Each of Metsä Fibre’s four pulp mills has its own life-cycle plan, which includes the necessary investments, development areas and major overhauls required over the next ten years. The plans are drafted in order to ensure the mills run without disruptions.
“We update the life-cycle plan annually. In addition, we draft a rolling PTS plan, which is a more detailed development programme for the next three years. It is used to prepare the action plan and annual maintenance stoppage plan for each year”, says Camilla Wikström, SVP, Production at Pulp Business of Metsä Fibre.
According to her, the life-cycle plan is a dynamic “living document”, which is not only systematically followed during the daily maintenance functions at the mills, but is also continually updated. High uptimes at mills allow the production levels to be constantly improved and products to be delivered consistently and reliably to customers. It also ensures consistently high product quality, cost and environmental efficiency and good occupational safety in production.
“The long-term plan helps us consider what actions should be taken during the life-cycle, in order to increase capacity and maximise output from the mills. This also includes the development of energy efficiency and environmental performance”, says Wikström.
Correct timing is essential
An important element of the life-cycle plan are the annual maintenance stoppages, which is when the carefully scheduled maintenance procedures and repairs are to be performed. Stoppages are a vital part of predictive maintenance in order to ensure that the mills operate without disruptions. Most recently, for example, production at the Rauma mill was halted for approximately a week in order to replace the automation system for the pulp mill and drying line, which was the largest single maintenance procedure completed during the stoppage.
“The Joutseno mill is a good example of the benefits of the systematic life-cycle approach. When compared to the situation five years ago, we have been able to significantly increase the usability of the mill. We have done the right things at the right time and now Joutseno is among our top mills in terms of usability.”
The Kemi mill, in turn, is Metsä Fibre’s oldest mill and is approaching the end of its life-cycle. The mill has been renovated in phases and its technology is mainly from the 1980s. Continuing until the summer of 2019, a preliminary assessment project titled Polar King is currently underway, which is used to determine if the mill is to either be modernised or completely replaced with an entirely new bioproduct mill.
Competitive advantage from outsourcing
Metsä Fibre, together with Caverion Industria, established the service company Botnia Mill Service (BMS) in 1997 to handle daily maintenance. BMS is responsible for the maintenance and project management, planning, technical maintenance and various project implementations for the mills. The cooperation has helped keep costs under control and to develop the maintenance procedures of the mills.
“We also work together with BMS to update our life-cycle plans and prepare the predictive maintenance lists together, among others. We have a long-term and close strategic partnership, which has been very effective in supporting improving the usability and continuous development of the mills”, says Wikström.