Papermaking process optimization services delivered remotely to U.S.Corrugated mill

Mill finds cost-effective new ways to receive optimization services to match their need for streamlined operation


U.S. Corrugated’s 100 percent recycled containerboard mill in South Carolina, removes the performance gap to operate at the ideal process safe of mechanical constraints while still delivering on product quality

One of the world’s greenest paper operations

The Cowpens mill, which began production in May 1992, currently produces more than 700 tons of products per day. The mill recycles old corrugated containers and other papers to create corrugated and linerboard products.

Unique water cleaning and fiber recovery systems make the Cowpens mill one of the world’s greenest paper operations.  Importantly, the mill recycles and reuses all of its water, keeping all of its process water out of the local streams, rivers and sewers

Cutting costs on service delivery

Since the recession began, paper mills around the world have downsized. They depend on people like ABB to come in under contract and provide critical services.

Cowpens has had a strong partnership with ABB since the mid-1990s. The mill’s core automation is an ABB Distributed Control System that controls its production processes. Cowpens uses advanced ABB Quality Control Systems to ensure product quality. After adding ABB’s quality control, the mill consulted with ABB on how they could cut costs on service delivery while still optimizing process performance.

Main facts

Industry Pulp and Paper
Customer U.S. Corrugated 100% recycled containerboard mill in Cowpens, South Carolina
Country U.S.A.

Distributed Control System
Quality Control System
Pulp and paper optimization services

  • Fingerprint diagnostics
  • ProcessPRO

Remote monitoring and troubleshooting

ABB responded with a plan for providing Fingerprint™ diagnostics and ProcessPRO™ scalable services. To keep costs low and provide products flexibly adjusted to Cowpens’ needs, after initial onsite set up, ABB would deliver on-demand diagnostic and troubleshooting support remotely.

ABB’s Fingerprint and ProcessPRO give mills modular services that identify and solve problems. Customizable Fingerprint services improve a mill’s processes by pinpointing any malfunctions.

ProcessPRO helps mills maintain smooth, trouble-free performance by monitoring systems and providing mill personnel with an easy-to-follow maintenance schedule. ProcessPRO includes troubleshooting for specific problems or system failures, periodic maintenance (SCANS) with detailed health check reports, and system monitoring (TRACK) services. Delivered remotely, these services provide effective maintenance and considerable cost savings without supplier staff having to travel onsite.

William Dannelly, Director of Marketing for ABB’s Pulp and Paper Business Unit
“Remote services are a very efficient way to cost effectively give customers what they need. They can provide high level optimization.”

A rise in productivity

Remote services save money, especially for mills located in areas that are difficult and time-consuming for service personnel to reach.

To provide remote services to paper mills, Dannelly says suppliers need staff with a very rare skills set. Their specialists must have three areas of expertise: an in-depth understanding of the pulp and paper process, controls and the system that operates the process.

“There are only a few people around the world with the skills to give the customer what they need to optimize their systems,” says Dannelly. “It understands how the many different process components work together and which ones are the critical ones for you. We provide an analysis of the process to see which parts are having the most impact on the variability or problems.”

Remote services give ABB the capability to access system data from both inside and outside the Cowpens mill. The result: ABB specialists can effectively monitor and troubleshoot without having to be onsite. At Cowpens, which is a three-hour drive from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport, this has meant considerable savings in time and cost.

ABB’s optimization services have helped Cowpens increase product quality. US Corrugated says their product’s average basis weight 2-Sigma is below .5 and their average moisture is below 2. By keeping quality high, customer complaints have been eliminated while production has increased,  giving Cowpens the solid bottom line benefits they wanted.

William Dannelly, ABB’s Pulp and Paper Business Unit
"ABB uses best practices from around the world to analyze data and standardize the papermaking process. We’ve really strived very hard to standardize the delivery to make sure each customer gets value out of the program.”

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