SCA Östrand to increase pulp mill efficiency with integrated, digitalized automation solution

This marks the first time in the pulp industry that an integrated automation solution will manage end-to-end production — from the woodyard to the baling line — from a single control room.

SCA is a leading global hygiene and forest products company. The company develops and produces sustainable personal care, tissue and forest products.

SCA Östrand’s new pulp mill is the largest industrial investment in northern Sweden, ever, and is home to the biggest production line for bleached softwood sulfate pulp in the world. When the mill is at full operation at the end of 2019, it will produce a million tons per year.

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Main facts

Customer SCA
Country Sweden

ABB Ability™ System 800xA

  • Improved productivity
  • Faster start-up
  • Safer operations
  • Increased margins
Project delivery

Common standards, components, procedures

The scale of the Östrand mill requires maximum productivity, both at start-up and throughout its life cycle, and had SCA searching for an automation platform that would enable all processes to be controlled by common standards, components and procedures.

To meet their needs, SCA Östrand chose ABB Ability™ System 800xA to bring together all process components and increase efficiency.

Unparalleled connectivity, full plant overview

Traditionally, in a pulp mill, different operations such as woodyard, digester, recovery boiler etc., are controlled from separate control rooms. The integration of the management and control systems into a single control room provides unparalleled connectivity, a complete overview of the mill and increased process efficiency and productivity.

SCA Östrand’s integrated, digitalized solution includes a new control system and new operating center, which features seven Extended Operator Workplaces.  Operators enjoy a clear process overview, as well as possibilities to personalize ergonomics and the work environment in every aspect, from working posture to sound and lighting. 

"The joint operation center with a common interface allows operators to have a good understanding of the whole, which gives even better conditions to optimize the overall flow and facilitates training," says Ekebro.

Keeping power supply and production processes at continuous high levels

Producing an even quality pulp at a consistently high production rate is a challenging task. The raw material quality, such as chip size and chip moisture, tends to change with the seasons, natural geographic factors, and the wood source.

ABB Ability™ Advanced Process Control (APC), also included in the project scope, stabilizes pulp production, reduces chemical usage and coordinates the numerous loops to incur optimum, on-specification, pulp quality at minimum variance. It allows operators to have full control over the system and provides insight to keep power supply and production processes at continuous high levels.

Operators can control the system against key ratios, such as reducing operating costs while keeping processes within emissions restrictions.

Simulator for testing, training and optimization

Completing the package was ABB’s digital solution for process simulators, ABB Ability™ System 800xA Simulator. This gives operators the ability to simulate both their own and overall processes in advance, helping to reduce the risk of unplanned shutdowns.

"By testing to start, stop and solve various problems, everyone could learn the user interface and get comfortable with these tools and processes before using them in live situations. In this way we were able to get a much faster and more efficient start-up," says Ekebro.

This type of environment aims to create proactive control centers that will also attract a new generation of operators to the pulp and paper industry.

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