VIB moisturiser control system upgrade ensured intuitive use and reliable operation
”The VIB AirTech Plus6 paper machine moisturising system at the UPM Jämsänkoski mill was approaching the end of its service life. Acquiring spare parts was becoming more and more difficult and expensive, since the original system supplier was no longer in the market.
A great deal of trouble was also caused by the existing PC equipment, which was sometimes hard to manage, and unnecessary time had to be spent with problem solving. We started to consider possible solutions and threw down a challenge to Protacon: How can we renew the system to make it as smart and cost-efficient as possible?
The problem with the old system encapsulated in the word “complicated”. The control of 600 valves and old PC systems made up a mind-boggling task. Protacon designed for us a new solution, which was as simple as possible, consisted of readily available components and could be easily installed to replace the old one.
Installation without a single production disturbance
The project with Protacon was carried out with excellent cooperation. Strong emphasis was put in the pre-planning and testing phases so that there were no surprises during the implementation phase. From Protacon, the project employed local designers from Jämsä and a young and enthusiastic implementation engineer who made great efforts to thoroughly understand the whole system and thereby achieve a flexible solution.
From the old system, parts that were reasonably reusable were left in place. Components were not changed just for its own sake. For the operators, the change was hardly visible at all in practice and no harm was caused to production. This is very rare; in fact, I think it is the first time during my work career.
Simplification brings advantages in many areas
When considering the benefits of the upgrade, spare part availability is a significant advantage to us in the long term. Today, we use basic components as simple as possible that are easy to replace with less efforts. Generally, ensuring spare part availability is not the only sufficient reason for a system change. However, authorisation was granted in this project because the total cost of the upgrade remained reasonable.
Earlier, it was difficult to work between the various systems when extraordinary measures were needed. Removing a few unnecessary PCs also removed their maintenance need. The new equipment is simple and intuitive to use and no special skills are required in its maintenance. In addition, a great improvement and efficiency-increasing factor is the automatic backup system.
The new reliable system reduces production risks in the end. It is a fact also at our mill that in the case of a moisturiser failure, 95% of paper grades could not be produced at all. Now the lifecycle of the moisturiser could be extended by replacing the 15 years old control system with a new one. At the same time with the project, we also developed simpler testing software – this has also made life easier.”
The project with Protacon was carried out with excellent cooperation. Strong emphasis was put in the pre-planning and testing phases so that there were no surprises during the implementation phase.
Timo Perkamo, UPM Jämsänkoski