USA paper mill maximizes their automation investment with ABB services


Service tools cut time needed to identify and address equipment issues by 55%


Over 30 years, a large paper mill located in the United States has worked closely with ABB to continually optimize automation equipment performance and, as a result, increase productivity, maximize uptime and raise product quality.

The paper mill produces more than 400,000 tons per year of specialty papers on four paper machines. The mill also has a woodyard, a bleached kraft pulp mill with eight batch digesters, four boilers, a coater and converting operations.

ABB equipment

As the product mix diversified and printing and converting equipment evolved, so did the need for more consistent quality. Variability reduction is an important part of the mill‘s continuous improvement. Three of the four paper machines had ABB Quality Control Systems (QCS) installed. ABB supported the mill with several weeks of optimization services, including a Paper Machine Fingerprint assessment on a paper machine in 2009. In 2010, ABB won the order to replace the machine's QCS with an ABB system. The paper mill chose an ABB 800xA QCS that included two ABB Network 1200 scanning platforms, one at the size press and one at the reel. The mill selected the ABB QCS system for improved caliper measurement and control.

Main facts

Industry Pulp and Paper
Customer Paper mill
Country USA
  • Reduced on-call maintenance and increased customer satisfaction.
  • Continued confidence in the mill’s ability to achieve optimum uptime and productivity
  • Customized plan for performing automation maintenance
  • Improved efficiency and time savings
  • Increased opportunity for engineers to provide value-added services

ABB service

In 2010, the service contract included one ABB resident engineer. In 2012, based on performance and on the fact that all the mill’s paper machines now have ABB QCS, the mill signed a five-person resident service agreement with ABB to provide maintenance, tuning, and optimization on the systems. The service agreement was renewed in 2015 due to the ability of ABB to demonstrate how its resident engineers exceeded the original contract scope and provided higher customer value by using the ABB ServicePro Service Management System to schedule and track all maintenance activities.

The long-term relationship between the paper mill and ABB has given ABB a deep understanding of the mill’s people, processes and goals. ABB has applied this knowledge to the way it provides services to help the mill achieve lasting gains in productivity, equipment availability and paper quality.

ABB service delivery tool

The ABB resident service engineers at the paper mill use ABB’s ServicePro Service Management System, an interactive software tool featuring ABB’s best maintenance practices, to manage service delivery at the mill. ServicePro ensures a maintenance approach with measurable results. ABB resident service engineers are able to track work order completion and the contract hours spent on work orders, so that they can efficiently manage service scheduling and downtime activities. Additionally, ServicePro provides detailed reporting features that tracks hours worked by the resident service engineers and the number of incidents during the reporting period. Service delivery data reported through ServicePro shows the value added by ABB in increasing machine efficiency and decreasing the number of system failures.

The maintenance activities are scheduled and tracked using three categories:

  1. Preventive or scheduled maintenance
  2. Maintenance of equipment issues found during Preventive Maintenance and addressed on a scheduled maintenance day with no unplanned downtime
  3. Corrective. These are equipment failures that affect system performance with the repair made during non-scheduled maintenance time.

When best-practice preventive maintenance routines that are a standard part of the ServicePro libraries were executed at the paper mill, Corrective Maintenance hours due to system failure dropped by 55 percent, resulting in higher QCS and production availability, and less Corrective Maintenance.

Due to this reduction in corrective maintenance hours, ABB service engineers are spending their newly available time to focus on increasing overall mill productivity. For instance, ABB resident engineers helped the mill to implement a control strategy using ABB headbox actuators that control the paper thickness and density profile. After ABB configured the controls, tuned, tested, and validated them, the yield increase was immediate. Two months later, this same process was implemented on a second machine with equally significant yield improvement. The increased yield from this new control strategy is worth over US $190,000 annually.

The ABB service agreement was renewed and expanded in 2015 when ABB's resident engineers exceeded the original contract scope and provided higher customer value by using ServicePro to schedule and track all maintenance activities.

ABB advanced services

This customer relationship was further strengthened when the paper mill agreed to become a pilot site for ABB Advanced Services powered by ServicePort. ServicePort is a secure, remote-enabled service delivery platform deployed at customer sites that gathers and processes large amounts of data, and performs initial analysis, so that ABB experts can more quickly help customers find and mitigate variables that impede productivity. On one of the mill’s paper machines, ABB engineers deployed the following Advanced Services:


Over the years, the paper mill has been instrumental in helping to improve the quality of ABB’s advanced services offerings through their input. The latest version of the ServicePort software is operating at the site, which allows both ABB resident engineers and mill process engineers to benefit from the data analysis. The ABB onsite team works closely with the mill's operations to enhance the system’s capabilities and help to resolve process issues quickly.

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