Canadian Biomass Magazine

Irving ready to begin simulation training for new digester

October 7, 2015
By Pulp & Paper Canada

October 7, 2015 - The current phase of the Irving Pulp & Paper mill modernization project is approximately 87 per cent complete, the company reports.

The new equipment and technology is on schedule for commissioning and start-up by March 2016. The project is part of a $450 million modernization.

Operators at the mill are preparing for the new digester equipment with simulation training planned for October.

“We’ve invested in training software very similar to flight simulator technology,” said Rob Wilcox, senior electrical engineer, Irving Pulp and Paper. “The virtual control system simulates the entire process, complete with all of the flows, pressures, and temperatures. We’ve programmed simulations for the digester operator to start-up the digester, fill it with chips, introduce an upset condition, and have him learn how to adjust. This allows us to simulate operation before we are actually able to use the digester itself.”

Wilcox is currently the electrical, instrument and automation advisor for the pulp mill modernization project.


“One of the emerging technologies that we are going to be using is motor control over the Ethernet,” Wilcox said. “Some of the new instruments are able to do their own diagnostics, and we are now able to get that information back through the control system, into a massive management program. It will give us a predictive maintenance schedule; we will be able to receive alerts in advance, without losing production.”

Wilcox continues: “We have a very good work force here. There are a lot of younger technologists that are just gobbling up this technology and it’s great.”

The current phase of the modernization project has created about 450 direct and indirect construction jobs on-site. To date, JDI has awarded more than $64 million in contracts to 124 New Brunswick companies since the beginning of the modernization last spring.

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