Ilim Group tests Digital Twin Technology of ANDRITZ at its Mill in Ust-Ilimsk

Ilim Group has completed testing of the Digital Twin technology at RB3 in Ust-Ilimsk.

Группа «Илим» апробировала технологию цифровых двойников на комбинате в Усть-Илимске

The technology implies creation of a digital copy of all processes and allows to determine an optimal equipment operating mode. Implementation of RB3 Digital Twin will allow Ilim to reduce its production costs by more than USD 400 thousand per year through optimized resource utilization. Project investments totaled USD 700 thousand.

RB3, Metris UX/X integrated Solution using Digital Twin and ACE, tests were performed in November 2021. The recovery boiler was running independently for several days and the system itself set process parameters. The Digital Twin controlled RB operation using Advanced Control Expert (ACE) system.

Ilim Group proceeds with implementation of a large-scale project involving implementation of Digital Twins and ACE at its new KLB Mill in Ust-Ilimsk based on the gained experience.

“Similar solutions will be applied at all key facilities of the KLB Mill, namely at the KLB machine, evaporation plant, RB4 as well as in the Cooking and Washing Areas. A medium fidelity model of the entire Ilim’s facilities in Ust-Ilimsk, i.e facilities of the old Mill and new KLB Mill, will be developed to ensure a complete understanding of the Ust-Ilimsk Mill material balance”, said Pavel Yurchenko, Vice-President, Ilim Group. “In the long term it is planned to implement the Digital Twin technology at other Ilim’s locations. This will enable us not only to significantly reduce costs and resources and increase equipment operational independence, but also to improve our environmental performance”.

“The implemented solution is an important step to develop the concept of an autonomous production process in the Company”, emphasized Irina Pirogova, Director, IT, Ilim Group. “It allows to minimize human factor impact on the decision making with regard to process management and ensure more efficient equipment operation. The pilot project appeared to be promising both in terms of replication of this solution on other Ilim’s recovery boilers and implementation of the Digital Twin technology at other process areas”.

RB3 the integrated Solution based on Metris UX/X - Digital Twin Technology allowed to improve RB operation efficiency and increase green liquor recovery rate, thus reducing the need for purchased chemicals. Besides, the technology also allowed to increase average RB steam temperature and reduce temperature variations. The Mill consumes the steam generated during RB operation to produce electrical and thermal energy. Moreover, RB3 Digital Twin contributed to reduction of steam consumption at soot blowers.

RB3 Digital Twin was engineered by ANDRITZ, Austria-based international technology group, which is one of the leading manufacturers of process facilities for the global P&P industry.

“The project represents the perfect combination of domain knowledge and a standardized IIOT Metris UX/X platform solution”, said Erich Gatterer, Director Business Development, ANDRITZ AG. The Solution is based on a high-fidelity simulation model, combined with an optimizer which is built on a profit margin calculation, with high process accuracy. The simulated values are transferred continuously via Advanced Control Experts (ACE), which are responsible for stabilization and optimization of the production process, to DCS and enable autonomous operation of the plant.

“ANDRITZ is one of the leading suppliers of IIOT solutions for the Pulp and Paper industry, and they clearly play more important role for providing greater value to our clients. We are especially delighted that this successful project is implemented in Russia. We see great interest among our customers and great potential to bring this additional profit to them and Russian Pulp and Paper Industry”, says Sergey Malkov, CEO of ANDRITZ LLC.

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At present, the Company has about 40 IT projects in the pipeline, which comprise a common digital strategy. The project portfolio includes the projects focused on creation of a verified database, development of digital twins, AI-based systems and technologies used to create new products.

*Maximum capacity of RB3, which was installed in 1987, is 1,540 tpd of black liquor solids and its maximum steam generation capacity totals 229.7 tph. In 2018, the recovery boiler was retrofitted to increase the capacity up to 1,750 tpd of black liquor solids and change black liquor burning mode