KPA Unicon clears the way to the South American market | Kpa Unicon
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first boiler plant commissioned in Chile

A steam boiler project delivered to Cartulinas CMPC’s cardboard mill will be completed after the final report has been approved. “A really good performance, given that there were a lot of new things and a relatively tight schedule,” says Pentti Savolainen, Project Development Director at KPA Unicon Ltd. Cooperation with CMPC will continue over the next five years under a separate service agreement.

The CMPC Group is one of the world’s largest forest industry companies, with a turnover of over 5 billion dollars. The steam boiler plant built at CMPC’s Valdivia mill is an important opening in the South American market for KPA Unicon.

“Our technology has never been on this continent before. For the conservative CMPC, this deal was a bold choice. Nevertheless, they chose our plant,” states Savolainen.

The delivery of the boiler plant included all process equipment, buildings, installation supervision, commissioning and operational training. The value of the delivery was approximately 5.6 million euros, excluding construction and foundation work.

Full steam all year round

The new steam boiler plant in Valdivia replaces two old, inefficient biomass boilers which did not comply with the strict environmental regulations of the Valdivia region. Now the steam is generated by wood-based biomass in one single boiler plant. At the same time, the level of emissions produced by the mill has diminished, and the biomass costs have dropped dramatically.

Utilizing cheaper biomass has a major impact, because the fuel is by far the highest operating cost of a biomass boiler plant.

“Before, particularly during winter, the entire steam generating plant had to be shut down several times due to particle emissions exceeding the allowed levels. Each time this meant stopping the entire cardboard production. This was a direct economic loss for the company,” says Savolainen.

With the new Biograte steam boiler plant, the factory can operate continuously throughout the winter months, and its environmental performance is better than before. The plant produces 30 TPH (tons per hour) of steam for the cardboard mill process and it is capable of using the most challenging biomass on the market: bark, wood chips and sawdust. Also, some sludge from the mill’s production is added to the fuel mix.

According to Savolainen, the moisture content of the fuel can exceed 60 percent, and the plant will still meet the set emission levels and other performance criteria.

“The plant remains within the required emission limits under very challenging conditions, and the efficiency is good, i.e. the same amount of steam can be produced with less fuel. The plant’s usability is also very high.”

Machines at the cardboard mill require some daily stoppages. In this case, the steam boiler must also stop steam production at very short notice. When the mill is back in production, the demand for steam increases dramatically, requiring excellent performance from the steam boiler.

“I was amazed at how quickly this boiler reacts to different steam flow and pressure situations. The sound level is minimal, and the emissions are under control. Furthermore, we save money from utilizing cheaper fuel and not having to stop production every time there is a particle emission emergency situation in the Valdivia region,” says Rodrigo Rojas, the Mill Manager of the Cartulinas CMPC Valdivia Mill.

The boiler’s heart and brain are made in Finland

The grate and the furnace of the boiler plant have been manufactured at KPA Unicon’s

workshop in Kiuruvesi, and the water tube boiler itself at the company’s workshop in Lapua. The plant’s automation has also been engineered in Finland. Other critical components have been manufactured in Europe. The steel structures, wall panels, chimney and air canals are local deliveries from Chile. That was a flexible way to proceed, Savolainen thinks.

“Chile has not engaged in either of the standard systems, so we were able to use European and American standards, and to supply both from Europe and America.”

The high seismic demands of Chile resulted in some add-ons to the construction of the plant. Chile is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone areas, which is reflected in the building regulations.

“We took seismic measurements for the steam boiler and its supporting structures as well as for the feed water tank. Some minor fixes were made, even though the structures met the seismic standards. The building itself has more steel, for example, than plants built in Finland. Security thinking here is very American-style.”

The plant at Valdivia mill will be equipped with PlantSys, KPA Unicon’s digital service platform. It allows the plant to be connected to KPA Unicon’s service center in Haapavesi, Finland. From the service center, KPA Unicon can monitor the plant and anticipate the need for maintenance. The plant is fully automatized, but due to Chilean law, the site will be continuously occupied by CMPC. Annual maintenance, spare parts and monthly inspections of the steam boiler plant will be arranged and carried out by KPA Unicon in cooperation with a local operator.

“From Finland we can do preventive maintenance. Local contractors will act as our hands and feet there when it comes to repair or maintenance work. In addition to the locals, representatives of KPA Unicon from Finland will participate in annual stoppages for maintenance,” Savolainen says.


Cartulinas CMPC is a subsidiary of Empresas CMPC. It produces world-class cardboard, with an annual production capacity of 450 000 tons in two mills. Cartulinas CMPC is capable of supplying large volumes both to the local market and for export, shipping nearly 85 % of its production to customers in more than 45 countries on 5 continents.


Fact Box

Customer: CMPC Cartulinas SpA
Plant: Unicon Biograte 20
Commissioning: 04/2019
Nominal output: 20 MW (30 t/h)
Flue gas processing: Electrostatic precipitator
Fuels: bark, chips, sawdust, sludge. Moisture content of fuel 30–60 %


Impact Story – Cartulinas CMPC