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How can we ensure industrial resilience during the coming winter?

Author Teemu Turunen
Posted on

The current energy crisis has forced us to think about how to secure critical infrastructure and manufacturing operations. Concrete measures include the implementation of emergency fuel systems and moving away from natural gas in production plants. We should also examine the threat scenarios and resilience of our own activities more broadly once we have overcome the acute situation.

 

The term resilience has become widely used in various contexts in the media – first in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic and especially now, after Russia started a war of aggression. In general, resilience refers to the ability to withstand crises and recover from them.

Industrial resilience is also the ability to operate during a potentially protracted crisis and to develop operations in ways that ensure coming back even stronger after the crisis. I find this aspect of operational development very important, because there will always be new crises, and learning from past ones allows us to be better prepared to face future crises.

One good framework for a more holistic approach to resilience in general, and especially to drawing up measures, is the four-step model used to promote cybersecurity: Predict, Prevent, Detect, Respond.

Resilience starts in design

When investing in new production plants or developing existing ones, factors that improve resilience should be taken into consideration already at the planning stage. It is only natural that taking cybersecurity into account at a very early stage is very important, as today nearly all production is dependent on information networks to some extent.

In addition, the availability of various automation components has recently been subject to delays of several years, at worst. For this reason, it may be necessary to design alternative solutions when considering new investments, in order not to be entirely dependent on a single supplier.

Buffer capacity for increased operational flexibility

Simple ways of increasing the “physical resilience” of an investment at the design stage include

  • several parallel energy production methods
  • ensuring sufficient backup power capacity
  • duplication of critical systems and
  • an optional ring main unit for electricity distribution.

Operational flexibility can also be promoted by designing sufficient buffer and accumulator capacity to be able to continue the process after a deviation occurs. This buffer capacity may make it possible to avoid periods of peak electricity pricing. This way, equipment such as dairy refrigerators or refiners of board mills do not have to run at times when energy is expensive.

Making use of inexpensive energy with smart management

Adding predictive and intelligent management to storage and buffer capacity enables the use of these systems designed for disruptive situations even under normal conditions, to improve the efficiency of business operations.

Predictive management of energy-intensive processes enables activities to be concentrated in hours when energy is inexpensive. This is a good example of how crisis preparedness can strengthen operations further even after a crisis.

Naturally, we cannot be prepared for everything, and the development of resiliency is always a continuous process. It is important to remember that investing in design and technology in the planning stage will always be significantly less expensive than altering systems after the fact – or especially during an ongoing crisis.

Teemu Turunen

Phil. Lic. (Env. Science)

Teemu Turunen has extensive experience in energy and process consulting in several industries. He currently works as Business Development Director in the energy and process business area. His focus is to lead the development of sustainable solutions for future needs.

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New fiber from textile waste – Elomatic helps Infinited Fiber Company in their important mission

Author Elomatic Oy
Posted on

Infinited Fiber Company’s technology is globally unique. Thanks to it, textile waste can be transformed into high-quality fiber for the use in the textile industry. Elomatic has played a key role in building and developing the pilot production, and now the companies will continue their cooperation within Infinited Fiber Company’s factory project in Kemi.

 

Did you know that every second, a truckload of textile waste ends up either delivered to a landfill or to be burned?* Infinited Fiber Company offers a solution to this: their patented technology allows transforming textile waste into new, cotton-like textile fiber that can be used to make hoodies, jeans, shirts and dresses. Many big global brands like adidas, H&M and Tommy Hilfiger already sell clothes made from this fiber.

Infinited Fiber operates currently in pilot production scale. A production plant is planned to be built in Kemi, and the implementation phase will start in late 2023, followed by an approximately two-year project before the plant can be commissioned.

Backed by revolutionary technology

Infinited Fiber Company’s success is based on a technology whose development started decades ago. The main benefit of the technology is that cotton-rich recycled textiles can be used as the raw material for cellulose carbamate. The company was established in 2016 to commercialize this invention.

Regulation has also helped the company to thrive. The European Commission made collecting textile waste mandatory by the year 2025 and in Finland separate collection of textile waste will start already at the beginning of 2023. Naturally, the collected textiles must be put to use, and Infinited Fiber Company’s solution is a prime example of this.

Elomatic has been a world-class trusted partner for Infinited Fiber Company

Elomatic has played a key role in building and developing Infinited Fiber Company’s pilot plants. For example, the company has helped in choosing the equipment for various parts of the process and consulted on how to best combine them. Over the years, the cooperation has expanded to the conceptual and basic design of the Kemi plant.

Elomatic’s first commission was conceptual design of a carbamate line in Jyväskylä. Elomatic already had previous experience in carbamation equipment.

– Carbamation is a key part of our process. If we did not have a world-class partner in that area, we would not be able to create value for our own customers, says Petri Alava, CEO and co-founder of Infinited Fiber Company.

“Elomatic’s desire to be an active participant in creating something new has been very significant. That is key in supporting sustainable development and solving global challenges.”

Elomatic’s experience has shown

Elomatic has several decades of experience from the process industry. According to Tero Taipale, COO of Infinited Fiber Company, this has proven to be tremendously useful along the way.

– We have found good equipment solutions. Identifying all of them by ourselves would have been a difficult process, says Taipale.

Taipale also commends Elomatic’s flexible and solution-oriented approach to work as well as the company’s versatile expertise, especially in bio product and chemical equipment technology. Elomatic’s Project Manager Heikki Pirilä says that Elomatic’s team has been able to solve all the development issues Infinited Fiber Company has brought up.

– This is new technology, after all, and we have had to understand what is important and then identify suitable solutions, he says.

 The two companies are joined by their will to create something new

Infinited Fiber Company aims for the global market and intends to license their technology to other companies. Fiber is being produced for commercial sale already during the pilot phase.

– We have always been able to trust in Elomatic’s professionalism and everything has run precisely and smoothly, says Taipale, summing up.

According to Taipale, Elomatic’s desire to be an active participant in creating something new has been very significant. That is key in supporting sustainable development and solving global challenges.

Pirilä is excited to continue in the project.

– This is entirely new on a global scale and I am very excited to get to manage this project on Elomatic’s behalf, he says.

 

*Ellen MacArthur Foundation, A new textiles economy: redesigning fashion’s future, 2017
Elomatic Oy

Elomatic is a leading European consulting and engineering company and a global software provider. We focus on solutions that improve the well-being of people and the environment.

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