Lower energy consumption, cheaper energy, decarbonization, higher product quality, better asset utilization, improved safety,. . . The pulp & paper industry’s wish list is long. Yet it is also realistic. ABB provides digital solutions so that criteria like these can be managed efficiently, in real time. And they can be implemented step by step, as ambition and insight grow.
Let’s assume that you have just left the boardroom and are wondering how you will deliver the annual reduction in energy use and spend that you have just promised, let alone systematically track and report actual consumption and costs. And do it all without diverting your scarce human resources from their main job of getting the product out on time and exactly according to the specification. If you are like most companies, you probably lack good systems for accessing energy data quickly or in a form that will steer the path to achieving your goals. The deployed databases, systems, and applications tend to be multiple and scattered around the mill, with users focusing on only part of the picture.
For managers, sustainability, and energy efficiency experts at UPM, ABB makes the situation visible at a glance, in real time, across 14 mills in Europe. They can search for improvement potential; visualize how they are progressing towards their energy performance goals and compare their plant with world-class performers. Not just for electricity, but also water, steam, environmental KPIs. The true savings come from how the management drives accountability - by assigning targets and actual results according to people roles and responsibilities. Energy and sustainability data is automatically and consistently aggregated in the appropriate line of command. Alarms and events are assigned to alert personnel should energy consumption be off target and draw the user’s attention to ‘hot spots’. ABB’s industrial-grade energy management system is certified according to ISO 50’001 Energy Management Standard - establishing necessary structures to sustain results over time.
The truth about your energy bill
While the value of energy reductions should not be trivialized it is only part of the strategy. One key component is the management of energy contracts. The contracts with most providers are several hundred pages in length and contain numerous schedules that outline pricing based on consumption rates and time of day. Effectively reconciling the usage invoiced from the supplier with the contract terms, even at a macro level, is a time consuming and manually intensive exercise that is often maintained by a single individual within the organization. If estimation of the energy usage after the fact is based on average values, money is left on the table.
Energy procurement planning and forecasting
ABB’s software helps UPM, SAPPI and other mills accurately model the energy consumption inside the mill, to understand how it relates to changes in the production plan, what additional energy sources are available, and what subsystems can have power shed if needed. With the forecasts based on actual production plan it can ensure that the contractual obligations for energy purchases are satisfied in the most cost-effective way, avoiding excess usage or peak time tariffs and penalties. All our clients using load planning and forecasting solution report that they easily save 2-4% of the overall purchase energy price, with a return on investment of just months.
Demand side management to optimize energy costs
Possibly one of the most critical uses of energy information is to optimally shift the energy usage at times of lower energy prices, when production constraints allow. ABB has successfully implemented a project at MKK mechanical pulp mill in Austria when operations schedules get automatically adjusted according to electricity spot price driving up to 15% of energy cost reduction. The software leverages existing process flexibilities to improve profitability, making sure energy is balanced without jeopardizing production.
The energy management can be further connected to the various operations management systems such as the manufacturing execution system (MES), asset performance management (APM), advanced process control (APC) and AI/ML analytics – including the steam/power and water treatment optimizations. Considering digital solutions in additional areas as well as systems integration and industrial cyber security aspects, can have a major impact on your financial improvements, sustainable development, and reputation.