Control Upgrades

Pulp & Paper


A key mill for a U.S.-based pulp and paper manufacturer operates two steam turbines that accepts steam from a recovery boiler and step down the steam pressure to header levels vital to the plant’s paper machines and evaporators. Leftover steam is then used to generate power for the mill. The second of the two turbines is a 40 MW unit that is critical to operations; if it were to experience an unplanned outage, it would cause a complete shutdown of all plant activities. This unit was operating with a Mark* II turbine control system, but support options and parts were limited. The company needed to upgrade the critical turbine to a modern solution with more support options available, while improving overall reliability.


GE’s Mark VIe and EX2100e technology allowed the mill to move its control logic from hardware to software form. The software is very durable, consistent, and provides easier diagnostics to investigate where a hardware problem may have occurred, which improves system availability by reducing the mean time to repair. The GE team also removed the mechanical overspeed trip bolt and replaced it with an electronic version, plus a triple-redundant trip solenoid arrangement with full online test capability.


Upgrading to the Mark VIe and EX2100e led to less required maintenance, improved access to support and parts - and the ability to integrate third party monitoring and control systems into the turbine control. The GE team performed a complete upgrade within the strict timeline the company had outlined to reduce upgrade costs and prevent unnecessary downtime at the plant.In the longer term, the installation is expected to lead to fewer total outages at the mill, saving the company significant maintenance costs.


Following the installation of the GE’s Mark VIe and EX2100e, the paper company received a variety of additional benefits, including:

  • Improved plant operations, providing better reliability and availability to help the mill maintain revenue by meeting production needs and quotas.
  • Common Human Machine Interface (HMI) and improved training, testing and parts support.
  • High visibility into control code, shifting away from strictly a “black box” approach.
  • Improved availability of spare parts and a suite of flexible life-cycle management options. The upgrades also reduced the need for custom code within the system.

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