Mill Wide Optimization streamlines decision making (webinar)

Aug 31, 2021

Valmet has been delivering process optimizers, our Advanced Process Controls (APC) solutions, for over 30 years. During that time we have developed optimizers for all major process areas in pulp and paper which are currently delivering measurable and sustainable benefits to mills around the world:

  • for fiber lines
  • the recovery cycle
  • power boilers and energy management
  • and for pulp dryers and paper machines.

APC benefits cascade from one process area to another, but solutions for coordinating the actions between process areas toward high level objectives are uncommon. Valmet has been working on such solutions. We believe there is untapped potential if we can automate decision making at the mill level to coordinate process areas to work together on common objectives, such as increased production, reduced cost per ton and improved quality of the final product.

This process, called Mill Wide Optimization, was the subject of a webinar on Wednesday, September 8th. Click HERE to view this recorded webinar.

In the webinar, Greg Fralic, Valmet Senior APC Engineer and Optimization Expert described how Mill Wide Optimization can help address mill challenges such as:

  • managing pulp and liquor inventories
  • pushing production
  • planning shutdowns
  • determining chemical makeup requirements
  • stabilizing production during process interruptions
  • optimizing raw material usage and furnish blends
  • providing better tools for the operators of the future.

The tracking, monitoring and optimization applications include the Quality Tracker, Cost Tracker and Process Data Validator as well as Mill Quality Planner, Mill Production Planner and Grade Scheduler. Most of these are discussed in the webinar.

In the webinar excerpt below we briefly describe the Valmet Process Flowsheet Optimization which underpins the Mill Wide Optimization family of solutions.

Valmet Process Flowsheet Optimization

The technology behind Valmet’s mill wide optimization solutions is called process flowsheet optimization. The platform allows us to:

  • model the pulp and paper process as a flowsheet
  • embed process models into the flowsheet
  • track pulp and liquor components through the process
  • account for interactions between unit operations via process flows and storage levels
  • and account for process utilities such as fuel, electricity and steam.

Process Flowsheets are tested and tuned individually using baseline data.

Process Flowsheets are tested and tuned individually using baseline data.

The process flowsheet model is dynamic, accounting for the current and future state of the mill, and can handle discrete states of the process such as shutdowns, startups, and grade changes. The flowsheet models are converted into a set of equations that can be used for both simulation and optimization.

Process area flowsheets are combined to build mill flowsheet(s).

Process area flowsheets are combined to build mill flowsheet(s).

The mill flowsheet is tested offline, before putting it online to run in parallel with the physical process.

The models are programmed to update in real time to reflect the current state of the mill. This provides real time information and advice, as optimized process targets, to operators and production managers.

An identical model is run in planning mode to allow production managers to run what-if scenarios:

  • to plan for shutdowns and slowdowns
  • to change process targets and constraints
  • and to modify optimization objectives.

For more information on applying Valmet's Mill Wide Optimization to improve your mill's bottom line, watch the webinar and talk to your Valmet representative.