Numerola is never short of modelling expertise no matter how challenging the project
Valmet is world-class expert in the manufacture of paper machines. More than half of all paper is produced with Valmet machines. Since we compete in the world championship league, we require our partners, too, to be highly proficient in what they do.
Our cooperation with Numerola’s experts began in the early 1990s when I was the project development lead for the headboxes of Valmet paper machines. In the first project, we modelled the operation of a headbox, which helped us improve its efficiency. Encouraged by the positive experience, we spread the word about the benefits of modelling to other paper machine segments and utilised the process successfully in the development of the calender and press, for example.
We were ahead of our time as we took to modelling 15 years before it became a mainstream thing in industry. The infrastructure and data collection technology of paper machines has developed significantly since the early 2000s. A paper machine is a very complicated process with plenty of elements to model and optimise. We in product development still have a need for high-quality modelling and simulation tools.
Trusted product development partner with that little something extra
Numerola is our trusted partner, and we have been utilising their mathematical expertise for two decades now. Their experts know modelling and can tell us what is possible and what is not. This why they can keep their promises. We are familiar with Numerola’s capabilities and their way of working. When a need for modelling has come up in our product development, we have turned to Numerola. They are already acquainted with the special characteristics of paper machines and the needs of product development, which means that very little information exchange is required to get the work started.
I know from experience that Numerola makes every effort to ensure that the end result meets the requirements of the order, and the company has never been short of expertise no matter how challenging the project. Numerola’s experts have a desire to expand their expertise and solve new problems. They provide that little bit of extra knowledge and competence compared to their competitors. Our strength is paper machine technology, but when we need in-depth modelling expertise, we purchase it from Numerola. We have relied on Numerola’s excellent modelling proficiency in the planning of our product development investments. The cooperation has provided us with information and food for thought.
Aiming to create a digital twin of a paper machine
Our cooperation has now reached a new phase that will involve constructing a digital twin of a paper machine and developing services for the industrial internet. Since the paper machine is a highly complex process, creating a digital twin and conducting the necessary data analyses will present plenty of challenges in the coming years.
With the digital twin, we will be able to simulate and optimise the operation of a paper machine by means of a fully featured digital counterpart. We can also use it to shed light on paper machine processes that have thus far been unreachable in terms of measurement and optimisation. The process of creating the digital twin will progress one small step at a time due to the immense complexity of the paper machine.
Currently, we are working with Numerola to reduce the energy consumption of paper machine components, for example. In summary, you could say that the aim of our cooperation is to improve the efficiency, quality and reliability of the paper production process. We want to use modelling and data to develop the capability of Valmet’s paper machines to produce more value with less resources.