Better decision making for Waggeryd pulp mill’s energy efficiency with the help of ABB digital solutions

Swedish pulp producer achieves world-class energy efficiency, while increasing uptime, making use of ABB’s data insights and service expertise.

‘Knowledge is Power’ is a common saying. And the Waggeryd Cell pulp mill in southern Sweden has very wisely used modern digital solutions to make better decisions about its electricity-intensive operations. The key has been the combined power of ABB Ability™ Condition Monitoring service and the ABB Ability™ Digital Powertrain Energy Appraisal, enabled by Smart Sensors. This deeper knowledge gained, and mapping of energy use in the mill’s pulping processes, has helped the customer make better-informed decisions regarding a wide range of factors that impact its overall energy efficiency – and, of course, energy cost

Being an early and successful adopter of clever energy-saving technology is nothing new for Waggeryd, which is one of the most energy-efficient pulp mills in the world. High energy efficiency has always been at the core of Waggeryd’s philosophy since the plant started up in 1989. The mill, which makes about 190,000 tonnes per year of market pulp, now has more than 450 motors installed and was the first player in the pulp industry to adopt the highly-efficient synchronous reluctance motors several years ago. It is today considered to be the most productive pulp mill in the world in tonnes produced annually per employee and equally highly ranked in terms of energy efficiency.

Saving energy and increasing productivity through digitalization at Waggeryd paper mill in Sweden.

Continuously improving energy efficiency and saving costs

Over the past few years, the plant decided to make targeted, cost-effective investments in digital tools that are aimed at giving continuous insight and deeper knowledge about its energy use, and real-time condition and status, for many of the motors and associated bearings that drive the key process applications at any given time.

Therefore, Waggeryd installed the ABB AbilityTM Condition Monitoring solution enabled by 156 Smart Sensors, digitalizing their entire critical line. The sensor can easily be externally mounted on ABB and non-ABB motors, pumps and general machinery to measure power consumption, speed, vibration frequencies and temperatures.

93 Smart Sensors were fitted on the motors running the mill, 42 on bearings, 10 sensors on gearings and the remaining 11 on other process pumps throughout the operation.

The sensors effortlessly collect and transmit data to the ABB AbilityTM Condition Monitoring system that analyzes the information to provide key operational parameters of the equipment and give early warning about potential trouble that may be developing, for example when a bearing may be trending toward higher vibrations – and possible failure.

In addition, ABB’s service expertise provided to the condition monitoring service, generates a detailed report regarding the equipment status and further maintenance recommendations. This enables Waggeryd to make the right decisions at the right time on installed base optimizations – and make further gains in improving overall energy efficiency.

ABB Ability™ Digital Powertrain Energy Appraisal, the pinnacle for optimal energy efficiency

Going one important step further, by leveraging the data generated through condition monitoring, a new ABB detailed energy efficiency report called ABB Ability™ Digital Powertrain Energy Appraisal has been carried out by ABB service experts. The results have helped Waggeryd to pinpoint places where additional energy savings can be made. This targeted digital energy assessment suggests where significant energy savings may be possible by looking at the entire powertrain.

“As an example of how the ABB Ability™ Digital Powertrain Energy Appraisal works, the report done for Waggeryd informed them about motors that are wasting energy. It identified those that have low operating efficiency, as well as others that are wrongly dimensioned and thus underutilized, contributing to waste of active and reactive energy. As first steps to make good use of this info, Waggeryd decided that it will in the near future modernize 6 motors from a top 10 motors list, thus enabling improvements and savings of both active and reactive energy,” explains Peter Isberg, Digital Lead at ABB Motion Services.

Driving the future with connected assets

By adopting ABB’s digital solutions for powertrain condition monitoring, Waggeryd now has applied powerful ways to extract even further energy savings. The better visibility about how motors are performing at all times will allow the mill managers to take a well-informed approach about what motors to replace and with what priorities. And as a secondary benefit, the mill gets improved reliability and availability, meaning higher uptime for even better energy efficiency and productivity in producing high-quality pulp which is sold on the market to paper mills.

Andreas Råvik, Mill Manager at Waggeryd Cell, is clearly pleased with the results. “We have gotten improved energy efficiency by working with ABB. By using their energy reports, we can identify assets like incorrectly dimensioned motors, or old motors with poor efficiency, and replace them. The power of digitalization has also resulted in fewer unplanned production stops, as we can rectify potential errors well in advance of a breakdown. The most important thing for us is that the factory runs every hour of every day of the year, with very few unplanned stops. When we achieve a high production level, then we are truly energy efficient.”

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