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“We at Stora Enso strive to make extensive use of the opportunities offered by digitalisation and test new technological solutions that will help boost operations and improve safety. The test use of an automated truck will give us more insight into the environmental and safety benefits and cost savings the new kind of vehicle can bring to our mill transports,” says Antti Suvinen, Director, Supply and Logistics at Stora Enso Wood Supply Finland.
A self-driving truck also improves occupational safety, especially when operating near wood chip piles and warehouses. In the future, the driver, who will operate from a remote control room, will also benefit from better ergonomics. The traffic safety along the vehicle’s route will improve thanks to new safety equipment, such as sensors and smart traffic lights. The automated truck is expected to reduce emissions, with the automatic system ensuring optimised engine operation and route selection. Reduced fuel consumption will also bring cost savings.
The maximum speed of the automated vehicle moving in Stora Enso’s Uimaharju mill area between the sawmill and the pulp mill is 20 kilometres per hour. The truck transports wood chips from the sawmill to the pulp mill, traveling the distance of some 1.4 kilometres about 15 times a day. The wood chips, which are a by-product of sawmilling, are used as raw material in pulp production. The testing of the vehicle will continue until the end of 2020. The tests will also shed some light on the impact of the weather conditions in North Karelia on the automated truck and the traffic control system assisting it.
“As in all of our operations, safety is the number one priority also in testing new technology. At the initial stages of the testing process, a driver will be present in the truck to make sure all goes well, and only later will the operation of the truck be controlled remotely,” says Antti Suvinen.
The testing of the automated truck is a joint project of Stora Enso and the wood chip transport operator Mantsinen Group. The smart control system and equipment for the vehicle are supplied by Hiab, which has been developing the system together with VTT. The safety work also involves InnoTrafik and VTT. In addition, Nokian Tyres is participating in the project, testing smart tyres equipped with Intuitu sensors.
Stora Enso’s Uimaharju Sawmill produces sawn timber. Located in the same mill area, Stora Enso’s Enocell Pulp Mill produces dissolving pulp and softwood pulp for the needs of, for example, the textile and paper industries. A total of approximately 300 people work in the mill area.