Stora Enso Imatra Mills and Valmet celebrate their 50 years of cooperation in air system maintenance

Apr 15, 2024

The first agreement covering air system maintenance at Stora Enso’s Tainio Mill in Finland was signed in March 1974. The long-lasting and successful cooperation, which today covers Imatra Mills’ both units Tainionkoski and Kaukopää, was recently celebrated at the Tainionkoski Mill.

For 50 years, Valmet has maintained Tainionkoski Mill’s air systems including board machine ventilation and related equipment. The cornerstones of such a long-lasting agreement have been mutual trust and a development-oriented mindset.

“Agreements offer certain easiness for our customers – they can rely on Valmet’s expertise in technologies that they are not so familiar with. At Valmet, the cooperation with the Imatra Mills has been handled by our team in Inkeroinen, making it a close relationship also geographically and therefore enabling short response times when needed. Over the years, we have learned to communicate openly, leading to an easy-going partnership between us and the mills’ personnel,” says Kimmo Vehmas, Senior Mill Sales Manager at Valmet.

Jani Inkinen, Maintenance Director, Imatra Mills, comments:

We are thankful for the cooperation so far and are looking forward to continuing the strong partnership and utilizing Valmet’s expertise also in the future, as we feel it is an excellent basis for our maintenance operations,” he says. 

The successful operation was celebrated at the Tainionkoski mill in March. Pictured from left to right are Jani Inkinen, Jari Torvinen, Pekka Nuotio, Mika Saarinen, Kimmo Salmela and Rauno Päivinen from Stora Enso, and Timo Räsänen, Toni Wathen, Erkki Partanen and Kimmo Vehmas from Valmet.

Continuous development leads to good results

In addition to securing the good condition of the mill’s air systems, Valmet has supported the customer in developing the related equipment and the entire operational environment.

“The framework for the agreement has changed dramatically over the years. For example, energy was hardly an issue fifty years ago, but for the past decade, basically everything we do is related to improving the energy efficiency at the sites. The maintenance routines have of course been developed along the way to meet the changing requirements,” Kimmo says.

“I feel we have been able to build a mutually beneficial relationship with Stora Enso Imatra Mills over the years. The maintenance costs are being constantly compared to the air system’s performance, and the maintenance routines fine-tuned for an optimal balance between costs and quality. When the air system is performing at the expected level, the production runs smoothly with minimal energy consumption, and without unplanned breaks,” Kimmo says.

A special jersey was made to highlight the 50 years of cooperation. In the picture you can also see the first agreement signed in 1974 and the latest renewal from the beginning of 2024.

Life-cycle assessment is a tool for decision-making

As part of the agreement, Stora Enso Imatra Mills and Valmet prepared an extensive predictive maintenance plan for the mills’ current equipment a few years ago. A multi-year plan is a good tool for future annual shutdown planning. 

“The life-cycle assessment of the mills’ current equipment enables us to plan necessary maintenance operations well in advance for a smooth execution of annual shutdowns, but it also gives the customer the opportunity to divide the larger investments over a longer period. Considering both day-to-day maintenance and long-term development, I think this agreement is a win-win solution for both of us,” Kimmo says.