Rapid success in Chilean paper mill

Enthusiastic students, good software and skilled teachers very rapidly gave increased efficiency in the Chilean Nueva Aldea mill.
– The eyes glowed on the Chilean engineers when they realized how much they could gain by optimizing the controllers, tells Urban Holmedahl.

The assignment in Chile was initially to optimize the control of one single wash filter, but the success of this led to that Optimation optimized all twelve wash presses.

– After that, their eyes had been opened to what our regulation could provide, says Urban. "Can’t you teach us how to do it?", was the next question, and we made plans for a training program in process optimization.

Measuring equipment, knowledge and DUR

The first trip to Chile was made in the early autumn of 2011, with a sophisticated measuring equipment in the luggage. With precise measurements made thousands of times per second, one could identify exactly what happened in the process.

– This first project was largely an analysis. With our knowledge of processes and control, combined with our special measuring equipment, we could then optimize the control. Soon, we were given the assignment to optimize the other eleven wash presses too, which we did in less time than it took to do the first one.

When the issue came to organize an education, it was clear that it was time to use our own StP-concept "Straight-to-the-Point".

– StP is about creating a close link between their theoretical knowledge and their own factory, says Urban. The goal was that the process control should be improved already during the training, and we actually succeeded in doing that in Nueva Aldea.

Inspired hunting teams gave quick success

Before they started the actual training program Optimation installed the software DUR, which provides support for the practical work. But to take full advantage of the software and the training you need a broad knowledge. In consultation with the customer, two "hunting teams" were therefore created, with experts in systems / programming, instrumentation and process knowledge. Two hunting teams with three members each. And the term hunting team was, in this case, remarkably apt.

– The Chilean engineers were extremely motivated, says Urban. They had a high level of theoretical knowledge, and now we taught them to see the connections between theory and their own factory.

The objective to improve the regulation already during the course was hence reached, and at Nueva Aldea, the work has continued since then.

– We plan to now contact the factory and follow up what the hunting teams have accomplished since the program ended. We gave them the key to an optimization of process control. It will be exciting to see what they have accomplished, says Urban.