Key drivers for operator reliability

The latest control and monitoring technologies combined with maintenance methodology from SKF is helping Stora Enso to increase machine availability

SKF, is delivering significant benefits to Stora Enso with the introduction of its operator driven reliability (ODR) programme. By using the latest control and monitoring technologies combined with planned maintenance methodology from SKF, operators at the plant have significantly improved the efficiency of maintenance procedures, increased machine availability and reduced operating costs.

Stora Enso operates in more than 35 countries worldwide with some 26,000 employees and total sales of 10.3 billion Euros. Its Varkaus pulp and paper mill in Finland produces fine paper and newsprint and recycles milk and juice cartons. However, the amount of unplanned downtime on its paper machine line three (PM3) was affecting overall productivity at the plant. As a result, the company decided to implement an ODR programme, cooperating closely with SKF as the acknowledged leader in this field.

Initially, a pilot project was set up with a steering group laying the foundation for launching the ODR programme.

“It is extremely important to be clear on everything and that your goals are well defined,” explains SKF ODR specialist Jani Markkanen.

Operator’s proactive role

ODR specialists from SKF ensured machinery operators received a two-hour theoretical introduction with a two-hour walk through on site and provided the reliability equipment needed. Designed to

empower machinery operators to play a proactive role in the maintenance process, operators received the SKF Microlog Inspector handheld computer with a wireless machine condition detector (WMCD) to record day-to-day readings such as data plots, notes and images from the PM3 machine. As well as recording data, this device was also used to alert operators of changes in machine condition, giving advanced warning of machine deterioration.

In addition, the powerful SKF Microlog Analyzer GX instrument was used by the plant’s maintenance team for more comprehensive on-the-spot data recording and analysis for specific areas of the PM3 machine. This information was then uploaded using the SKF @ptitude Inspector software package where the data can be further analysed, reported and shared across the plant. This predefined route of collecting machine data as well as visual inspection reports followed a more systematic approach at the plant, allowing trends to be monitored and potential problems to be reported to maintenance planners who can prioritise and plan the actions needed. It also enabled time for important issues to be discussed with machine shift operators and potential problems with the PM3 machinery to be identified.

Reducing unplanned stops

The use of the SKF Microlog Analyzer GX instrument has also allowed the maintenance team to work in a different way by focusing more on the critical assets and improving analysis to find the root cause of a problem.

In the first six months of implementation, around 20 critical failures were found, contributing to a reduction of unplanned stops by 0.5% during the first year.

Each of the 10 ODR inspection routes for the PM3 takes approximately 15 minutes to undertake, allowing the operators to fit this ongoing maintenance process into their schedule without any need for overtime.

The initial investment to implement the ODR programme paid for itself in the first month and due to its success, Stora Enso is now implementing it in the remaining Varkaus units in addition to the company’s other Finnish production sites.

Maximising productivity

“Looking forward, operator maintenance is one of our strategies and the ODR programme has provided a framework for improved inspection, recording of data, communication and response times that have led the Varkaus plant to maximise productivity levels, manage risk levels and minimise running costs,” concludes Juha Helkala, maintenance director for Stora Enso in Finland.


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