Paper and packaging production: Across the board
For many years, business for the paper industry was stable and easy to plan. Now, more and more digitalization in the print and publishing house industry is also forcing paper manufacturers such as Stora Enso to rethink their operating model.
Publishing houses are printing less and less paper. As a result, demand for graphical papers as the primary products in the traditional papermaking sector is declining fast. By contrast, between 2009 and 2015, global consumption of board and packaging papers went up by about 40 million tons, a nearly 11% increase. This cannot be attributed to expanding online commerce and goods shipments alone – beverage packaging is also increasingly made from board.
Transitioning to Industrie 4.0
The Swedish-Finnish company Stora Enso makes packaging board for liquids on its board machine 8 at the Skoghall Mill in the Swedish province of Värmland. Ten percent of all globally produced board of this kind comes from this machine, which every day provides the material for up to 100 million 1-liter packages. With an annual capacity of some 440,000 tons, board machine 8 is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
In the framework of a necessary upgrade, Stora Enso took the opportunity to also digitalize its operations to enable faster production and increase machine efficiency. As part of this effort, Siemens supplies a functional control concept tailored specifically for the paper and pulp industry based on the Simatic PCS 7 process control system, and the Sipaper Drives APL software standard. Various digital options were also added, such as mobile operating panels and the Simit virtual simulation system. This will form the foundation for optimal control quality and highly efficient drive solutions, which also minimize the risk of web breaks during production.
Becoming the leading industry player
The upgrade of the entire automation infrastructure ensures that the automation system in itself is no longer a bottleneck when in the future the maximum production speed is increased from 900 to 1,000 meters of packaging board per minute. The machine is also partly linked to Control Performance Analytics (CPA) via the cloud-based open IoT operating system from Siemens. With CPA, data taken directly from the process control system and COMOS provide the basis for analyzing the control circuits and optimizing them based on algorithms. This will provide Stora Enso with a better overview of the machine and make it possible to take advantage of previously hidden optimization potential for achieving greater production capacity. This will make board machine 8 a digital benchmark for the global paper industry. “We want to be the best. That’s why we not only need to become faster but also more efficient,” says Åke Ånesjö, Automation Manager of Technology and Investment at Skoghall Mill Stora Enso. “Digitalization will allow us to continue our ongoing development, and we are delighted that Siemens is pursuing this path with us.”
A reliable long-term partnership
Stora Enso and Siemens have worked together on a number of occasions, such as the successful cooperation on a major plant project in Beihai, China. In fact, the experience with that project helped convinced those in charge at the Stora Enso Skoghall Mill of the opportunities offered by digitalization.
We want to be the best. Digitalization will allow us to continue our ongoing development.Åke Ånesjö, Automation Manager of Technology and Investment at Skoghall Mill Stora Enso
Even more innovations
Close, long-standing business relationships enable and promote the development of new ideas through to commercial viability. Within its Pathfinder project, Stora Enso encourages innovative thinking across the entire group at Idea Cafés. Held all over the world, Idea Cafés provide a forum for discussing, verifying, and enhancing new ideas and approaches to create customer enthusiasm.
Picture credits: Stora Enso/Felix Odell
Stora Enso is a leading provider of renewable solutions for global markets in the areas of packaging, biomaterials, wood construction, and paper. The company has a workforce of some 30,000 people in more than 35 countries around the world. Its customers include publishing houses, print shops, paper processors, and companies in the packaging and wood construction industries.
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