Valmet has launched a new performance center in Appleton, Wisconsin, that will serve board, paper and tissue markets in North America with Industrial Internet and remote support capabilities.
“We decided to launch the Appleton VPC (Valmet Performance Center), as our customers in North America have demonstrated a need for this type of service. The global COVID-19 pandemic has also changed the way we work and engage with customers. To give an idea of the scale, just in the first half of the year, we have had over 300 cases of remote support and collaboration with our customers. That is an average of about 12 customer collaboration cases a week, driving the need for a new service center in Appleton,” says Byron Muhs, Business Manager, Performance and Reliability Agreements, North America, Valmet.
Like all of Valmet’s eight performance centers around the world, the Appleton center has a core function for closer collaboration with customers to serve them better. To facilitate this, the VPC is set up with a secure platform for remote connectivity and advanced analytics tools. In addition to the performance center staff, other Valmet experts from around the world can be involved virtually, acting as a bridge between the customer’s experts and the global expert network.
Some of the services and key technologies offered include on-demand remote expert support, remote monitoring and optimization for both performance and reliability and advanced analytics applications.
“If there is a decrease in health of the machine or the winder, we notify the mill team to discuss a plan to resolve the problem. We also take preventative measures so that unwanted events never happen. In some ways we are like virtual surgeons, assisting an operation on a patient, or even leading the team with robotic tools from afar,” says Austin Cornelissen, Automation Engineer, North America, Valmet.
The Appleton center will typically monitor data from the paper machine headbox through the winder, set up to alert customers about potential failure. When anomalies happen, Valmet’s experts review issues with customers live, following up with action plans as needed.
“I am very proud of the team members in Appleton who have worked so hard to design, develop and implement the technology that we’re providing to our customers. I look forward to seeing the continued success via our digital and remote capabilities here,” says David Eapen, Manager, Valmet Industrial Internet, North America.