The Covid-19 pandemic introduced a new scenario in planning the shutdowns of the CPMC Guaíba mill and the Suzano Imperatriz pulp mill in Brazil. However, both projects were successes, with on-site services efficiently supported by remote tools.
In July 2020, Valmet participated in the maintenance shutdown of the CMPC Guaíba mill in Brazil. It was the first shutdown during the Covid-19 pandemic and required new ways of working to be sought while maintaining high service quality, because the pandemic set many restrictions to traditional service methods. Valmet took responsibility for the shutdown planning and execution for the digester, bleaching and dryer sections.
Although remote tools and connections had been used before, the situation called for their utilization even more widely. The use of augmented reality (AR) smart glasses proved especially safe and convenient by connecting on-site field service technicians with other Valmet experts from the office and their homes. The AR glasses assisted the field service technicians during the maintenance, because the equipment enabled a detailed analysis by other Valmet experts without their physical presence on site.
Mauricio Harger, General Director of CMPC, says he fully supports this new way to serve. It makes more sense nowadays, because it avoids time-consuming long-distance journeys and production downtime. He also mentions that new service proposals should be discussed based on these new service methods. “The glasses were an excellent tool. We had the assistance of Valmet experts in real time, without them leaving their homes. On the same day, a technician provided remote support for the CMPC unit in Guaíba and another unit in Santa Fé, Chile. This was only possible because of the remote solutions.”
During October 2020, more than 50 Valmet employees participated in the shutdown of the Suzano Imperatriz pulp mill. Valmet offered technical assistance services in the field with remote support through AR smart glasses, a remote collaboration application, the Valmet Performance Center and drones.
“We used all the technological resources at our disposal, including a connection to Valmet Performance Center. By ‘putting our engineering inside the equipment’ through a connection with our field services expert wearing augmented reality glasses, our workshop specialists supported roll inspections using a remote collaboration application. The final recovery boiler inspection was performed using drones, and safety walkthroughs were performed by a combination of on-site managers and managers at home. All these tools allowed us to be close to the customer, even from a distance,” explains Fausto Pires, Valmet’s Technical Assistance Manager.
All the tools allowed us to be close to the customer, even from a distance.
Many important areas of the factory were within the service scope, including the recovery boiler, where smelt extraction was performed, equipment washing and the supervision of maintenance services; mechanical inspection and process audit in Evaporation; the internal inspection of the ImpBin digester and the supervision of the cooking system; the inspection of presses on the fiberline; the supervision and execution of the roll change service and drying machine lip box change; and the roll maintenance service.
The industrial executive manager of Suzano Imperatriz, José Ventura, points out that remote tools are already part of the company’s daily routine. “The pandemic further accelerated the digitization of various media, and from now on, we’ll increasingly have access to these services. All the solutions Valmet brought to the shutdown added to our knowledge, providing excellent results,” he says.
“The Suzano Imperatriz shutdown made it possible to introduce the ‘Valmet Way to Serve.’ We’re prepared to serve our customers remotely with the usual high quality and with an even greater scope, because we can easily connect with our experts from around the world,” Pires concludes.
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