Mar 18, 2021
Kemira Chemical Oy’s Äetsä and Joutseno manufacturing sites have been investing in better energy management. Goals included reducing energy purchasing costs, improving the company’s ability to participate in the electricity market and optimizing the production of bleaching chemicals.
As a result of the investment, these manufacturing sites will be able to more efficiently combine their electricity purchasing and production planning. Additionally, they can strengthen their possibilities to participate more actively in the electricity market. Valmet’s delivery consisted of the Valmet DNA Energy Management System to optimize production and the Valmet DNA information system for data storage, processing and reporting. The delivery was carried out in cooperation with Energy Opticon, Valmet’s Industrial Internet partner.
The Kemira Chemicals Oy sites in Äetsä and Joutseno manufacture sodium chlorate, which is the raw material for chlorine dioxide bleaching at pulp mills. As the production is energy-intensive, the electricity price plays a significant role in the profitability of the production. The final product is always manufactured according to customer specifications. Therefore, production is planned around the current conditions of the electricity market.
Project Manager Ilkka Palsola, Kemira Oyj, Oulu, confirms: “We negotiated the details of the deal thoroughly with Valmet’s experts. It is extremely time consuming to purchase electricity with the conventional, non-digital methods. We switched over to modern tools all at once. At the same time, we streamlined our processes and improved the flow of information.”
“We transferred our production planning and optimization to a digital world to take advantage of online process information in real time. Now, we are able to respond much faster to changes in our own production planning and the electricity market. This investment project provides us with a transparent view of the electricity purchasing process and enables us to achieve a balance between the production lines of the manufacturing sites. We are able to proactively plan with the application,” says Janne Tynninen, Joutseno Site Manager, Kemira Chemicals Oy.
Energy Manager Seppo Tuomisto Global Sourcing, Kemira Oyj, was involved in planning the electricity-related phases of the investment. He and his colleagues now use the Valmet DNA Energy Management System daily.
Seppo has now been monitoring the electricity purchasing process more intensively. He notes the nature of the job has changed: ”All relevant information about the purchasing and use of the electricity is in one place, and calculations are based on this information. Managing purchases is now basically just a matter of checking that all the information is correct. Earlier, calculations were done manually and collecting data took a considerable amount of time, especially when the situations changed.”
Seppo’s list of the most significant advantages includes: “All electricity purchasing phases can be carried out with the same tool, which is constantly being optimized with use. Capacity utilization and change management is now more all-encompassing. We save time when we’re able to eliminate the manual calculations.”
Ilkka also mentions that purchasing is more stable. Information is shared openly through the application. Janne adds, “The nature of our operations has become more transparent. The new application has brought a new rhythm to our work.”
The Valmet DNA Energy Management System is integrated both with the Valmet DNA automation system and the Valmet DNA information system. Operators in the control room use the automation system for their work. The DNA displays are a key tool at both manufacturing sites. Using a browser interface, the operators can monitor the situation from their offices.
In the past, communication between the manufacturing sites was handled mostly by email or phone. Now, the situation can be seen in real time from the operating displays. Optimizing the centralized production helps make operations more efficient. Operators can view production plans directly from the screens of the Valmet DNA automation system. The manufacturing sites’ actual capability to increase or decrease their power demand can be fully used in the electricity market.
Jyri Kaivosoja, one of the senior application managers from Valmet Automation, says: “Valmet DNA Energy Management System is a production optimization model tailored to the specific needs of Kemira Chemicals. Production optimization transparency has been achieved by modeling the production based on process measurements.”
Ilkka underlines: “Communication between the manufacturing sites has improved because the flow of information happens in real time.”
Kemira Chemicals Oy values the new tool. Ilkka points out: “We can transfer data faster with the use of just one tool. And an increase in calculation capacity is another positive result of the joint development work.”
The system delivery was partially a Valmet development project. This was the first time Valmet and Energy Opticon applied their production optimization system to an energy-intensive industry. Teemu Mannila from Valmet served as Project Manager and Jyri Kaivosoja worked as the lead designer. Due to the pandemic, Jyri also helped coordinate the factory testing remotely. The testing succeeded by dividing the tests into appropriate session lengths and careful monitoring. After the warranty period, the cooperation will continue as part of the service agreement framework.
Ilkka mentions: “There were challenges along the way. At the start, we described what we wanted. Valmet and Energy Opticon explained what they could do. After discussions, we reached an agreement. The original modeling proved to be too simplistic, so it needed to be fine-tuned to reach the level of calculation accuracy required. We all learned quite a bit during the project.”
Janne confirms that the investment was successful. All targets set for the project were achieved. “We have now switched to a new digital era. This has been a learning journey also for the production personnel who have learned more about the entire process. The investment has been profitable for Kemira Chemicals Oy. Now data management has a key role – and Jyri Kaivosoja from Valmet has been in a class of his own for this.”
Ilkka shares the same opinion about the project’s successful outcome. He continues: “We now have a consistent work environment and everything works in real time. Time is now spent much wiser. All in all, we are doing things better now in our business.”
Kemira Chemicals Oy has been satisfied with the results. And Valmet has continued to develop its intelligent energy solutions for areas that demand energy-intensive solutions.
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