Last Monday, the CEOs of Södra and Valmet met for the last time before the mill shutdown. The final leg of the Expansion Värö project is approaching and on 7 May, all production at Södra Cell Värö will cease, followed by five intensive weeks of dismantling the old machinery, and installing new and larger machinery.
Every month throughout the course of the project, the managements of Södra and Valmet have held regular meetings to follow up the investment and ensure that the project is on schedule. A major process now lies ahead when the five-week shutdown commences on 7 May, and an additional workforce of about 2,700 contractors will arrive every day in addition to the existing employees.
“The shutdown will bring two major challenges – the digester and the machine hall. Removing the old drying cabinet and installing a new one in such a short time will need a world record in advanced installation. But we’re aiming for a world record,” says Pasi Laine, CEO of Valmet.
Largest project in Europe
Valmet is the main supplier of machinery to Expansion Värö, entailing an investment of more than SEK 4 billion, which is also Valmet’s largest project in Europe right now. Valmet has several sub-projects at Värö that are progressing well, but maintaining the project schedule has proven a real challenge. When the project started, Södra and Valmet signed a partnering agreement to define how they intended to work together.”It is vital that both companies share a common vision and a focus on health and safety, and can engage in a positive and frank dialogue. That makes it easier to contact each other and discuss issues that crop up along the way,” says Södra’s CEO Lars Idermark.
Pasi Laine continues:
“Working on the Steering Committee and with a partnering agreement has taught us a lot about the project, about our own organisation and about solving challenges. Södra is a demanding customer but as a company, we need customers that challenge us in order to continue growing and evolving. This project involves challenges, which is why we will have to work so hard to maintain the schedule and deliver in line with Södra’s expectations.”