Maintenance planning and scheduling certification improves plant productivity for major Southeastern U.S. papermaker

After completing a facilities consolidation program, a major pulp and paper mill in the Southeastern U.S. turned to maintenance optimization to improve overall plant reliability and maximize productivity. The goal: run remaining paper machines harder, faster and longer without compromising safety, quality or the environment.

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Optimizing maintenance to improve overall plant reliability

A comprehensive reliability improvement program was needed to standardize maintenance procedures, and improve planning and scheduling for maintenance related activities.  This type of program relies on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the number of emergency work orders, the percentage of work orders labeled “urgent” and spending as a function of asset replacement value to verify results and track progress. It also calls for maintenance workers and engineers to properly trained, certified and coached on best practices.

Developing standardized processes and work practices

To meet these challenges head-on, the mill partnered with ABB to identify and implement a variety of these maintenance improvement initiatives. The first step involved conducting a benchmark study to ascertain the mill’s current state of maintenance. From this study, a list of prioritized recommendations was developed.

ABB settled on a mix of classroom training, in-field and on-the-job coaching, follow-up audits and refresher courses for key personnel from each of eight critical areas: papermaking (involving three specific paper machines), the waste treatment plant, the bleach plant, the unbleached pulp mill, the power generation facility, the chemical recovery area and the wood-yard. Each team received customized training designed to improve its knowledge base and performance.

Traditionally, each of these functional areas had its own processes and procedures, developing standardized processes and work practices was critical. To achieve this, everyone received the same classroom and field training and the same tests. This ensured the mill could place the right personnel into the role best suited for their skills and knowledge.

Main facts

Customer Southeastern US pulp and paper mill
Country USA
Customer needs
  • Improve maintenance procedures
  • Increase output from fewer machines
  • Train, certify and coach staff

  • 4% improvement in OEE
  • More collegial work environment
  • Improved spend/ARV ratio
  • ABB University certification

Putting the team back into teamwork

In many industrial facilities, a certain level of competition exists between the operations and maintenance personnel – each has its own agenda. For instance, operations personnel are aggressively customer- and Because of ABB’s reliability improvement initiatives, the mill achieved a four percent improvement in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) across all three of its paper machines.

OEE measures how well machinery, production lines and processes are performing as a function of availability, performance and quality. Similarly, maintenance spend as a function of average replacement value ratio (spend/ARV) at the facility improved from 3.1 to 2.7. This means the mill spends far less to maintain the same set of assets. This method of measuring maintenance costs allows the mill to benchmark itself to others mills and manufacturing facilities to determine if its maintenance spend is best-in-class or if there is room for improvement.
Because of ABB’s reliability improvement initiatives, the mill achieved a 4% OEE improvement across all three of its paper machines and improved its maintenance spend from 3.1 to 2.7. This means the mill spends far less to maintain the same set of assets.

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