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Until lately process industry has operated in an environment of reasonably predictable costs of energy. However, the recent turmoil in prices of natural gas and electricity is only adding to the impact of longer-term global trends in the energy markets, creating challenges to the industry.
At the moment, we are getting a lot of questions on this theme. How can the MES system improve the efficiency at the workstation under normal production conditions? How can the system support the employee during disruptions?
Wind farms are being built all over Finland, perhaps with the exception of the easternmost regions, and solar power is gaining popularity, both among private households and on an industrial scale. At the same time, Fingrid is building new connections and substations. Grid energy storage is increasing at an accelerating pace, especially in terms of capacity. These developments are somehow linked.
It is likely that everything in the universe fluctuates. Up and down, forward and back. This also applies to the pace of manufacturing of industrial products, the production rate. In all processes. At times, the process comes to a standstill, then it is re-started and accelerated, reaching top speed, then overspeed. The process is slowed down, fast and slow speed changes are made, it runs at a crawl and stops. The process is then started again and accelerated. Why?
At power plants, the process data generated by control automation is widely collected and stored, but is the collected data utilised to its full extent?
Surely, it would be easier to run the paper and pulp mills, which are so important to Finland, if all those involved in the work had a common picture of the current situation of the mill. Most of the time, however, there is no such common picture. Yet, we have the technology for it.