Co-operation and partnership is the basis for great service and customer satisfaction
An automated roll warehouse and kraft wrapping line by Pesmel were among the investments that Stora Enso decided to make at their Imatra Mills in Eastern Finland back in 2016. Aft er several years in full operation, we touched base with Marko Huuhtanen, Operating Manager at the coating mill, to hear about his experiences with the Pesmel solutions in practice.
Service is a team sport
Huuhtanen joined Stora Enso at the Imatra Mills soon after the Pesmel warehouse and packaging line solutions had been installed and started up in 2018. His role includes ensuring three key factors on site – safety, quality and efficiency. From a service and maintenance perspective he has to simultaneously look at the bigger picture and examine the details closely. “On a day-to-day basis, we need to ensure that processes and machinery are up and running. But at the same time, we are always looking ahead to see how we could improve process performance in the long run. There is always something that can be fine-tuned or done differently.”
In terms of daily service and maintenance, issues that arise are typically related to mechanical parts. “Moving parts require regular service and maintenance. That’s a given. Those service needs we are typically able to handle ourselves here at the mill,” Huuhtanen explains. The areas where Huuhtanen and his team turn to Pesmel’s Helpdesk, a 24/7 service included as part of their service agreement, are typically related to the software and automation side of things. “There is always someone on-call that knows the ins and outs of the solutions in use at the mill. Remote access ensures a rapid response time and quick troubleshooting every time.”
Always looking to do better
Pesmel’s Account Manager for Stora Enso Imatra, Ari Makinen, has been involved from the very beginning of the project. When asked, he expressed his satisfaction with the status of the customer relationship and the Pesmel solutions at the mill today. “Every solution we deliver is customized to the individual customer’s and site’s requirements,” he says. “It always takes time to achieve optimal performance. In close co-operation with Huuhtanen and his team, we have been able to eliminate any issues that we had early on. The many small improvements we have been able to make over the years add up to a considerable overall improvement over the solutions lifetime so far.”
“Together, we have already been able to improve the overall roll handling times at the warehouse.”Marko Huuhtanen, Operating Manager
Continuous development is a high priority for Stora Enso at the Imatra Mills. Huuhtanen and Mäkinen can both recollect numerous improvements that have been made over the years, from the loadbearing tires on the rolling carriages of the ARW to subtle software tweaks and updates. “Together we have already been able to improve the overall roll handling times at the warehouse. Next up are developments that will allow us to utilize the full capacity of our automated warehouse,” Huuhtanen says. “Those improvements will probably be achieved through developments in the operating system.”
Handle with care and accuracy
Pesmel’s on-site solutions cover just a fraction of the operations taking place. Even though the solutions are not directly involved in the production process of the final commercial end product, they are located at extremely vital junction points of the overall process. Wrapping, storage and loading functions are important in terms of the logistics of the mill, but they are also areas where rolls are physically handled by automated machinery and product quality and integrity must be ensured. “In many cases rolls leave the automated warehouse without visual inspection by a human. We have to be able to rely on the technology to handle our valuable assets with the care required,” Huuhtanen explains.
“We have to be able to rely on the [Pesmel] technology to handle our valuable assets with the care required.”Marko Huuhtanen, Operating Manager
The reliability and repeatability of the automated processes have been positive. Any damage resulting from packing or storage has been extremely rare. Product recalls resulting from damage caused by the storage cars or cranes are virtually unheard of. “Our TransRoll solution does not grab or pinch rolls to lift them, like your typical overhead cranes do. We lift each roll gently from below. Regardless of roll size or weight, we are able to handle multiple rolls at a time with the utmost care,” Mäkinen explains.
Good service. Bright future.
According to Huuhtanen, the overall level of satisfaction with the Pesmel solutions and the co-operation between the two companies is at a high level. He gives particular thanks to the fast reaction times and utmost flexibility of the service team. Their professionalism can be seen on-site during scheduled service shutdowns as well as through the remote ad hoc assistance provided through the Helpdesk. He is looking forward to continuing to work towards ever-improved safety, quality and efficiency with his counterparts at Pesmel.
“I believe that digitalization, and automation in particular, will have a profound effect on mill performance in the future.”Marko Huuhtanen, Operating Manager
Huuhtanen sums up the discussion with a few last words. “Our investment into Pesmel technologies has already been able to improve the efficiency of our in-mill logistics. By making sure we can make the most of all the innovations we have at our disposal, I am sure we will be able to continue improving the efficiency of every part of our mill, including storage, handling and wrapping. I believe that digitalization, and automation in particular, will have a profound effect on mill performance in the future.”