Paper manufacturing: In the loop with cloud-based managed service

At Hamburger Containerboard in Spremberg, Germany, about 600 control loops ensure that wastepaper is optimally processed into high-quality raw paper and plasterboard. Control and analysis is handled in part by the cloud-based MindSphere application Control Performance Analytics from Siemens.

Hamburger Containerboard’s Paper Machine 1 produces up to 315,000 tons of corrugated base paper and plasterboard lining per year. At a working width of 530 cm, the webs run at a rate of 1,200 meters per minute. Wastepaper is the only raw material used. “On this machine, we have a total of 600 control loops in our Simatic PCS 7 process control system,” explains Patrick Wolf, Automation Engineer Stock Preparation at Hamburger Containerboard.

Process optimization using Control Performance Analytics (CPA)

For optimal product quality and uninterrupted production, the company relies on ongoing process optimization, which includes reliably monitoring the control loops. That’s where the MindSphere application Control Performance Analytics (CPA) comes into play. This cloud-based managed service enables reaction-free analysis and optimization of control loops. The relevant data is collected in Simatic PCS 7 or another process control system and transferred either directly to the cloud or, via a secure connection, as a file to MindSphere, the leading industrial IoT as a service solution.

Automatic improvements during ongoing operation

The control loop states are analyzed using an automatic KPI (key performance indicator) calculation. Based on this data, CPA then generates reports and recommendations that also contain automatic calculations of new parameter sets in order to tune control loops without affecting plant operation.

Data analysis in CPA and easy export

The company started by successfully testing the solution on ten control loops. Since then, 30 controllers have been optimized, and most of the improvements have also been loaded to the control system. “In addition to the analyses in CPA, we’re also taking this opportunity to export the data and analyze it locally in-house,” says Wolf.

With Control Performance Analytics, I can view the parameters for each individual controller with a single mouse click – and that saves a lot of time.
Patrick Wolf, Automation Engineer Stock Preparation at Hamburger Containerboard

Stable plant operation, thanks to automation

Another goal of Hamburger Containerboard is plant stability with as few manual interventions as possible and on reliable automation. An example of how CPA was able to significantly stabilize plant operation is the disc filter. “We had a controller here that required some manual operation throughout an entire shift,” says Wolf. Since its optimization, this controller has been operating exclusively in automatic mode. As a result, unnecessary manual actions have been eliminated and costs reduced.

Control loop display just like the process controller

In a complex plant like this one, CPA also makes it relatively easy to monitor control loop performance. “The control loops in each plant section are displayed just as they are in the Simatic PCS 7 system. This makes inventory extremely easy. Conversely, I can view the parameters and KPIs for each individual controller with a single mouse click – and that saves me a lot of time,” Wolf adds.

Ongoing optimizations to come

Now that CPA has been successfully introduced, the application will be expanded. “Our next step will be to systematically optimize control loops in the area of chemicals so that we can optimize consumption of additives and chemicals,” explains Wolf. If all goes well, CPA will also be used on a new and even higher-performance paper machine that will be housed in a new building across from the hall.

May 2021

Hamburger Containerboard is part of the Austrian Prinzhorn Holding and offers its partners throughout Europe a full range of high-quality corrugated paperboard. The Spremberg location currently has 550 employees. The group produces brown and white uncoated paper, white coated paper, and plasterboard lining. Sustainability is the foundation of the company’s business model, which focuses on the environmentally friendly processing of wastepaper.

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