The Builders of the Bioproduct Mill: The construction of the bioproduct mill is progressing according to plan

Timo-Pekka Aaltonen, installation manager of the Kemi bioproduct mill project, manages and coordinates the installation of cutting-edge technology at the new environmentally efficient mill in cooperation with various parties and synchronises the increasing number of installation projects. The work requires precise attention to schedules, management of large entities, and open and smooth interaction with all those involved.
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  • Kemi bioproductmill project, 2022

The construction of the Kemi bioproduct mill project of Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, is progressing as planned and on schedule. Mechanical, electrical and instrumentation installations are now underway, and their number will continue to increase. Installations are proceeding at all the process departments, except for the oxygen plant.

“We are also installing pipe bridges, which will cover more than three kilometres. All in all, the mill will have around 350 kilometres of pipeline,” says Timo-Pekka Aaltonen.

Aaltonen is responsible for the overall management of installation work. He supervises and coordinates installation with Metsä’s skilled and professional site organisation and interacts daily with the project supervisors (AFRY, Valmet, ABB and Fimpec), as well as with the numerous contractors. This year will be dominated by installation work, and the mill’s test run will begin in early 2023. All the project supervisors are expected to commit to the project’s safety, quality and scheduling goals, and we are very satisfied with their commitment to all of them.

“Much of my work involves monitoring schedules. By coordinating and organising the various projects we ensure that everyone can start work on time, and the site is ready for them.

We currently have 2,300 workers on the bioproduct mill site. The number of employees will peak later this autumn, exceeding three thousand.”

With contracts numbering in the hundreds, Aaltonen lists the ability to grasp the big picture and react rapidly as key success factors in his work.

“I value open interaction. It is important to react quickly and discuss things openly so that all parties get the right information at the right time.”

Working together

Aaltonen has a career spanning 36 years, 70 per cent of which he has spent abroad in a variety of projects. He also worked as an installation manager on the Äänekoski bioproduct mill site, which provided him with good memories and useful lessons.

“Experience is really helpful in these duties. Coordination and management skills play a major role, and you must also be straightforward in your decision making. You can’t mull over things for very long. When I am faced with broad and challenging matters, I try to make them more tangible and break them up into smaller chunks, which often makes it easier to analyse and solve questions. I discuss matters with everyone involved because it does not make sense to ruminate over things alone. This is not a solo performance – discussions and interaction are very important.”

The more you listen to and discuss things with people, the greater the number of good ideas, inspirations and solutions.

Aaltonen’s working days are steered by his calendar. They offer great variety. His days are filled with meetings and issues that must be resolved immediately. In the morning, he typically checks the meetings he must attend or that he has specifically been asked to take part in.

“I am proud of this organisation and my competent colleagues, as well as of the excellent workplace community we have in Kemi, where we all work together towards our common goal.”

As some of the most memorable events, Aaltonen mentions the completion of the 105-metre chimney, as well as the arrival of the digester and impregnation vessel and their transport from the inland port through the town all the way to the construction site.

“Despite being involved in all kinds of projects throughout my career, the components’ huge size still took me by surprise! I really appreciate being involved in such an important project in Finland – it is not often you get such a solid opportunity to build the future of your country.”

The transfer of large components requiring special transports from the Port of Ajos through the Kemi inland port to the site began in the early spring and continued throughout the summer. Now all 30 transports have been completed. The special transports’ planning phase took two years, and arrangements were made in close cooperation with different parties, including the town of Kemi and Kemin Energia ja Vesi, a local utility.

“One of the important tasks related to the large transports was to prepare the site for receiving them.”

Timo-Pekka Aaltonen

Timo-Pekka-Aaltonen.jpg

Hometown: Lahti

Job description: Installation manager

Education: Electrical technician

Career: 36 years in various forest industry and power plant projects

Age: 59

Family: Wife and adult son

Hobbies: Music, space science, golf

Motto: You can do anything if you want it enough

The builders of the bioproduct mill

The builders of the bioproduct mill is a series of articles that introduces readers to the people bringing the Kemi bioproduct mill to life and describes their work as part of the biggest investment in the history of the Finnish forest industry. This is the third article in the series.

Read previously published articles:

Ensuring safety is a common effort
A project that pays attention to safety will stay on track
New bioproduct mill to be built with best available technology