Vapo’s Heat and Power business area has focused the operation of its energy production plants and other heating plants into one centralized control room in Tikkurila, Finland. From the control room, there is a connection to all the provinces. The centralized control room has been realized with Valmet’s automation.
Vapo produces electricity, district heat and steam not only in Finland, but also in Sweden and in the Baltic countries. The company has made impressive business decisions and has challenged the traditional energy sector. Vapo’s Heat and Power business area is a forerunner in the digitalization and remote control of energy production.
The six Vapo power plants in different locations in Finland have Valmet DNA automation system as their process control. All of these plants have a local operation station with a remote connection to the centralized control room in Tikkurila in the metropolitan area. Every power plant has a redundant connection to secure functionality and security. In addition, several district heating plants are linked to the control room.
Predictability and efficiency for the process
Ville Koikkalainen, head of the centralized control room, is responsible for the operations of the impressive centralized control room in Tikkurila. “Valmet is an important partner for us. We utilize the Valmet DNA automation system as the main platform for our centralized control room. Additionally, the wide energy expertise we possess ourselves then complements the system,” he explains.
Vapo offers remote control services for power plants and is able to create concrete benefits for its customers. Ville Koikkalainen states: “Through the automation, digitalization and our remote services, our customers will achieve more predictability that leads to greater cost effectiveness in their own businesses. The power plants no longer need a costly three-shift crew, even though staff still has day-shift duty as well as rotating duty responsibilities at other times, if necessary.”
Caption: Markus Hassinen (left) and Ville Koikkalainen in Vapo's Tikkurila office.
Vapo’s Business Director Markus Hassinen is satisfied with the breakthrough in remote services for power plants: “Nowhere else in the world are there as many power and heating plants with solid fuel connected to remote services.” According to him, the change in the business model has been created together with their customers.
Experts keep the centralized control room running
The Valmet DNA automation system is scalable, fitting perfectly for many project executions from small-scope to large plant-wide installations. The architecture of the system allows easy upgradeability and customization. Valmet DNA suits well, for example, for the control of decentralized systems. In Vapo’s case, every plant has its own subsystem. Still, a single operator in the centralized control room is able to run all of them remotely. The alarms from the different plants are collected into a uniform alarm list, enabling the operator to follow them easily.
Caption: Jussi-Pekka Laamanen from Valmet (behind) and Lauri Laaksonen from Vapo in the centralized control room.
"I believe that we have the most educated operating personnel anywhere,” remarks Ville Koikkalainen. He continues: “The whole process is automated and the automation keeps it running. Thanks to this, our experts of the combustion process in the energy sector, for example, can then run the process 24/7 as energy efficiently as possible.”
“Valmet DNA is a good choice for a power plant of this size,” confirms Ville Koikkalainen. The control room is highly automated, and Vapo’s own experts have mastered the know-how needed to run the process so that everybody works in a coherent way. The main business driver is to serve the customers – the heat has to be delivered when it is needed.
With Valmet’s automation, the decentralized automation systems can be efficiently operated. When needed, the local Valmet experts can be engaged if short response times are required to handle critical situations.
Industrial Internet to connect plants and people
All the possibilities of the Industrial Internet can be used to collect data for the energy production services. Then, the resulting big data can be analyzed, compared and utilized. In the end, the data is processed into valuable information used for making business decisions. This, in turn, then also benefits the customers.
Caption: Lauri Laaksonen, Jussi-Pekka Laamanen and Ville Koikkalainen in good co-operation.
Vapo’s target is to control its energy production process as well as possible with its experts and Valmet’s automation.
For more information:
jarmo.a.partanen at valmet.com