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South African Pulp Producer Sappi Chooses ABB To Help Boost Output 

ABB will provide Sappi’s Vulindlela project with automation, electrification and instrumentation to future proof operations.

Sappi, the world’s largest producer of dissolving wood pulp, has chosen digital technology leader ABB to supply engineering, procurement and construction for the electrical, control and instrumentation portion of their project Vulindlela.

The project is an ambitious plan to increase mill production by approximately 14 percent while reducing the pulp mill’s environmental impact.

Due for completion in the winter of 2020, the project includes the design, supply, installation and commissioning of all electrical and automation equipment at Sappi’s Saiccor Mill located in Umkomaas, South Africa.

“Our ability to deliver a complete, multi-faceted solution, centered around a collaborative automation platform that supports the optimization of the entire production process, was key to securing this flagship order,” said John Manuell, Local Business Line Manager for South Africa, ABB Process Industries.

“We look forward to helping Sappi reduce its environmental impact with safe processes and equipment, as well as assisting in realizing significant production gains.”

Based on the ABB Ability™ System 800xA distributed control system (DCS), the automation solution is the first pulp and paper project to use the single channel, Ethernet-based Select IO, which enables the decoupling of project tasks.

Thiscan lead to a significant reduction in commissioning time and helps ensure on-time, on-budget project execution.

Additionally, the solution is complemented with software tools including Field Information Manager to help manage smart field devices and mobile workplaces that will give operators and production staff access to plant information from anywhere in the mill.

“A history of working successfully with ABB gave us full confidence in their ability to provide a complete solution that will help future proof our operations,” said Wayne Weston, Vulindlela Project Director, Sappi.

“As world leaders in dissolving wood pulp, we welcome this pioneering, integrated solution that will help us achieve our Project Vulindlela goals.”

Other ABB Ability™ digital solutions, such as Asset Management, Energy Management, Safety systems and Manufacturing Operations Management will help provide total visibility into, orchestration and control of Sappi Saiccor’s entire operation.

In addition to the automation platform, the scope includes the extension of the 132kV distribution infrastructure, the medium voltage reticulation and the process electrification.

Sappi Limited is a global leader in paper, paper pulp and dissolving wood pulp solutions, Sappi Limited (SAP – listed and in the Top 40 on the JSE), is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa; has over 12,000 employees; manufacturing operations on three continents, in seven countries (nine mills in Europe, three mills in America and four mills in South Africa) and customers in over 150 countries worldwide.


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