Blog post March 23
Some of you might recognize me as the Energy Engineer who figured out if it was possible to run the mill's steam supply without burning any fuel. In 2012, when I had worked as an energy engineer for 5 years, I got that question. The answer led to an exciting conversion project of the entire mill. I was involved in the entire journey, from ideas of increased energy recovery to implementing measures that ended with the boilers where we fired 400 GWh of fuel per year, were taken out of operation in 2014. As the first paper mill in the world, Hallsta steam supply can now be managed without any fuel combustion.
I come from Stockholm and started at KTH in 1997 where I stayed a few years after my chemical engineering degree. I majored in energy technology and later worked both as a consultant in Stockholm and on the supplier side in CHP. In 2007 I started working at Holmen and Hallsta paper mill. I moved from an apartment in suburb to a house on Väddö. It felt a little strange to move out to the countryside, far from all street lights, and after my first year in Roslagen I wondered what I had done. As a private person, I am not so inclined to change, but now Norrtälje municipality is "home" to me and my wife and our three children are native "rose spikes".
At work, I look for excitement and want to be involved in change. For 2.5 years I have been working in production where new things are constantly happening and where change is part of everyday life. In the next section I will tell you a little more about Hallsta and how my colleagues and I work together.
Blog post March 24
Today we are around 360 people working at Hallsta paper mill. The mill is large to the surface, as seen in the picture below, taken from the north. The wood comes in from the north and paper leaves the mill at the south end, where it is loaded onto a boat or driven by car.
Everything in the production process before the paper machine, including incoming water, steam and wastewater, is included in the Massa section. We sit in an office on the north side of the mill with our maintenance staff. The image below describes the main processes of the production process for pulp supply up to the paper machines.
I work as a production engineer with responsibility from chipped wood chips to bleached pulp pumped to PM12 (paper machine 12). Apart from me a technician and two shifting operators also work in this part of the process. The operators rotate within several sections of the pulp section so that there can be about 30 different operators that I work with. Since you rarely meet your shifting colleagues, it is very important that you communicate in a good way. To inform each other we have meetings in the operating room and talk through a system called ProTAK (log book).
Section pulp is divided into 4 different areas of responsibility. As an engineer and technician, you work together in your area to solve problems that emerge and to develop the process to work even better. If problems arise that you cannot solve, there is often another person who can help, you never feel alone. Many discussions takes place at the coffee table together with the various engineers, technicians and the maintenance staff who are in the same house. If something is not working properly or if you want an extra control of something then maintenance and lab are close at hand and can help. When problems arise that need to be investigated more in detail or if investment is required, we involve Development or the Project Department. In the next post, I will tell you what a day at work can look like.
Blog post March 27
Join me for a day at work! Since Corona is affecting our everyday life right now, I have chosen to tell you about a day a few weeks ago to give you a better insight to what a normal Friday might look like ...
On Fridays, just before the weekend, I always hope that everything goes well. You want to leave for the weekend without having any loose ends that could be an obstacle to my colleagues that have the shifts over the weekend.
I started my day at 6:30. The early start was self-chosen and gave me time to update myself before the first meeting with maintenance at 07:15 where urgent jobs for the day are discussed. This day there was no urgent task to attend to for my area of responsibility so there was time, before the meeting, to talk to my technician about problems that had been and plans for the day. During the meeting with Maintenance, we talked about a trial to bleach the manufactured pulp in a new way that we were going to do during the day.
At 07:45, we had a meeting with the operators who were on their first shift after their leave. At the meeting, everyone that was present in the section met in the operating room to review what was new and what was planned. There were 6 shift employees plus an additional 12 working daytime who were present at the meeting. Some employees from the Development Department also showed up because of the trial with the new bleaching.
After the meeting, I had an opportunity to talk to the operators a little more in depth about what had been going on during the night. It turned out there was a counterbar to a plug screw that had ended up in the wrong position so that the counterbar could not run. It doesn't happen very often and is easy to fix if you know what to do.
My technician had also prepared for the installation of a pressure sensor after a pump that caused problems. Therefore, the operators had stopped the pump and secured part of the process so that the pressure sensor could be mounted. After starting the pump, I checked the pressure which turned out to be too low. The pressure at design flow should be 3.0 bar but it was only 1.5 bar as shown below.
I then spent some time contacting the project manager for the project where the pump was installed and describing the problem. The task of the project manager was then to pass on information to the supplier so that the problem could be solved without Holmen having to bear the cost. When this was done, my workday had ended, and it was time to wish the operators at the afternoon shift a pleasant weekend.
Blog post March 30
Working at Holmen is great in many ways. I thought it sounded extreme when I learned that the average employment time was close to 20 years at Hallsta Paper Mill when I started 12 years ago. Maybe people stay this long because there are always new things to learn and that no day is the same. For my own part, I feel that there is always opportunity for development both on a personal level as well as in the process you work with. The company is also constantly developing to be better and more sustainable.
Over the years I have done many different things such as strategic investigations, large and small projects and I have also worked in different parts of the operating organization. To some extent, I have been able to influence my role and what I think is fun to work with, even though I have had a clear area of responsibility in my position.
Holmen feels like a small company even though there are many employees. After working for 12 years, I feel confident that management is developing the company with a sustainable and long-term perspective. Having a stable owner also feels good. All this probably means that I and many others stay at Holmen for at least 20 years.
Blog post April 3
This will be my last blog post. During my blog period I have avoided writing to much about Corona and how the risk of spreading infection has changed our business. As you understand the impact is large and people avoid meeting in large groups as we might do under normal circumstances. When I write this post I am working from home. Something that does not disrupt the business too much as long as there are healthy employees on site that I can keep in touch with.
I hope you have gained a little insight to my role as Production Engineer at Hallsta paper mill.