Sami Ristiluoma, Metsä Fibre


Fibre expertise: A benefit for partners

​Optimised pulp refining and consistently high quality are clear added value for Metsä Fibre customers.

TEXT: TIMO NYKÄNEN, PHOTOS: METSÄ GROUP

Metsä Fibre’s technical services help the company’s customers get the most out of Botnia Nordic pulp by fine-tuning production processes and machinery for optimal end-product quality. With more than a decade of experience studying the refining process, Metsä Fibre can look back on dozens of examples illustrating the benefits of optimisation.

“Refining is one of the main ways in which customers can process their fibre. With longfibre softwood pulp, this means controlling the strength of the end product. Our studies seek to optimise the customer’s refining process until the full fibre potential is realised, and they almost always lead to some suggestions for improvement,” says Metsä Fibre Technical Sales Manager Tuomo Niemi, who is stationed at the company’s branch office in Wiesbaden, Germany, where he participates in customer technology projects and often conducts his own refining analysis work.

Tuomo Niemi, Technical Sales Manager, Metsä Fibre 

Tuomo Niemi, Technical Sales Manager, Metsä Fibre

Niemi finds that refining is often overlooked when increasing production volumes or making other adjustments to manufacturing on older paper machines. However, this is the precise moment for seeking enhancements by analyzing the refining process.

Strength and energy consumption

Metsä Fibre’s Botnia FORE (Fibre Optimisation and Refining Evaluation) concept is specifically useful when investigating issues in refining. The software developed for this service enables us to review alternative refining approaches and fillings, identifying the optimal combination for each situation.

Metsä Fibre machinery 

“In practice we have two ways of analyzing a refining process. We can either do an analysis based only on process data calculation, or we can combine this with a further stage of actually taking samples from the customer’s processes for subsequent laboratory analysis. The process performance verified on this basis is then compared with the calculations to reveal the true process performance,” Niemi explains.

The most common way to improve the refining stage on a production line is to adjust the consistency of the pulp or change the refiner fillings.

“Typically a customer may be seeking greater product strength from the pulp and lower energy consumption. Our services are useful for realising these aims, as we review the entire operation with a view to minimising the energy required for optimal output.” 

Energy savings aside, Niemi explains that Metsä Fibre primarily brings added value to the customer by helping to ensure that the fibre delivers its full potential.

Metsä Fibre machinery 

“Long-fibre softwood pulp is the most costly raw material component used by a manufacturer of paper or board, so ensuring that this component can be used most efficiently without compromising the quality of the final product is an important financial consideration.”

Consistent quality is crucial

Another important tool of technical customer service is the Botnia FOX (Fibre Online Index) quality index that illustrates the strength potential of pulp. This method is closely linked to RFID tracking technology that labels each pulp unit with an electronic tag. Customers can use the RFID tag to check the deployment date of the pulp unit and consult the FibreOnline tool to find the Botnia FOX value.

“It is important for us to have an effective indicator of consistent quality that allows genuine real-time access to the actual process. Measurements were previously made less frequently and results were slow to emerge, but there’s no way to overstate the importance of consistent quality from the customer’s point of view,” says Esko Pekuri, Fibre Technology Manager at Metsä Fibre’s Kemi mill.

Esko Pekuri, Fibre Technology Manager at Metsä Fibre Kemi mill 

Esko Pekuri, Fibre Technology Manager at Metsä Fibre's Kemi mill.

Pekuri is similarly involved in quality index testing of various customer processes. For example, pulp is very highly refined when making certain speciality papers, compared to tissue paper manufacturing at the opposite extreme. The aim is to continue using Botnia FOX to monitor changes in pulp refinability with even greater precision.

“We have already managed to identify a correlation between the quality index and pulp refinability, as higher FOX values mean that the customer needs less refining energy. The quality index delivers added value to the customer not only by ensuring consistent quality, but also insofar as the impacts of a high FOX value enable furnish or refining energy optimisatio,” Niemi explains.

R&D continues

Pekuri says that the Botnia FOX index is currently a reliable guide to the in-house manufacturing process at Metsä Fibre, and the next stage will be to turn it into a genuine customer application that would ideally enable adjustments to be made directly on the paper machine to optimise refining.

Trial runs conducted at various paper mills in autumn 2015 and last spring yielded favourable results in terms of how closely the quality index reflects changes in refinability. A clear link has been identified between Botnia FOX and paper runnability in all production settings.

“Immediate and accurate information on pulp refinability would enable the customer to adjust the pulping process to compensate for any variation in end product,” Pekuri says.

Metsä Fibre machinery

Even though Niemi believes that we are already in a position to talk about the benefits of Botnia FOX in general terms, the company must continue reviews of individual customers with a view to identifying more precise correlations in specific processes.

“Obviously the feedback that we have obtained is essential for improving the system. With sufficient experience we shall be able to determine such questions as whether a customer has some critical minimum quality index threshold at which effects start to become unfavourable,” Niemi adds.

Comprehensive fibre expertise

A detailed analysis of factors that affect the customer’s manufacturing process and the interplay between these factors can enable technical customer service specialists to propose considerable performance enhancements. Both Pekuri and Niemi believe that it is this kind of profound fibre expertise above all that gives Metsä Fibre an edge over its competitors. Few specialists can offer a comparable range of technical services.

Metsä Fibre employee
“Obviously as a pulp manufacturer we are highly familiar with the properties of our own products and how various fibre types should be refined and treated in various processes. Working with our customers, we can fine-tune the pulp recipe to ensure maximum value and performance,” Pekuri summarises.


A PIONEER OF ELECTRONIC FORESTRY SERVICE

As Superintendent at Metsä Fibre’s mill in Äänekoski, Sami Ristiluoma finds that the Botnia FOX quality index plays a key role in daily operations, with the target pulp standard and any momentary rises and falls easily visible on the process monitor.

“Process attendants benefit in particular from the quality index level, which is continuously displayed at the pulping, oxidation and bleaching stages as a real-time readout in the control room. By clicking on some point of the trend curve, for example, you can display the specific parameters underlying the quality index value, enabling swift investigation and correction of the reason for any quality anomaly,” Ristiluoma explains.

Sami Ristiluoma, Superintendent at Metsä Fibre's mill in Äänekoski. 

Sami Ristiluoma, Superintendent at Metsä Fibre's mill in Äänekoski.

One clear advantage over previous quality assurance practices is that it is now possible to intercept a defective pulp batch resulting from a malfunction before it is prepared for delivery to the customer. Ristiluoma feels that the quality index is an excellent instrument for ensuring a more consistent quality of pulp.

“We know that the process is close to optimal when the quality index is high,” Ristiluoma explains.

Related articles

  • Issue 2/2018/

    Metsä Spring and Itochu invest in test plant for wood-based textile fibres

    ​Metsä Group’s innovation company Metsä Spring Ltd. and Japanese Itochu Corporation have established a joint venture, investing approx. EUR 40 million in building and operating a test plant to demonstrate a new technology for converting paper-grade pulp into textile fibres.

    Read More
  • Issue 2/2018/

    Progress in the Polar King project

    ​A renovation project launched in May by Metsä Fibre at its pulp mill in Kemi, northern Finland, has entered a preliminary study stage that will continue until summer 2019.

    Read More
  • Issue 2/2018/

    Charting the customer experience

    Metsä Fibre’s annual RADAR customer satisfaction survey for its pulp and biochemical customers has been completed for 2018.

    Read More
  • Towards the best reliability, Mikael Lagerblom

    Issue 2/2018/ Voice

    Towards the best reliability

    ​Metsä Fibre’s vision is that our customers value us as their preferred supplier for high-quality bioproducts and services that create added value for their business. The vision is based on reliability– reliability as in being a trustworthy partner or as in performing consistently well. As we all know, trust is something that needs to be earned.

    Read More
  • Systematic development of pulp mills

    / Solutions

    Systematic development of pulp mills

    ​The uptimes of all of Metsä Fibre's pulp mills are considered to be excellent as a result of effective predictive maintenance and correctly timed investments. Reliability, delivery consistency and consistent quality are ensured through long-term life-cycle planning.

    Read More
  • Maria Laamanen talks about plastic

    Issue 2/2018/ Voice

    A trendy tote bag heralds the twilight of the plastic era

    ​Let me begin with a confession. I feel slightly ashamed to walk around downtown Helsinki with a plastic carrier bag nowadays, and if my shopping is small enough, then I fold up the bag and hide it under my arm. Plastic carrier bags have become rather embarrassing.

    Read More
  • Intelligent fibre

    Issue 2/2018/ Sustainability

    The future will be made of bio-based products

    ​To tackle the widely-recognized global challenges, such as scarcity of resources and harmful plastic waste in oceans, the European Commission has adopted a plastic strategy with the aim to accelerate the transition to more circular economy and at the same it is updating its bioeconomy strategy to promote the use of renewable raw materials and bio-based products. Can the EU, with the innovations of companies like Metsä Fibre, find a more sustainable solution and lead the world toward lasting change?

    Read More
  • Brian McClay discusses the potential of pulp

    Issue 2/2018/ Markets

    Pulp potential

    ​China continues to drive the global pulp business, an industry offering huge opportunities with regards to sustainability, says Brian McClay.

    Read More
  • James Cropper supplies custom-made paper products to many brands and designers

    Issue 2/2018/ Partners

    A special relationship built over 100 years

    ​In 1845, James Cropper founded a paper manufacturing company bearing his name. Today, this prestigious paper innovator is globally renowned for supplying distinct, custom-made paper products to many of the world’s leading brands and designers. The company, carefully stewarded by 6 generations of the Cropper family, is committed to the highest standards of sustainability and was one of the first in the UK to import the special chemical pulp from what is today Metsä Fibre.

    Read More
  • Sustainable pulp production as cornerstone of circular economy

    Issue 2/2018/ Sustainability

    A strong circular economy needs efficient and sustainable production

    ​Delivering increasingly efficient and sustainable production processes represents an important driver of Metsä Fibre’s operations. Implementing these advanced pulp production technologies offers essential benefits to both circular economy and bioeconomy ecosystems. Metsä Fibre’s state-of-the-art Äänekoski bioproduct mill represents a textbook example of efficient and sustainable production at work.

    Read More
  • Collaboration with Lappeenranta University

    Issue 2/2018/ Partners

    Dialogue for greater wisdom

    ​Collaboration with educational and research institutions is helping Metsä Fibre to gain a broader understanding of natural phenomena and future technologies, and to reach leading professionals in the field. We met up at Lappeenranta University of Technology to discuss the goals and benefits of partnership.

    Read More
  • Ismo Nousiainen presenting new strategic objectives

    Issue 2/2018/ Voice

    Pursuing excellence

    In line with its strategic objectives, Metsä Fibre is increasingly focusing on strengthening customer relationships, improving performance, developing its personnel and building the capacity to regenerate, says CEO Ismo Nousiainen.

    Read More
  • Metsä Fibre Mill Managers presented, Rauma mill

    / Solutions

    A strong quartet

    ​We asked all of Metsä Fibre’s Mill Managers to describe the areas of expertise of their units and their own personal strengths.

    Read More
  • Kaskinen mill's rebranded BCTMP pulp portfolio launched

    / Solutions

    Two new BCTMP brands with improved properties

    ​Metsä Board’s rebranded High Yield Pulp portfolio was officially launched at the start of 2018 through Metsä Fibre’s global sales network. The project was based on extensive customer discussions and the chance to simplify the pulp offering into two well-distinguished products. Botnia High Yield BULK offers high bulk and brightness to mainly printing and writing paper grades. Botnia High Yield TENSILE provides excellent tensile strength and brightness for tissue and speciality papers.

    Read More
  • Sustainable wood supply as cornerstone of circular economy

    / Sustainability

    An efficient circular economy needs a sustainable supply chain

    ​Delivering an increasingly sustainable supply chain represents a fundamental cornerstone of Metsä Group’s forestry operations. Enhancing efficiencies, as well as implementing stricter environmental and ecological measures in sustainable forest management, have a considerable impact on how the group adds to the circular economy.

    Read More
  • Kate Stone

    / Solutions

    Making paper magical

    ​Any printed item can be given a digital soul by adding touch, connectivity and data, says Dr Kate Stone.

    Read More
  • FibreOnline

    Issue 1/2018/ Solutions

    Building 24/7 customer service – together

    ​Based on customer feedback and a user research project, Metsä Fibre has completely revamped their online services. Today, these services have become a holistic tool where customers can find everything they need and even download certifications to pass on to their customers. It’s all in one place – online – easily accessed 24/7 at the push of a button.  

    Read More
  • Paptic

    Issue 1/2018/ Partners

    Replacing plastics

    ​Paptic is a biobased, recyclable and renewable next generation packaging material made of sustainable wood fibre. Developed by a Finnish start-up company of the same name, Paptic is suitable for uses where plastic films have previously been the only alternative.

    Read More
  • Kemi mill

    Issue 1/2018/

    Prefeasibility study launched on renewal of Kemi pulp mill

    ​Metsä Fibre has launched a prefeasibility study on the renewal of its pulp mill in Kemi, with the option of either replacing the current mill or extending its life cycle.

    Read More
  • mill

    Issue 1/2018/ Solutions

    RFID pulp delivery tracking

    ​RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is an identification technology that enables efficient and reliable real time tracking of pulp deliveries. Every pulp unit leaving a Metsä Fibre mill automatically includes RFID tags that help to ensure deliveries and minimise consignment errors.

    Read More
  • employee

    Issue 1/2018/

    Appointments at Metsä Fibre's mills

    ​New appointments at Metsä Fibre's mills announced.

    Read More
  • Äänekoski

    Issue 1/2018/

    Metsä Spring plans textile fibre production

    ​Metsä Group has established a new innovation company, Metsä Spring Ltd.

    Read More
  • Ismo Nousiainen

    Issue 1/2018/ Voice

    Pursuing excellence

    ​The business environment continually changes, and company operations must accordingly evolve to keep pace. There is always room to improve, and always an imperative to do so. Regeneration and continual improvement are no longer a choice, but a necessity and a condition for surviving in the modern era. 

    Read More
  • Kate Stone

    Issue 1/2018/ Voice

    Print is dead, long live print

    ​Print is the most pervasive human interface: we write on it, read it, wear it, sit on it and even eat from it!

    Read More

Most popular articles

  • Bioproduct mill

    Issue 2/2017/ Sustainability

    World-class bioproduct mill

    ​Metsä Fibre’s next-generation bioproduct mill in Äänekoski, Finland, is the largest wood processing plant in the Northern Hemisphere, which brings prosperity to the whole of Finland. The new mill is called a bioproduct mill since it increases the product portfolio with new bioproducts, generates excess bioenergy, and operates without any fossil fuels. The pulp production capacity of the mill is 1.3 million tonnes of pulp a year.

    Read More
  • old Äänekoski mill

    Issue 2/2017/ Sustainability

    Recycling the old Äänekoski mill

    ​The start of operations at the new Metsä Fibre bioproduct mill in Äänekoski has meant shutting down the old pulp mill, and its demolition is currently under way. This work began in June by dismantling the old wastewater treatment plant.

    Read More
  • Woman using a tablet

    Issue 2/2017/

    Customer satisfaction high at Metsä Fibre

    The annual Metsä Fibre customer satisfaction survey was completed again this summer with interviews of pulp customers in various market areas. The overall customer satisfaction rating remained almost unchanged at 8.61 on a scale from 4 to 10.

    Read More
  • Issue 1/2018/ Sustainability

    New combination certificate covers all Metsä Fibre operations

    ​Metsä Fibre’s aim of continuously improving its operations is supported by certified control and management systems, related to quality, the environment, energy efficiency and safety. The systems enable, for example, tracking the origin of the wood raw material and following the logistics chain.

    Read More
  • Paptic

    Issue 1/2018/ Partners

    Replacing plastics

    ​Paptic is a biobased, recyclable and renewable next generation packaging material made of sustainable wood fibre. Developed by a Finnish start-up company of the same name, Paptic is suitable for uses where plastic films have previously been the only alternative.

    Read More
  • FibreOnline

    Issue 1/2018/ Solutions

    Building 24/7 customer service – together

    ​Based on customer feedback and a user research project, Metsä Fibre has completely revamped their online services. Today, these services have become a holistic tool where customers can find everything they need and even download certifications to pass on to their customers. It’s all in one place – online – easily accessed 24/7 at the push of a button.  

    Read More
  • Song

    Issue 1/2018/ Markets

    Eastern horizons

    ​Introducing Wangqiu Song – Metsä Group’s recently recruited SVP, Asia and China – and his unique perspectives on both the Finnish and Asian pulp businesses. 

    Read More
  • Ismo Nousiainen

    Issue 1/2018/ Voice

    Pursuing excellence

    ​The business environment continually changes, and company operations must accordingly evolve to keep pace. There is always room to improve, and always an imperative to do so. Regeneration and continual improvement are no longer a choice, but a necessity and a condition for surviving in the modern era. 

    Read More
  • mill

    Issue 1/2018/ Solutions

    RFID pulp delivery tracking

    ​RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is an identification technology that enables efficient and reliable real time tracking of pulp deliveries. Every pulp unit leaving a Metsä Fibre mill automatically includes RFID tags that help to ensure deliveries and minimise consignment errors.

    Read More
  • technology

    Issue 1/2018/ Voice

    A digital revolution

    ​Technological trends arising from digitalisation, such as IoT, artificial intelligence and data analytics, are having a major impact on society, the world of work and the business operations of Metsä Fibre.

    Read More
  • campfire

    Issue 1/2018/ Sustainability

    On a journey of sustainability

    Common sustainability goals bring industry operators together for a memorable event.

    Read More
  • Äänekoski

    / Sustainability

    Key Customer Event showcases sustainable forest management

    ​Running through May 23-25, Metsä Fibre organised a Key Customer Event in and around Äänekoski, the site of its new bioproduct mill, inviting international clients to Central Finland.

    Read More
  • Kate Stone

    Issue 1/2018/ Voice

    Print is dead, long live print

    ​Print is the most pervasive human interface: we write on it, read it, wear it, sit on it and even eat from it!

    Read More
  • Li Na

    Issue 1/2018/ Partners

    Shared values strengthen cooperation

    ​Li Na, Vice Chairman of the Chinese Sun Paper company, says that Metsä Fibre’s strong brand reputation, core values and product quality form the basis of a solid partnership.

    Read More
  • Äänekoski

    Issue 1/2018/

    Metsä Spring plans textile fibre production

    ​Metsä Group has established a new innovation company, Metsä Spring Ltd.

    Read More
  • employee

    Issue 1/2018/

    Appointments at Metsä Fibre's mills

    ​New appointments at Metsä Fibre's mills announced.

    Read More
  • Kemi mill

    Issue 1/2018/

    Prefeasibility study launched on renewal of Kemi pulp mill

    ​Metsä Fibre has launched a prefeasibility study on the renewal of its pulp mill in Kemi, with the option of either replacing the current mill or extending its life cycle.

    Read More
  • Sustainable wood supply as cornerstone of circular economy

    / Sustainability

    An efficient circular economy needs a sustainable supply chain

    ​Delivering an increasingly sustainable supply chain represents a fundamental cornerstone of Metsä Group’s forestry operations. Enhancing efficiencies, as well as implementing stricter environmental and ecological measures in sustainable forest management, have a considerable impact on how the group adds to the circular economy.

    Read More
  • Kate Stone

    / Solutions

    Making paper magical

    ​Any printed item can be given a digital soul by adding touch, connectivity and data, says Dr Kate Stone.

    Read More
  • Metsä Fibre Mill Managers presented, Rauma mill

    / Solutions

    A strong quartet

    ​We asked all of Metsä Fibre’s Mill Managers to describe the areas of expertise of their units and their own personal strengths.

    Read More
  • Kaskinen mill's rebranded BCTMP pulp portfolio launched

    / Solutions

    Two new BCTMP brands with improved properties

    ​Metsä Board’s rebranded High Yield Pulp portfolio was officially launched at the start of 2018 through Metsä Fibre’s global sales network. The project was based on extensive customer discussions and the chance to simplify the pulp offering into two well-distinguished products. Botnia High Yield BULK offers high bulk and brightness to mainly printing and writing paper grades. Botnia High Yield TENSILE provides excellent tensile strength and brightness for tissue and speciality papers.

    Read More
  • Collaboration with Lappeenranta University

    Issue 2/2018/ Partners

    Dialogue for greater wisdom

    ​Collaboration with educational and research institutions is helping Metsä Fibre to gain a broader understanding of natural phenomena and future technologies, and to reach leading professionals in the field. We met up at Lappeenranta University of Technology to discuss the goals and benefits of partnership.

    Read More
  • Sustainable pulp production as cornerstone of circular economy

    Issue 2/2018/ Sustainability

    A strong circular economy needs efficient and sustainable production

    ​Delivering increasingly efficient and sustainable production processes represents an important driver of Metsä Fibre’s operations. Implementing these advanced pulp production technologies offers essential benefits to both circular economy and bioeconomy ecosystems. Metsä Fibre’s state-of-the-art Äänekoski bioproduct mill represents a textbook example of efficient and sustainable production at work.

    Read More
  • Brian McClay discusses the potential of pulp

    Issue 2/2018/ Markets

    Pulp potential

    ​China continues to drive the global pulp business, an industry offering huge opportunities with regards to sustainability, says Brian McClay.

    Read More
  • Maria Laamanen talks about plastic

    Issue 2/2018/ Voice

    A trendy tote bag heralds the twilight of the plastic era

    ​Let me begin with a confession. I feel slightly ashamed to walk around downtown Helsinki with a plastic carrier bag nowadays, and if my shopping is small enough, then I fold up the bag and hide it under my arm. Plastic carrier bags have become rather embarrassing.

    Read More
  • Systematic development of pulp mills

    / Solutions

    Systematic development of pulp mills

    ​The uptimes of all of Metsä Fibre's pulp mills are considered to be excellent as a result of effective predictive maintenance and correctly timed investments. Reliability, delivery consistency and consistent quality are ensured through long-term life-cycle planning.

    Read More
  • Intelligent fibre

    Issue 2/2018/ Sustainability

    The future will be made of bio-based products

    ​To tackle the widely-recognized global challenges, such as scarcity of resources and harmful plastic waste in oceans, the European Commission has adopted a plastic strategy with the aim to accelerate the transition to more circular economy and at the same it is updating its bioeconomy strategy to promote the use of renewable raw materials and bio-based products. Can the EU, with the innovations of companies like Metsä Fibre, find a more sustainable solution and lead the world toward lasting change?

    Read More
  • Towards the best reliability, Mikael Lagerblom

    Issue 2/2018/ Voice

    Towards the best reliability

    ​Metsä Fibre’s vision is that our customers value us as their preferred supplier for high-quality bioproducts and services that create added value for their business. The vision is based on reliability– reliability as in being a trustworthy partner or as in performing consistently well. As we all know, trust is something that needs to be earned.

    Read More
  • James Cropper supplies custom-made paper products to many brands and designers

    Issue 2/2018/ Partners

    A special relationship built over 100 years

    ​In 1845, James Cropper founded a paper manufacturing company bearing his name. Today, this prestigious paper innovator is globally renowned for supplying distinct, custom-made paper products to many of the world’s leading brands and designers. The company, carefully stewarded by 6 generations of the Cropper family, is committed to the highest standards of sustainability and was one of the first in the UK to import the special chemical pulp from what is today Metsä Fibre.

    Read More
  • Ismo Nousiainen presenting new strategic objectives

    Issue 2/2018/ Voice

    Pursuing excellence

    In line with its strategic objectives, Metsä Fibre is increasingly focusing on strengthening customer relationships, improving performance, developing its personnel and building the capacity to regenerate, says CEO Ismo Nousiainen.

    Read More
  • Issue 2/2018/

    Progress in the Polar King project

    ​A renovation project launched in May by Metsä Fibre at its pulp mill in Kemi, northern Finland, has entered a preliminary study stage that will continue until summer 2019.

    Read More
  • Issue 2/2018/

    Metsä Spring and Itochu invest in test plant for wood-based textile fibres

    ​Metsä Group’s innovation company Metsä Spring Ltd. and Japanese Itochu Corporation have established a joint venture, investing approx. EUR 40 million in building and operating a test plant to demonstrate a new technology for converting paper-grade pulp into textile fibres.

    Read More
  • Issue 2/2018/

    Charting the customer experience

    Metsä Fibre’s annual RADAR customer satisfaction survey for its pulp and biochemical customers has been completed for 2018.

    Read More