Wednesday, 10 April 2024 11:52

ABB control room, power distribution and robotics technologies help Metsä Fibre mill excel in productivity and efficiency

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ABB’s control room environment, power distribution and robotics have been a part of Metsä Fibre’s technologically advanced sawmill’s pioneering levels of productivity and efficiency. The customer’s Rauma mill is Finland’s largest ever sawmill investment at €260 million and uses machine vision, artificial intelligence (AI) and integrated information systems for consistent quality and cost efficiency.

  • Rauma sawmill in Finland has been designed to reach productivity levels that are three times higher than typical outputs in Europe
  • Metsä Fibre’s €260 million project represents the country’s largest ever sawmill investment
  • The sawmill turns out a maximum of 40 logs per minute on a 130-meter sawline, reaching speeds up to 250 meters per minute

Building on a long-term relationship with parent company Metsä Group, ABB provided Extended Operator Workplace (EOW) tables for maximum ergonomics, visualization and communication, as well as electrical power distribution, transformers and robots. Since the technologies were commissioned a year ago the sawmill has turned out 40 logs per minute on a 130-meter sawline with a maximum sawing speed of 250 meters per minute, all managed from an ABB-designed central control room. The sawn pine timber is exported worldwide and can be used in construction – including windows, doors and general joinery, woodworking, furniture and packaging.

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“With the support of partners, including ABB, we are achieving productivity that is at least three times higher than what is possible across the rest of Europe,” said Jaakko Vierola, Technical Director of the Rauma sawmill project, Metsä Fibre. “The durability of components and the service ABB provides exactly when we need it are crucial.”

The electrical distribution system with medium voltage and distribution transformers was designed and delivered by ABB. ABB’s robots, motors and drives were connected to other equipment, with 1,000 variable speed drives considered to be crucial to automation optimization. The overall speed of the process is also due to a group of six robots equipped with machine vision. 

Metsä Fibre and ABB specialists have worked together to maximize automated data collection through a third-party automation system. The strategy has been to use high levels of monitoring for quality and performance, minimize wood waste through sawing and sizing optimization and eliminate manual handling through robots and automatic loading at the 24/7 mill. The sawmill’s by-products such as wood chips, sawdust and bark are used to produce pulp and bioenergy.

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“The Rauma sawmill operates much like a process industry plant, where equipment cannot be maintained at night or on weekends, but electrical devices must always be reliable,” said Esa Kivioja, Industry Segment Manager for ABB in Finland. “Here, we implemented the sawmill's power distribution with the same quality standards as we did in Metsä Fibre's bioproduct mills in Äänekoski and Kemi. This is a whole new concept in mechanical forest industry facilities.”

“The energy efficiency of motors and other electrical equipment also plays a role. The impact of ABB's deliveries is even more evident in the fact that production can continue without disruptions, and there is no idle time for the equipment.”

To support the Metsä Fibre team and the installed technologies on site, ABB also offers its spare parts and spare equipment services, as well as technical support.

ABB’s Process Automation business automates, electrifies and digitalizes industrial operations that address a wide range of essential needs – from supplying energy, water and materials, to producing goods and transporting them to market. With its ~20,000 employees, leading technology and service expertise, ABB Process Automation helps customers in process, hybrid and maritime industries improve performance and safety of operations, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future.

ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated. Building on over 140 years of excellence, ABB’s more than 105,000 employees are committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation.

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