Even in the digital age, paper remains an important data storage medium. Every year, more than 400 million tons of this material are produced globally, for advertising, brochures, books, newspapers and other uses. With production plants in 13 countries, the Finnish UPM Group is one of the largest paper producers in the world. Its German subsidiary, UPM Nordland Papier located in Dörpen, Emsland, is one of the leading factories in Europe. Some 1.4 million tons of fine paper is produced here annually, and for more than 30 years the factory has relied on ABB in its know-how and technology.
Competitiveness factor optimization
By investing in innovative solutions, the company constantly improves its production processes. For example, this is the first paper producer in the world to work with ABB’s customized Fast Ash Change & Control package to control the filler content. The package supports the operators of Paper Machine 4 (PM 4), the largest in the factory. Fast Ash Change & Control helps optimize paper quality and productivity, thus securing the position of UPM Nordland Papier in these two decisive competitiveness factors.
The wood-free paper made by the company must comply with high quality specifications, with such parameters as opacity, smoothness and color. In order to achieve these properties, certain substances are added to the fiber blend during the production process: for example, fillers like kaolin and calcium carbonate. In professional jargon, these are called “ash”, improving the opacity as well as the whiteness degree of the paper. PM 4, with its operating width of 9.4 meters, is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world; it produces a broad spectrum of fine paper types, each of which requires a different ash mixture to be added.
Faster grade change
UPM Nordland Papier puts its greatest value in maintaining the correct parameters. With Fast Ash Change & Control, the ash content of paper is significantly more precise, and above all, is faster to adjust. This way, paper grade changes at UPM Nordland Papier occur about 60% faster than before, while the amount of rejected product is reduced. Even if there is a web break, the quality can be maintained constantly. This is made sure by an ABB-developed soft sensor that monitors the filler content on the wet end of the machine and adjusts it if a break occurs.
Furthermore, the plant operators gain from simpler operation and the robust control strategy of the ABB concept. It was created with well-established process response models that manage to capture process characteristics with few parameters. This way the control settings introduced can be understood intuitively.