ABB selected by DS Smith to upgrade automation system for second largest recovered fiber-based paper operation in Europe

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times
  • Leading sustainable packaging company DS Smith invests in new contract to futureproof operations and further strengthen cyber security functionality
  • ABB to deliver distributed control system (DCS) and paper machine drives upgrade at Kemsley Paper Mill, Kent, UK

ABB has been awarded a new contract by long-term customer, sustainable packaging company DS Smith, to fulfil a vision of highly automated, connected, and secure operations at their Kemsley Mill in the UK.

The Kent mill is the second largest recovered fiber-based paper operation in Europe, boasting an annual production capacity of over 840,000 tons. Aligning with the company’s focus on recycling and sustainable paper and packaging production, the mill produces the first recycled, lightweight paper manufactured in the UK. This includes White Liner A, White Liner B, Dual Use, Dual Use HP Plus, Light Medium Plus, Liner 3 and Plasterboard Liners.

ABB is supporting the mill’s evolution with the ABB Ability™ System 800xA distributed control system (DCS) and paper machine drives upgrade across PM3, PM4 and PM6. The upgraded DCS will be integrated across the mill, working as the backbone that connects everything securely into one system for better, more automated functionality and easier maintenance.

ABB will also deliver a one-year support contract, the latest cyber security set up and two new Virtual Measurements for PM4, which will provide online calculations for strength and weight. System delivery is expected in Q3 2022. A progressive implementation of the system will align with the planned maintenance program in successive months.

“ABB’s consultation, involving numerous remote workshops and ongoing discussions, helped us define the best approach for our modernization project. The team showed real expertise and understanding of our future ambitions and will act as a partner to us in our digital transformation journey,” said Ben Jennings, Kemsley Mill Manager at DS Smith.

“DS Smith is a leading European and US paper manufacturer with a clear vision for their future operations. The Kemsley Mill is a great example of a facility with the foresight to plan for the bigger digitalization rapidly emerging in the pulp and paper industry,” said Jan-Willem Bos, Regional Industry Lead, ABB Pulp and Paper. “We’re pleased to build on our long-standing relationship and work closely with DS Smith to drive their strategic evolution.”

ABB is working across more than 50 countries to provide its comprehensive portfolio of integrated digital solutions, automation and electrification systems, industry-focused products and services to help customers optimize all phases of the papermaking process. The company works across packaging, paper, tissue and pulp disciplines to help drive availability, performance, cost and quality improvements.


ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries.

DS Smith is a leading provider of sustainable fibre-based packaging worldwide, which is supported by recycling and papermaking operations. It plays a central role in the value chain across sectors including e-commerce, fast moving consumer goods and industrials.

Through its purpose of ‘Redefining Packaging for a Changing World’ and its Now and Next sustainability strategy, DS Smith is committed to leading the transition to the circular economy, while delivering more circular solutions for its customers and wider society – replacing problem plastics, taking carbon out of supply chains and providing innovative recycling solutions. Its bespoke box-to-box in 14 days model, design capabilities and innovation strategy sit at the heart of this response.

Headquartered in London and a member of the FTSE 100, DS Smith operates in 34 countries employing around 30,000 people and is a Strategic Partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Its history can be traced back to the box-making businesses started in the 1940s by the Smith family.

Source: ABB