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Finch Paper Migrates Legacy HMI to Experion®®PKS to Meet Operational Objectives

Finch Paper is in the middle of a 10-year plan to upgrade control technology from one end of our mill to another. With Honeywell’s assistance, the money we save or make from our improvements is funding the next phases of the project.

– Steve Padasak, Engineering & Process Control Superintendent, Finch Paper LLC

Background

6 FinchFinch Paper LLC is a pulp and paper mill in Glen Falls, NY. The company produces approximately 700 tons of high-quality uncoated text and cover, opaque, and digital papers each day. Finch papers are well known for their formation, smoothness, brightness and opacity, all of which contribute to superior results of printed materials. The fully integrated mill is located on the historic Hudson River, at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains.

Finch Paper manages regional forestland, converts logs into pulp, and pulp into paper. The company’s integrated model lowers costs, lessens its impact on the environment, and brings a level of quality control beyond that of relying on outside suppliers and resources.

Benefits

By collaborating with Honeywell Process Solutions, Finch’s Glen Falls mill achieved a phased migration of its legacy human-machine interface (HMI) to the Experion® Process Knowledge System (PKS) with very little downtime. Honeywell’s proven migration solution, coupled with an experienced project team, enabled the migration in the mill’s powerhouse area to be completed on time and on budget.

Challenge

Finch Paper is competing as a single, integrated mill in an increasingly competitive national market, and must deal with business issues such as rising labor costs and high fixed fees. The company is seeking to address its competitive challenges – and become a world-class paper producer – by employing state-of-the-art automation technology.

Finch identified several critical operational objectives at its pulp and paper mill, including the ability to increase safety and productivity. At the same time, a concerted effort to glean the most pertinent process data available had to be undertaken.

Over the years, the Glen Falls operation had been divided into separate entities of control, with each area making its own decisions regarding automation investments. This resulted in a myriad of systems that were incompatible and difficult to maintain.

Burdened with an assortment of outdated controls, Finch wanted to migrate to a more advanced automation platform in order to optimize its performance while also protecting people and assets.

Included in Finch Paper’s 10-year control system replacement program was the power boiler area. The existing distributed control system (DCS) for this operation employed a nearly obsolete HMI. Due to budgetary constraints and a lack of extended downtime, the decision was made to retain the field I/O and replace operator stations with Experion HMI technology.

Solution

Migration of the powerhouse HMI was part of Finch’s overall program of control system modernization based on Experion PKS. In addition, the company was already engaged in a service contract with Honeywell and had first-hand experience with its people and their capabilities.

The Experion HMI solution provides access to mill data that was not available prior to the upgrade. The operator stations offer sequence of events alarm summary, a large number of standard displays, and the ability to connect separate plants together for collaboration and real-time decision-making.

In addition, Honeywell’s Uniformance™ PHD software is now used as the historian to log plant data. PHD data can be called up directly in Experion trends alongside locally collected history to obtain business related information and lab data.

Results

Thanks to Finch Paper’s ongoing modernization efforts, the following results have been achieved at the Glen Falls mill:

  • Better efficiency and productivity, with operators able to make faster, more informed decisions.
  • Ability to input process data and access as needed with Honeywell Uniformance historian providing management with a way to track and manage their business.
  • Quick transition to the new HMI due to the use of similar methodologies for system graphics, layout and design.
  • Improved operator confidence directly correlated to increased effectiveness.
  • Increased connectivity and information sharing capability throughout the mill, resulting in enhanced business performance.

About Experion PKS

Experion PKS integrates an advanced automation platform and innovative software applications to improve users’ business performance and peace of mind. Unifying people with process, business and asset management, it helps process manufacturers increase profitability and productivity. Experion PKS is the only automation system that focuses on people – making the most of the knowledge they hold. By integrating disparate data across facilities, making the most of resources and people, and feeding it all into a unified automation system, users can achieve an operation that’s more proactive, efficient and responsive.

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