CP Kelco is a part of the North American Huber Group and a globally significant manufacturer of carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), which acts, for instance, as a thickener and emulsifier in food products. CP Kelco’s factory in Äänekoski has been using Wedge since 2012.
“Wedge has been an excellent investment for us,” says the factory’s Operations Director Jukka Kivimäki.
He explains, “We have tried other systems, but their properties do not match those of Wedge. The competing products are mainly trending tools, but Wedge offers us so much more.”
Efficiency and improved quality
A delighted Kivimäki reports,
“Wedge has helped us cut our wastage by 2%. That may seem like a small figure, but for us it means savings of millions of euros – i.e., really significant amounts of money.”
For example, CP Kelco utilizes Wedge efficiency views for all personnel. They have allowed concrete visual demonstration of how a well-functioning process affects the company’s result and cash flow, also for operations employees.
“Wedge has enabled us to further optimize our operations. It is in a league of its own with its data-processing and visualization functions,” concludes Kivimäki.
In addition, CP Kelco appreciates the opportunities for decision-making based on data from Wedge and for related discussions with, for instance, suppliers of devices, raw materials, and energy. When these discussions are based on real-time data, no room remains for beliefs and opinions to influence decision-making.
Wedge as a tool for process development
Kimmo Vesanen, Innovation Manager for Process R&D, leads the process-development team that forms bridges between innovation, conceptualization, and full-scale implementations, to guarantee that things work in practice too, not just on paper.
He says, “We put plans into practice, and implementing them often involves solving problems. Fortunately, we have Wedge, which makes problem-solving the best part of the job. Obtaining the data directly from the process system would be arduous. Wedge has made the work much easier, and it helps you understand the big picture more easily.”
The process-development team uses Wedge extensively in this work, on a nearly daily basis. For example, it is utilized to supervise all the factory test runs.
“One of the best purchases ever!”
is Vesanen’s reply when he is asked whether introducing Wedge was worthwhile. He expands, “We used to use Excel, which was slow and awkward. Wedge clearly presents various phenomena and how they are related to each other, all in real time.”
Vesanen praises Wedge for its versatility and adaptability also.
“And we still aren’t even utilizing Wedge to the fullest,” he says.
Increasing efficiency in engineering
The purchase was justified by a desire to improve the efficiency of the engineering, and this objective has been met excellently. However, Wedge does not diminish the importance of process expertise. How Wedge is utilized depends to a great extent on the expertise of the user. One of Wedge’s highly appreciated features is the possibility of creating one’s own mathematical formulae.
“Wedge has saved us a considerable amount of time, because solving problems has become faster. It has also led to improved quality,” says CP Kelco’s Productivity Manager Ilkka Tenander.
There are 35,000 process variables in the CP Kelco production line. In the event of a problem, it would be extremely slow, tedious, and error-risking to attempt to uncover the primary causes from the process system manually.
“Visuality and the capacity for integration with other systems are the best features of Wedge and allow presenting a clear view of complex entities,” he says. Tenander concludes, “We simply couldn’t cope without it anymore.”
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