70-year-old board production line gets a state-of-the-art user interface

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Stora Enso Imatra Mills has improved its BM2 line operating environment with a web-based Valmet DNA User Interface.

The user interface was specifically tailored to display the most essential data based on user needs and roles, making the users’ work easier.

Located in southern Finland, Stora Enso Imatra Mills is one of the world’s largest producers of consumer packaging board. Its board production line BM2, originally supplied by Beloit (later Valmet), has been operating since 1956 and has undergone major upgrades and modernizations regularly. The largest one was performed in 1990 by Tampella (Valmet). The 70-year-old grand lady still has its original steel structure and some parts, but otherwise the line has been fully modernized and updated over the years. 

BM2 produces high-end graphic and packaging boards with an annual capacity of 260,000 metric tonnes. To maintain its high production quality and efficiency, Stora Enso has cooperated with Valmet to upgrade BM2’s automation system several times. The first automation system on BM2 was Damatic XD, one of the first Distributed Control Systems (DCS) in the 1980s. Valmet DNA Distributed Control System replaced the mill’s Damatic in 2012 and has been upgraded regularly since then. The latest upgrade in 2023 included a web-based Valmet DNA User Interface, which was tailored to support the work of different user groups. 

Better awareness of situations and trends

A complex board making process requires a well-designed user interface (UI) that connects the operators and other users to the automation system. The user interface should provide the most relevant information for each user role, regardless of their location, and enable them to monitor the current and historical process data. 

“Valmet DNA User Interface is very convenient, because it allows us to access the whole process view with one system, instead of switching between different ones. The information in the new user interface is well-organized and visual, so we can quickly understand the state of the process,” says Sami Nurminen, Project Manager at Stora Enso.

valmet 22jan24 2Sami Nurminen, Stora Enso and Markus Buuri, Valmet (standing) at Stora Enso Imatra

The user interface features user-friendly dashboards and views of the process and its subprocesses, which help the users focus on the most important information. 

 “We wanted to simplify the operating environment by filtering out the unnecessary data and showing only what matters most to each user. The new history tool in the user interface is also a great improvement, as it’s easy to use and intuitive. We can easily see trends and zoom in on specific time periods, if needed,” points out Markus Rautio, BM2 Day Supervisor.

Valmet DNA User interface is developed using the latest cybersecurity methods and technologies. It was set up according to the Stora Enso’s OT/IT Cybersecurity policy.

Sami Nurminen adds: “The ability to connect the automation system to other systems is important. We have already planned to integrate Valmet DNA User Interface with our SAP. In addition to connectivity, our IT department has been happy with the latest upgrade’s cybersecurity.”

valmet 22jan24 3Markus Rautio, Stora Enso and Taavi Veltheim, Valmet

Designed with users to support their work 

Stora Enso’s goal was to have a user interface that supports the team’s work and is easy for its people on all organizational levels to use. To achieve this, they chose the Valmet User Experience Design Service where various user interface views were designed with the users. 

Markus Buuri, Project Manager from Valmet explains:  
“The User Experience Design service included 15 workshops that involved people from production, quality control and maintenance. At least one operator from each shift participated in the workshops. Together with our user interface engineer and software specialists, they defined new operating principles, work practices, users and their roles, workstation definitions, preset descriptions as well as content principles for user interface views, such as shutdown, basic operations and tail threading.”

The end result was based on a collaborative effort. “Valmet experts gave us new ideas and informed us about the new Valmet DNA User Interface capabilities. We were also able to ask for features that Valmet had not considered. So, our users got the interface they wanted,” Rautio says.

Sami Nurminen emphasizes the importance of listening to users to create the best possible user interface. “The best part of the project was involving the users from beginning to end. By having the power to decide what the views look like or contain, the users could ensure that the interface would be tailored to their needs and make their work easier.”

valmet 22jan24 4Markus Buuri, Sami Nurminen and Markus Rautio at Stora Enso Imatra

Faster commissioning

The system upgrade was completed quickly and efficiently thanks to close collaboration and active user participation. The commissioning at the mill was smooth. The users were familiar with the system, and the upgrade project caused no production downtime. “The new user interface is easy to use and meets our expectations for a clear operating environment. Our operators learned how to use it very fast and are pleased with it,” Nurminen says.

Source: Valmet