News archive 2003
Forchem relies on Scala and Patja
Heikki Kyyrö sees a classic example of how outsourcing can be applied at a new chemical plant.
Forchem relies on Scala and Patja
At the end of last year a modern tall oil fractionation plant was started up in Rauma, Finland, under the name of Forchem Oy, Finland. The plant is in many ways an excellent example of modern processing. The first special feature of the project is the investors’ confidence in a traditional industry. Some 70 million euros were invested in the company, which produces rosin and fatty acids from a by-product of pinewood pulp cooking. These products are used in paints and adhesives among other things.
Another cause of surprise was the rapid construction of the plant. Mr Martti Fredrikson, Forchem’s President and CEO, points out that the entire construction process took less than two years. The plant is environmentally friendly and fully automated.
The other initiator of the project, CFO Hannu Näsi, says that several outsourcing agreements were made during the construction process. One of these was for IT systems.
”Although commercial process control is relatively simple in the process industries, we wanted to outsource it in order to make sure everything would run perfectly down to the last detail.”
”Our choice for the supplier of the process control system was Fujitsu Invia, who offered us Scala software – Fujitsu Invia has already installed hundreds of these systems.”
”Fujitsu Invia also has a service called Patja, which they launched a few years ago to provide all the IT services a company needs, and this too suited Forchem well.”
There are many business software solutions available in Finland, so Forchem had plenty of options. As is well known in the IT sector, the little things count when you are choosing a solution. The major suppliers can usually provide a solution for most businesses from their range of products.
Director Hannu Näsi, who is responsible for financing and administration at Forchem, says that they were most impressed by the list of Scala users, many of which are companies similar to Forchem.
”It was also important that the software is widely used, which shows that it is not likely to have many defects. We have no wish to act as guinea pigs for brand new software.”
Scala – as its name implies - has always been considered a very flexible solution. Many major companies have used it in their foreign offices, because it is compatible with the software in their head office. Scala speaks the local language, too.
In the process industries, flexibility means easy interfacing with the computers used for controlling the production process.
In Forchem’s case, the process is somewhat special because it involves a product made by breaking down the raw material into fractions – i.e. by distillation.
Digital process control
The primary objective of the equipment used for process control is to ensure smooth production. Further goals include optimisation of speed, quality and all parameters that affect costs.
This was also understood by Rintekno and its subsidiary Systecon, which designed the Forchem plant. Systecon installed a digital bus system for Forchem, which allows data exchange between the intelligent field devices and the process control computer system.
Forchem’s digital DeltaV system developed by Emmerson Process Management is probably the finest automation system in the process industries in the Nordic countries.
Traditionally, ERP systems in the process industries have been built to accept infeed of data from the processes. Today the opposite is also true: The DeltaV system can send data outside the ERP system.
Forchem’s CFO, Hannu Näsi, says that the Scala solution supplied by Fujitsu Invia is also suitable for controlling the distillation process, in which the products are made by fractionating the raw material.