In the past, we had to read through hundreds of rows of maintenance and safety reporting data to get a good overview of the situation at a mill. It was time-consuming manual work, and valuable data could sometimes be overlooked. Together with an external provider, we have developed and launched our mill digital twin which has made our lives much safer and easier.
So, what exactly is a digital twin? In short, it’s a cloud-based software model that provides a detailed 3D replica of a mill. New data is continuously uploaded to the model, so you always have a clear picture of the current situation. A digital twin lets you visualise data in a realistic and meaningful way, mapped to the corresponding location in the model.
Safety and efficiency are two areas where digital twins can make a significant difference. For example, the software can provide a visual overview of tasks, orders, observations, risks and incidents. In addition, icons for safety-related items, such as fire extinguishers, can be displayed in their actual locations, and hazard areas can be clearly indicated.
The model is highly interactive, and users can easily filter the data by parameters such as mill unit, time period or type of notification. This makes it an ideal tool for mill managers, safety managers and operators to visualise their focus areas and priorities for the day.
In fact, the applications are virtually limitless. Any measurable parameter can be visualised, so we can provide valuable insights relevant to every function of the organisation. Digital twins also enable us to give realistic virtual mill tours, regardless of the visitor’s location, and offer flexible ways to onboard and train employees. Other potential applications include employee safety tracking, moisture and temperature monitoring, stock control – and many more.
Four mills in Poland and Finland are using the solution and have reported various gains, such as improved safety and reduced manual work. The digital twins have also increased operational transparency, enabling a faster reaction to potential issues. As a result, the mills have been able to reduce downtime and increase focus on value-adding tasks.
A global-scale rollout is planned, starting with ten new production units across Stora Enso.