Valmet will soon know the exact location of its paper machine rolls
Valmet Automation Oy is deploying the Exafore Horizon positioning system for tracking the position of its paper machine roller parts. The system reports locations with an accuracy of 10 cm. Locating large spare parts quickly and easily is critical, because Valmet’s customer base is worldwide and the company’s service points are located in various countries. After commissioning, rolls will be a cinch to locate in the warehouse. In addition, both the customer and personnel will know precisely where the roller is being used.
“Previously, customers tracked roller locations themselves. This occasionally caused challenges in locating the rolls in the warehouse. There came a need to find a suitable asset tracking option,” explains Mika Karaila, Research Director at Valmet Automation Oy.
Exafore’s solution shows immediately whether or not the roll is in the warehouse or installed in a customer’s paper machine. The roll’s location within the machine is also precisely indicated. This allows Valmet’s analytics to optimize roller maintenance and use time. At the same time, responsibility for recording information about the rollers is lifted from the customer’s shoulders. This makes things easier for both parties.
Exafore’s strengths are precision and good value for money
Valmet tested several different positioning systems before settling on Exafore. According to Karaila, the Achilles heel of both WiFi and Bluetooth-based positioning systems is their inaccuracy.
“These systems suffered from 3–5 meter jumps in accuracy,” Karaila explains. “With such a large margin for error, the system may report that the part is in an entirely different room or on the wrong shelf.”
UWB-based Exafore Horizon is notably more reliable: the system displays location data within 10 cm. In addition, separate base stations can be used to cover the entire area of a large industrial property. Both are important criteria for Valmet. The total cost of the system is also critical.
“Ilkka Saastamoinen, of Exafore, offered us a pair of kits for testing. We’d tested a couple of solutions beforehand, but those proved inaccurate. Exafore is more precise – and less costly. The range of base stations also proved to be much better compared to our Bluetooth options, which is also a plus. The value for money is good.”
Smooth cooperation, from initial planning to deployment
At the beginning of collaboration, Exafore explained their pricing and assessed Valmet’s needs. From there, the company began to craft a solution. During the process, Exafore also arranged demos at Valmet’s premises to demonstrate the functionality of the positioning system in practice.
Valmet is now equipped with a positioning system that meets its needs and works well for asset tracking. For now, the system includes five base stations and 50 location tags.
“We’re currently testing and integrating the system in Tampere. After integration, we’ll install them for customers with a paper machine.”
When it comes to customers, Karaila highlights the HSE (Health, Safety, Environment) monitoring of dangerous work areas that Exafore enables.
“If a customer has an emergency situation – for example at a chemical or power plant – and needs to evacuate, Exafore’s positioning system can be used to determine if someone has been left inside. The individual can then be rescued.”
Exafore is worth recommending
For Karaila, the road to this point has been long – but he’s satisfied with the results. Assistance and technical support have also been available throughout the process.
“The product is excellent and our collaboration has gone well. I recommend Exafore,” he concludes.