmet with the goal of improving the performance of Hallsta’s PM 11 paper machine, which produces highly calendered magazine paper.

“PM 11 has a production volume of about 300,000 tonnes a year. This year we have set up a tough budget which is not easy to reach, but this performance agreement is helping us move in the right direction,” says Per-Arne Andersson, the production manager of PM 11.

Per-Arne Andersson (left), Jukka Vuorio and Jenny Söderström emphasize the importance of training and teamwork in improving the performance of a production line.

Training is vital

The performance agreement began in March 2013 and lasted until September 2014. Hallsta and Valmet have now signed a new two-year agreement for improving the performance of both PM 11 and PM 12 production lines. The package includes a large number of different activities and steps.

“First, we performed speed tests to locate bottlenecks and identify focus issues. Experts in several sections have tried to improve everything in the machine and get an idea of what we should do to perform better. We have been working on everything. However, the most important thing is the commitment of the operators and the improvements we make together to run the machine in the best possible way,” Andersson emphasizes.

The project also includes a lot of training. Because of big changes at the mill, half of the personnel working on PM 11 are new.

“The skills of the personnel have been one big step towards improvement. It has been vital to develop new practices for running the machine in the best possible way and in a similar way during all shifts. This includes runnability, cleaning, making felt changes, and improving just about everything. It’s a lot of small steps, really. We try to run faster and make things a bit better every time.”

Maintenance is also an essential part of the development project. Many maintenance issues and discussions have emerged during the one and a half years of the agreement.

“The machine needs to be up and running all the time, so it’s important to have certain standard routines and a long-term commitment to improvement. We haven’t made any huge investments in new technology in the course of this project. We are trying to improve our expertise and performance with the equipment we already have, and we are on the right track now,” Andersson believes.

Two companies, one team

Why did Holmen choose Valmet as its partner in the performance agreement?

“We needed someone who could combine all the challenges we have to improve our production. Valmet is a big company with many different skills. We wanted to bring the best parts of that to PM 11 and to develop the optimal way of using the machine,” states Andersson.

In an 18-month project, continuity is of the highest importance, so Hallsta chose to have an expert from Valmet present at PM 11 throughout the agreement period. That person turned out to be paper technology specialist Jukka Vuorio.

During an 18-month development project, Valmet’s paper technology specialist Jukka Vuorio has become very familiar with the characteristics and details of Holmen Hallsta’s PM 11.

“We needed a person who can see the big picture, not just his own products. Jukka’s skills, experience and personality combined with our day shift and the motivated operators our first line manager Jenny Söderström is managing has proved to be a very good combination,” Andersson explains.

Jenny Söderström agrees: “Although we are developing the performance of a machine, this also involves working with people. One of the benefits of having Jukka here is his ability to see what we should focus on, and then suggest the best way to make that change happen. Jukka has built a lot of trust around him as a person. We don’t consider him to be a part of some other organization – he is part of our team.”

Jukka Vuorio is quick to give credit to the whole Holmen Hallsta team for their strong commitment to improving the performance of PM 11.

“All the improvements we have made have been done together. The people at Holmen Hallsta have been working very hard on the many aspects of the PM 11 development process. The operators are committed to developing the machine – they come up with good ideas, and we try to put them into practice by utilizing Valmet’s and Hallsta’s expertise in the most effective way we can. This really is a team effort, no matter which company is paying your wages,” Vuorio points out.

Aiming for a win-win situation

Per-Arne Andersson is satisfied with the work Valmet has been doing at the PM 11 project.

“We have already improved the performance of PM 11. The operators are getting more skilled at running the machine in a more productive way, and there hasn’t been any major damage to the machine in a year,” Andersson notes.

“Our goal is to increase the production of PM 11. It is a shared target for both Holmen and Valmet. If we get there, both sides win.”

Hallsta Paper Mill facts

Holmen Paper’s Hallsta paper mill, in Hallstavik near Stockholm, produces machine finished (MF) magazine paper and book paper. The focus at the mill is on 100% virgin fiber.

Raw material: Spruce pulpwood Pulp: TMP Products: MF-Magazine and book paper

Brand names: Holmen VIEWHolmen TRNDHolmen XLNTHolmen BOOKHolmen PLUS 

Total production capacity: 525,000 tonnes/year

Production capacity of PM 11: 330,000 tonnes/year Employees: 400


Performance agreement in brief

Valmet's performance agreement is a mill-wide development program aimed at perfecting the customer's entire production line. It is a tool for achieving better production, improving efficiency and end product quality, developing maintenance, and reducing costs.

The performance agreement is based on Valmet's ability to serve as a full-scope supplier, offering tailor-made solutions for any kind of need. However, it is also a cooperation process in which both Valmet and the customer are committed to achieving common goals. Every agreement is tailored to match the customer’s targets and situation.

The performance agreement brings long-term improvements to the customer’s production line.