The people behind OptiConcept M

Samppa SalminenSamppa J Salminen, Manager, Product Technology, finds inspiration for his work through sailing.

Flagship concept

“We set out on a journey of change after seeing the global changes that were taking place around us,” says Jyrki Huovila, General Manager, Technology, of Valmet’s Paper business line. OptiConcept M is the answer to those global changes. Huovila’s role in the project was to support the team by clarifying the project goals. He acknowledges the fine work done by the dedicated and competent team members that kept their eyes fixed firmly on the goals, and met them. “These professionals really excelled themselves,” he says. According to Huovila, the team’s confidence in the concept and in its value for customers was a key driver behind the development of OptiConcept M. A production line comprised of modules, such as in OptiConcept M, makes it possible to streamline the entire supply chain. All important functions – sales, engineering, manufacturing and project management – can now support the modular approach to designing, building and operating a paper machine. Huovila is proud of the team members for their willingness to contribute wholeheartedly to the new approach. The team’s aim was to maximize the measures that promote cost efficiency, flawless operation and high quality. “We wanted to implement change, instead of being merely an object of change. We were open-minded in all our activities,” says Huovila. Huovila predicts that OptiConcept M will be the concept behind many of Valmet’s future papermaking lines. “I think that, over time, this will become a significant choice for our customers, because this combines the most profitable and cost-effective solutions,” he says.

 

Juha Kivimaa   Susan Deng   Antti Leinonen
“Our customers no longer focus only on the moment of investment, but on the operating costs that accumulate over time,” says Juha Kivimaa, General Manager of Technology, Sales.   “OptiConcept M means savings in project costs, short delivery times, quick start-up, high productivity and low risks,” says Project Manager Susan Deng.   “We’ve had to learn new working methods that will benefit us in the future – not only in further developing OptiConcept M, but in everything we do,” says Antti
Leinonen, General Manager of Forming Section Engineering.

 

Seeing the big picture

Teemu Turunen, Senior Development Engineer, agrees fully on the potential of OptiConcept M, and on the significance of the team’s commitment and hard work. Turunen’s role in the project was to analyze measurements and utilize the results in improving energy efficiency. The OptiConcept M project also opened up new perspectives for him. Theory many times differs from practice. Turunen stresses the importance for engineering of seeing the big picture. A modular machine cannot be energy-efficient if the big picture is neglected. “Energy efficiency is achieved if all the surrounding processes and systems, including the machine controls, are taken into account. It requires holistic and out-of-the-box thinking,” he says.

Mikko Karioja   Jyrki Huovila
“We’re not offering equipment only, but services and solutions to support our customers’ businesses,” says Mikko Karioja, Manager of Paper Machine Solutions.   “We wanted to implement change, instead of being merelyan object of change,” says Jyrki Huovila, General Manager, Technology.

 

We all pulled in the same direction

Samppa J Salminen, Manager of the OptiConcept M product development project, draws attention to the importance of uniform engineering. The product development department was tasked with creating a paper machine that would be optimal for end users. The work started almost from scratch. Salminen points out that shared confidence in the new concept created a strong basis for good engineering. “We boarded this boat called “Team Spirit” and pointed it towards the same destination. We were motivated and we are eager to see the implementation of the first OptiConcept M,” he says. To Salminen, the future looks bright. In his opinion, the meticulously designed OptiConcept M stands out positively from other paper machine concepts.

Long-term considerations

“We’ve considered everything, from top to bottom. We started building this concept on the basis of the process and especially of customer needs. This kind of simple, well-functioning concept is the future,” says Juha Kivimaa, General Manager of Technology, Sales. According to Kivimaa, OptiConcept M has been designed as an economical investment for customers by optimizing all dimensions, for example. There are no unnecessary elements – only essential ones. He agrees with Teemu Turunen that the concept promotes energy efficiency. “For customers, it’s important to consider the long-term future. Customers no longer focus only on the moment of investment, but on the operating costs that accumulate over time,” he says. Kivimaa has worked with the project as a sales representative, and has observed all activities from sales to launch. “Our innovative, but thorough, approach should encourage customers to use our modular solutions with proven technologies. The mission of sales is to assure them that this is a safe route to take,” says Kivimaa. From experience, he knows that both the customers and the personnel must be convinced of the advantages of a new line. Seeking the customer’s financial benefit through more economical and productive machines is not enough. “We must remember the core idea behind everything – the ability to produce as much high-quality paper or board as possible,” says Kivimaa.

New solutions backed by experience

The search for new, cost-efficient solutions has meant that traditional engineering skills have had to be applied to new fields. “In addition to seeking new technical solutions, we’ve also had to learn new working methods that will benefit us in the future – not only in further developing OptiConcept M, but in everything we do,” says Antti Leinonen, General Manager of Forming Section Engineering. Leinonen is globally responsible for forming section concepts, and his role in the project was often to provide both criticism and guidance, based on his 20 years of experience. “Together with the product managers and engineers, we’ve learned from the past. We’ve also taken new paths with respect to dimensioning, but have continuously limited and minimized the potential risks. Our goal has been to achieve a good compromise,” he says. According to Leinonen, the new approaches and plans to minimize risks have required persistence and commitment to the future. For good reason, he is proud of his team and all those who contributed to the project. “This has been achieved by the hard work of dedicated people who have had the energy to devote 100% to project implementation,” says Leinonen.

Understanding customer needs

Like Leinonen, Mikko Karioja, Manager of Paper Machine Solutions, acknowledges the tireless work of all the project team members. The outcome of the project is only the tip of the iceberg compared with the major effort behind it. Karioja was responsible for developing the service offering for OptiConcept M. Understanding customer needs has been the foundation of the project, and the whole organization has stood behind this core principle. “One of the key goals was to create a concept that will best serve our customers’ varying needs throughout the production line lifecycle,” he says. “We’re not offering equipment only, but services and solutions to support our customers’ businesses.” Karioja sees a positive future for OptiConcept M. “We need to keep a close watch on changes, but OptiConcept M will surely find its place. It’s the road we must follow in the future, too.”

Dedication to project management

“OptiConcept M means savings in project costs, short delivery times, quick startup, high productivity and low risks,” says Project Manager Susan Deng, who offers project management services for modular paper or board line investments by Chinese customers, in particular. “For each project, Valmet appoints one dedicated contact person who is backed up by numerous specialists in different fields. In addition to supporting the project manager, these professionals are, above all, working for the benefit of the customer and the shared project,” says Deng. One of the most pleasant aspects of Deng’s job is noticing the fruits of cooperation with customers. “The most rewarding thing for me is to see a happy ending of the project, and to achieve a win-win situation for both Valmet and the customer.”