Large Pulp Mill Project Embraces Centralized Control

March 18, 2016
ABB is providing Sweden’s SCA with what it says will be the pulp industry’s first integrated automation system managing end-to-end production from a single control room.

From chemical manufacturing to oil exploration, more process industries are finding benefits from integrating the control of disparate assets into a single location—whether to bring that control in from far-flung fields or just to optimize processes. Now pulp mills are getting in on centralized control, with ABB lining up what it says is a first in the pulp industry.

Pulp mills traditionally manage various operations such as woodyard, digester, recovery boiler, etc., from separate control rooms. But when the world’s largest production line for bleached softwood kraft pulp comes online in June 2018, it will be using ABB’s System 800xA automation platform and custom-engineered software to manage end-to-end production from a single control room.

SCA, a forest products company based in Stockholm, Sweden, has invested SEK 7.8 billion ($955 million) to expand its Östrand kraft pulp mill in Timrå, Sweden. The expanded plant will have a capacity of 900,000 tons of softwood kraft pulp per year. The order from ABB includes engineering for the control system, optimization of all processes, and design of the control room.

All operators will monitor and control the entire mill from eight Extended Operator Workplaces. The fully integrated control system will help to maximize connectivity and provide a full plant overview of the whole process and all devices. Integrating the management and control systems of the entire production process will increase efficiency and productivity of all processes, according to ABB. The collaborative environment will improve operations, engineering, control and maintenance, the company added.

“By utilizing our systems as an integrated platform for the entire plant, we can contribute to SCA Östrand’s goal of creating the world’s most modern and efficient softwood kraft pulp mill,” said Roger Bailey, managing director of ABB’s Process Industries business.

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.

The order also includes a simulator for testing the control of all processes in the mill before delivery, and for operator training and process optimization over time. To ensure smooth commissioning, five simulators will be used at the same time before and during startup.

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