Automating a Swedish pulp production plant

Nicola Brittain

How a pulp plant mill in Sweden has successfully automated and streamlined its processes.

Sweden-based pulp and paper manufacturer Sodra Cell has embarked on a new project that aims to develop new levels of efficiency, engagement and digitalisation at its bleach plant mill in Varo.

The project involves a new deal with automation specialist ABB that will see it implement an advanced process control system for pulp production.

Södra Cell claims to run some of the world’s most modern and high-tech pulp mills, and the ambition is to operate the mills in an even more streamlined way.

ABB has therefore provided additional functionality for the digital control system (DCS) via its ABB Ability System 800xA through the implementation of advanced process control (APC).

Meeting needs through automation

ABB’s process automation technology will electrify and digitalise industrial operations that address a wide range of essential needs – from supplying energy, water and materials, to producing goods and transporting them to market.

The solution was previously successfully implemented at Södra Cell’s pulp mill in Mönsterås, Sweden, where digesters and bleach controls were optimised resulting in improved process stability and reduced resource consumption.

“We look forward to working with ABB again and we expect the same good cooperation and results as was experienced during the implementation of the three APC controls at our sister mill in Mönsterås, Sweden,” said Marie Boman, Södra Cell’s project manager at the mill in Värö.

Close collaboration with departments

The APC implementation includes close collaboration with the operations and process departments at the mill. In addition, the ABB team of experts performed operational and process analysis, development and verification of models, implementation in the control system as well as training and handover to the operating organisation. The delivery is planned to launch imminently.

Martin Björnmalm, local business line manager of the pulp and paper division says: “The integration of our advanced process control system at the Värö mill is set to enhance operational efficiency and sustainability, marking a significant step in our ongoing collaboration.”


The integration of APC into the existing operator environment, ABB Ability System 800xA, provides strengthened opportunities for operators to run an automated system that is able to predict outcomes, thereby providing the opportunity to optimise and prioritise crucial operational processes in the bleach plant based on data-driven decisions. The APC solution is one of several examples where existing ABB systems are being expanded with new functionalities that improve  profitability, efficiency and the working environment.


Expected results for the mill in Värö are similar improvements achieved in previous implementation for Södra Cell’s mill in Mönsterås. There, results could be described as a more stable optimised bleaching process with reduced variation of brightness and reduced chemical consumption as well as improved digesting processes.

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