US paper mill avoids costly downtime with proactive alert from ABB

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A major paper mill in the United States uses ABB Ability™ Advanced Digital Services for proactive maintenance to avoid unscheduled downtime.


The customer wanted to:

  • Ensure quality for products that include food packaging
  • Accelerate problem-solving
  • Improve production uptime
  • Avoid costly downtime


The US mill invested in ABB Ability™ Performance Optimization for Quality Control Systems (QCS)  for early detection of performance issues. Performance Optimization for QCS provides a range of services that ensure high-availability of quality control systems, improve plant performance and proactively alert users about impending issues. This way, issues can be addressed before they become problems that affect quality or production.

The solution is a part of ABB’s Advanced Digital Services offering, which uses the ABB Ability™ platform to automatically collect and analyze data from industrial control systems to identify, categorize, and prioritize opportunities to extend asset life, improve process performance and mitigate risks.

ABB Ability™ Performance Optimization for QCS provides fast and accurate troubleshooting through real-time visualization and analysis of sensor stability, control utilization and process variability.

Customers can access information through three separate data views: 

View - Provides raw data for further analysis; 

Scan - Presents a summary of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) ranked by severity and criticality; and 

Track - Gives users the ability to set rules for KPIs and create customized displays of each occurrence that falls outside of set thresholds.  Any KPI that tracks outside pre-determined parameters triggers an instant alert sent via email to the customer or ABB service professionals.


With the instant data alerts provided by Performance Optimization for QCS, the mill immediately learned of and mitigated a problem that could have cost the company $100,000 in lost production.

Customers and ABB service professionals use Performance Optimization for QCS’s Track feature to set KPI parameters. KPIs that track outside pre-determined parameters trigger an instant alert. The large red bar in the Track data view shown above was a clear indication to an ABB service engineer that the thresholds set for moisture gain had been exceeded.

Main facts

Industry Pulp and Paper
Customer North American paper mill
  • The paper mill uses ABB Ability™ Performance Optimization for Quality Control Systems (QCS) for early detection of QCS performance issues.
  • The mill also uses ABB's ServicePro Service Management System to schedule and report maintenance activities, and to ensure fast access to parts information.
  • The Track feature of Performance Optimization for QCS  sends an instant alert, if any Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is outside the pre-determined parameters.
  • Continuing confidence in the ability to achieve optimum uptime
  • Increased product quality
  • Fewer repair emergencies
  • Reduced costs

As sensors age and degrade, reliable moisture readings crucial to producing high-quality paper become increasingly difficult to obtain. Performance Optimization for QCS data views can clearly show when equipment failure trends are increasing. The first graph above shows moisture gain for a sensor. The levels are satisfactory, but on the high end of the acceptable range. The second graph from six months later shows the rate the moisture gain is growing and indicates it is likely to reach a failure level in six more months.
An ABB service engineer received this email alert when preset moisture gain thresholds were exceeded. Thanks to the alert, the engineer could act immediately to mitigate equipment failure, and the mill could replace the sensor cost-effectively during planned downtime.

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