When there’s a will there’s a way – Valmet’s Evaporation project team together with specialists from Ilim Group’s Bratsk mill found new ways to collaborate remotely during commissioning and start-up phase.
Valmet delivered a new Evaporation line to Ilim Group’s Bratsk mill located in Irkutsk Oblast in the middle of Siberia in Russia. The erection works were completed in spring 2020 and the start-up in early July 2020.
New Valmet Evaporation System at Ilim Group’s Bratsk mill (Russia)
During the spring, it was time to start the commissioning works, the global coronavirus pandemic threw a curveball to the team with borders closing and travel to the site becoming impossible.
“We had a Russian E&I advisor and a DCS expert onsite, but we needed to quickly find a way to support the customer to be able to supervise the commissioning and start-up phase. Through joint efforts together with the Ilim team, such a way was found,” tells Valmet’s Project Manager Sven Lennartsson.
Valmet set up a commissioning team located in Gothenburg, Sweden with a meeting room turned into a remote control room. As the mill is located in eastern Russia, just north of Mongolia, with a six hours’ time difference, the team worked initially from 2 a.m. to noon Swedish time, to be able to work at the same time with the customer. In June, to prepare for the start-up, the team moved to 24/7 remote support.
“During the commissioning phase we planned the steps and sent customer tasks for the coming few days, and the customers’ mill team did the work onsite. We had daily Teams meetings with the site, and the mill team reported back on what they had done. We received a lot of photos and videos from the site. Additionally, we had access to the DCS system to have access to the complete data of the mill. The last weeks before the start up we worked very intensively together. Once the hot commissioning started, we tested the equipment and finetuned it for the start-up. The remote connection to the DCS system was especially valuable in this phase,” tells Tommy Lundin, Valmet’s Commissioning Manager.
Bratsk remote support team in Gothenburg (on left) and team at the Ilim Bratsk mill (on right) worked seamlessly together.
“Being onsite is important, but this has actually worked quite well – much better than we expected. The key to successful cooperation has been the very skilled and professional mill team, and the possibility to get photos and videos from the site – and naturally a working internet connection,” the team explains – completing each other’s sentences.
“We were all committed to a successful outcome. We worked closely together with the Ilim team and had common goals for secure a successful start-up. The successful start-up was achieved with dedicated professionals on both sides, good communication and mutual trust,” Sven Lennartsson concludes.