Published Jan 18, 2017

Significant annual savings expected with PlantTriage software system

Mondi Syktyvkar plant has become the first Russian pulp and paper enterprise to implement the Metso Expertune PlantTriage software system, which will ensure a significant reduction in the consumption of chemicals and the rapid identification of production bottlenecks.

Mondi Syktyvkar is one of the global leaders in the pulp and paper industry, and is the largest producer of paper products in Russia. The company specializes in the manufacturing of office and offset paper, newsprint and top-liner cardboard.

Stable pulp production depends on the proper configuration of the control circuits. Having installed a large number of shutoff and control valves in a major investment project, Mondi Syktyvkar reevaluated its approach to performing status analyses of its field equipment and control system.

“Our paper mill is a continuously evolving business. In 1969, the first Kamyr-type boilers were launched in the plant’s boiler and bleaching house and, in 2009, we implemented the STEP project – the largest investment project to occur in our country’s pulp and paper industry during the past 30 years,” said Yury Isaev, Head of the Central Service for Automation and Metrology (CSAM) at the Syktyvkar Plant of the Mondi Group.

“The project involved a total production upgrade, and the introduction of this big of a scope of control loops required another approach to the equipment and control system operation analysis. To get good visibility and to make sure this equipment operates properly, we decided to implement PlantTriage,” Yury Isaev concluded.

PlantTriage is an auditing system that enables the evaluation and improvement of the plant’s performance. In Europe and the U.S., the use of this software is already widespread, but this project represents the first time such a system has been implemented at a pulp and paper enterprise in Russia.

Increasing performance

The STEP reconstruction and development project was a significant milestone, not only in terms of the history of the plant, but also for the pulp and paper industry in the country as a whole. The choice to implement the project at the Syktyvkar site was quite natural, since the management team at the plant had been making continuous efforts to optimize the plant’s production processes and to upgrade its facilities for more than half a century. It is these measures that will provide the enterprise with the much-needed competitive advantage of a high-quality final product, and subsequent high demand in the market.

The introduction of new equipment not only enabled higher productivity, but also posed new challenges for the plant operations in terms of process controls.

Large-scale valve replacements are a highly comply technical procedure, and require a rapid and accurate adjustment of all control circuits. The correct circuit settings ensure a stable production process with minimum actuator wear. Therefore, when the STEP project was implemented, the application of a new approach to the equipment status analyses was required. Metso specialists offered the management of the Syktyvkar Plant the opportunity to install the PlantTriage software package, which would reduce operating costs and increase the plant’s performance through the timely elimination of bottlenecks.

“We first saw this product at a presentation delivered to our parent company. Following a thorough deliberation by our management team, we decided to implement this software at our plant,” Yury Isaev recalled.

“One of the specific features of this project is that it is the first time that a software package has been implemented not only at Mondi Syktyvkar, but throughout the whole Mondi Group,” agreed Dmitry Fedoseev, the Deputy Head of CSAM.

Three stages of software implementation

When the Syktyvkar Plant launched the project to optimize its production facilities it was very important to correctly identify the targets for the key performance indicators, in order to assess the results.

“Prior to any of the implementation activities, Metso experts visited us and collected data about the state of our management system and the control circuits. This data was then used to perform an analysis of all the bottlenecks that might be minimized or eliminated by the PlantTriage system,” continued Dmitry Fedoseev.

The implementation of the software system was divided into three stages: installation of the platform; system deployment services; and the subsequent continuous improvement of the incoming data analysis.

“First, we collected technical data, with the software system operating in a listening mode to temporarily monitor all of the plant operations and processes. Then we analyzed that data,” explained Oleg Eremenko, Director of Field Equipment at Metso, on the process to implement the software system.

At the system deployment stage, Metso specialists conducted training activities for the employees who would be working with the software. This led to the formation of a specialist group. The group’s scope of expertise covered the entire production process, monitoring the operation of all field equipment, and APCS (Automatic Process Control System) specialists who were engaged in the adjustment of the control circuits and in software modifications.

“Our expert team is supervised by a process engineer who performs the data analysis and, when required, circuit adjustments are conducted jointly with the workshop specialists and APCS engineers. Naturally, all of this work is conducted in cooperation with Metso. We have a special system that enables remote operations to be performed both by Metso specialists and by our on-site personnel. This ensures the complete maintenance of our entire service history,” Dmitry Fedoseev added.

“We constantly communicate with Metso experts. Metso tailored everything to meet our needs as a Russian customer. The PlantTriage system is now used even by our leading workers and foremen,” said the Head of CSAM at the Syktyvkar Plant.

Indeed, extensive consultations and knowledge sharing between the experts have helped the plant management to improve the efficiency of its production processes. This was possible due to the timely detection of necessary maintenance or the replacement of critical components, the optimization of the management system and the establishment of main process interaction tasks. As a result, the stability of all processes has increased, which in turn has improved the quality of the products while reducing overall costs and increasing productivity.

Efficient production process

Occasionally, the requirements that are applied to the raw materials and final products are changed; therefore, constant supervision over the plant operations enables significant gains in efficiency. The rapid identification of the main causes of process disruptions reduces the response time to unplanned actuator failures and ensures the streamlining of the entire maintenance process.

“This very powerful tool enables us to discover any problem by prompting us 24 hours a day where a failure can occur and showing us the source of operational upsets. The third generation of equipment changes has already been made,” noted Yury Isaev.

“Indeed, thanks to the use of PlantTriage, the plant has already identified and removed a number of bottlenecks in the production process. As a result, several valves have been repaired or replaced, and certain modifications have been made to control configurations and loop settings,” a Metso expert added.

Stable quality pulp output with minimal use of chemicals

Prior to the implementation of PlantTriage, an Advanced Process Control (APC) quality system was also introduced at the Syktyvkar Plant. This is a top-level system that receives data from the analyzers and the other in-shop devices. Using a modeling and predictive control process, the system identifies the indicators that should be implemented through the APC system, i.e., at a lower level, the steps that should be taken to ensure the best product quality at the lowest cost of the chemicals and other resources.

“Our priority is a stable-quality pulp output while minimizing bleaching agents such as chlorine dioxide. One of the specific and most complex features of the PlantTriage system is that its results cannot be easily demonstrated. However, the efficiency of the system is manifested through the improvement of the operation of the APC system,” Dmitry Fedoseev commented on the roles of the two systems.

When properly configured, the control circuits should have reduced vibrations and standard deviations. In turn, the stable operation of the circuits results in a smoother workflow and facilitates the dosing of chemicals to achieve the desired output. In addition, PlantTriage detects any circuit failures or automatic circuit operation faults. This happens, for example, in the case of the improper sizing of a valve or pipeline. The data obtained is also used to generate schedules for monthly preventive repairs, overhauls and equipment replacements.

“Reduction of standard deviation of brightness from 0.7 to 0.3 in the softwood pulp production led to substantial annual savings of chemicals.,” commented Oleg Eremenko on the results of the system implementation.

“All of this is oriented to our customers, and enables us to work better, at higher production levels, and with higher quality”, Yury Isaev concluded.

About STEP

The €545 million upgrade of the production facilities in Syktyvkar, Russia, was the largest investment project in the company’s history. Furthermore, it is the most extensive modernization project to have been undertaken in the Russian pulp and paper industry in the last three decades. The works focused on enhancing product quality and production capacity while improving internal efficiency. Now serving as a model of a modern integrated pulp and paper mill, Mondi Syktyvkar combines state-of-the-art production technology with strict safety and environmental standards. Among the areas to benefit from the investment were the wood yard, which now has an annual capacity of 4 million m3 of wood, and the complete modernization of the pulp processing and production machinery for office and offset paper as well as containerboard. Annual pulp and paper production capacity has been increased by more than 20 percent, to 900,000 tonnes of pulp and over 1 million tonnes of market pulp and paper. At the same time, the latest environmental technologies have substantially reduced emissions and raw material consumption.

About Mondi

At Mondi, products protect and preserve the things that matter.

Mondi is an international packaging and paper Group, employing around 25,000 people across more than 30 countries. Key operations are located in central Europe, Russia, North America and South Africa. The company offers over 100 packaging and paper products, customized into more than 100,000 different solutions for customers, end consumers and industrial end uses - touching the lives of millions of people every day. In 2015, Mondi had revenues of €6.8 billion and a return on capital employed of 20.5%.

The Mondi Group is fully integrated across the packaging and paper value chain - from managing forests and producing pulp, paper and compound plastics, to developing effective and innovative industrial and consumer packaging solutions. Mondi's innovative technologies and products can be found in a variety of applications including hygiene components, stand-up pouches, super-strong cement bags, clever retail boxes and office paper. The company's key customers are in industries such as automotive; building and construction; chemicals; food and beverage; home and personal care; medical and pharmaceutical; packaging and paper converting; pet care; and office and professional printing.

Mondi has a dual listed company structure, with a primary listing on the JSE Limited for Mondi Limited under the ticker code MND and a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange for Mondi plc, under the ticker code MNDI.

For Mondi, acting sustainably makes good business sense and is part of the way the company works every day. Mondi has been included in the FTSE4Good Index Series since 2008 and the JSE's Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index since 2007.

Latest videos

Related products