ABB is carrying out in one of the most important paper industries in the sector its first worldwide project for the integration of the multi-plant control system, which makes it possible to manage four plants from the same office.
This paper industry, based in Zaragoza, has thus become a pioneer worldwide by having this solution from ABB, a company specialized in electrification and automation technology. This system “was implemented during the year for one of our main clients in Aragon, thus allowing it to have control and management capacity of four plants in a single office“, explains Enric Giner, general director of ABB Process Industries in Spain, to the Economist
This solution has several advantages. “The fact of centralization makes it possible to eliminate management and dialogue. Management efficiency is gained only by avoiding coordination and management,” he adds.
Although the solution was implemented about a year ago, now work continues to update the quality control system “in order to bring it to the latest level of technology” and to ensure that “the level of quality is as expected by our customers’ customers.”
Solutions to challenges
This solution for multi-plant control is one of those that ABB has shown at SPAPER, the international trade fair for machinery and equipment for pulp, paper and cardboard, which is held at Feria de Zaragoza. A contest in which it is present with the pulp & paper truck in which a fully optimized plant environment is shown and connected with a wide range of digital, energy and automation solutions to guarantee the highest quality standards. “From the moment you enter you take a tour of the paper factory with the different stages of production: from the paste to the manufacture of the sheet or the part of the quality control laboratory”, he stresses.
In the truck, whose idea arose in the United States to visit clients, it will thus be possible to see the range of innovative digital solutions in energy and automation with which paper mills can achieve a high level of profitability and guarantee high quality standards, while reducing energy consumption and minimizing downtime.
Precisely, energy costs are one of the main factors why last year some of the paper mills had to stop their machines. This caused production to drop, especially cardboard paper. “2022 has been a year of inflection, the only one that has grown is sanitary and domestic paper. Compared to 2021, it has been a setback. At the production level it has contracted a bit due to external factors”, in addition to the cost of energy.
And, although the impact has not been dramatic, “the tendency is to face the situation and to greater efficiency and sustainability. We must seek sustainable solutions, the highest level of energy efficiency. We can provide it with our systems thanks to digitization and artificial intelligence, seeking to optimize processes.”
A transition that is now being accelerated by the level of energy costs. “There is no choice”. Despite these changes and advances, still in the sector remains to be done. “A paper machine is a machine that, when defined and projected, is not for one or two years, like a smartphone, but for longer. Its useful life cycle is between 20 and 30 years. Currently, for reaching digitalization processes, we see that the machines and the system as such must be updated. It is not an immediate decision because it is a significant investment. Although we help to put the client in line with the sustainability objectives, decision making Sometimes it slows down, but it’s a matter of competitiveness. Whoever is more updated and up-to-date will be more competitive“.
Solutions that go around the world
The ABB truck also makes it possible to learn about the technology used in each of the digital solutions, ranging from applications to manage orders to production planning and quality management or the design of operator-oriented control rooms. Likewise, it is possible to see demonstrations of security systems, image solutions and web monitoring, among others.
The R&D center in Ireland will focus on solutions for the paper industry
“The truck has the latest technology and ABB systems. It is a great bet” with which the company facilitates delving into the concept of industrial automationIn addition to contributing to move from corrective to preventive maintenanceeither. “ABB’s proposal is clear in R+D+i,” adds Enric Giner, who points out that, for example, the Mesh technology is also being tested and piloted in Spain, specifically, in the Catalonia area . In addition, within the framework of this commitment to innovation, research and development, the company has recently opened a center in Ireland focused specifically on solutions and digitization for the paper sector.
The truck, which makes its first stop in Zaragoza, will continue with a tour of Spain until March 24th to visit the main cities throughout the national territory and bring these solutions closer to the business fabric as a traveling showcase. Once the Spanish tour is over, it will head to Scandinavia and other European destinations, with a return to Spain expected in 2024.