2/3 Digitalization in pulp & paper - Optimizing processes based on valve performance data

Digitalization is all about information; collecting it, compiling it, interpreting it, and ultimately using it. In the production of bioproducts such as pulp, paper and other products with biomass-based origins, the process is full of valuable information. Considerable benefits can be gained by utilizing all this available process and valve asset data efficiently. Once you have a clear picture of your valve installed base, it’s time to concentrate on how it is performing.

The modern pulp & paper production process is becoming increasingly intelligent. Many of the devices in the process, including our smart control valves, hold a lot of performance and condition data. It is worth listening to your valves carefully. With Neles' Expertune PlantTriage tool all this silent information can be gathered into one place and analysed. This analysis enables you to optimize your process to work in the most safe, efficient and profitable way possible with the existing resources.

The Valmet PlantTriage software is designed to keep an active eye on your process 24/7, addressing and alerting you to any issues requiring your attention. Utilizing process information to stabilize and optimize processes can help create savings and even improve profitability. Minimizing process variation can help increase relevant production, improve energy efficiency and even help boost the quality of both your process and the end product.

Sometimes the achievable improvements may seem small or insignificant – 1% here and there. But paying attention to these small details can help achieve gains across the entire process; Improvements in process efficiency, raw material efficiency, energy consumption and water consumption to name just a few. A one percent reduction in the duration of a complete plant shutdown for example, is already economically a major saving. More often than not, the accumulating one percent improvements can end up delivering considerable economic benefits. That’s why the details matter.

Let’s use a hypothetical example to illustrate this point. If a corporation had three pulp mills, with a combined production output of 2,4 million tonnes per year, your sales might equal approximately 1,8 billion euros. By adjusting and optimizing your operating model utilizing the tools and information provided by digitalization, you could increase overall production by 1%. This in terms of added sales volume would add up to 18 million euros each year. For many, this one percent is an attractive proposition and worth taking steps towards.

It is also worth remembering that with the strong emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and cloud-based services and platforms, data-driven solutions and operating models are no longer restricted to individual and isolated processes. Organization-wide information sharing through unified ERP solutions for example can help enable improving efficiency on a much wider scale inside your entire organization.

The information you need for better performance is all there. We have the expertise, experience and technology to help you take this information and utilize it to your benefit. By utilizing the digital tools at our disposal, together we can continue at the forefront of developing smart valve solutions for the rapidly evolving pulp & paper industry where digitalization is becoming increasingly important for maintaining and improving competitiveness. 

One percent may sound like a lot. Through optimization, these 1% improvements can be achieved all over your process.

Text by Ilpo Miettinen

Text originally published in 2018, and slightly updated in April 2022, due to the company name change to Valmet.

Related posts:
Part 1: Digitalization in pulp & paper - Streamlined management of installed base data

Part 3: Digitalization in pulp & paper - Network your way to better business