The builders of the bioproduct mill: Aiming for happy users

Every year, 6.5 million cubic metres of wood will be converted into high-quality pulp at the fibre line of Metsä Group's bioproduct mill. The construction of the fibre line is coordinated by Project Manager Kari Koskinen. who has had a long career at Metsä Fibre.

“The line is composed of three sections: wood processing, the pulp mill and the kiln drying department. In the beginning, there’s round wood and in the end bales of pulp in storage.”

Koskinen's job in the bioproduct mill project started with the preliminary design of the dryer in 2014. Since March 2015, he has worked as the Project Manager for the entire fibre line.

“Before this, I worked at the Joutseno mill in various production tasks, the fibre line project and heading the Metsä Fibre investment team. However, this project at Äänekoski is by far the largest I've been involved in.”

It is easy to lose sight of scales at the bioproduct mill's construction site. The absorption tower behind Kari Koskinen was one of the biggest heavy loads Finland has ever seen. Erected, it rises to a height of 45,5 metres.

“A pleasure to be involved”

The construction of the bioproduct mill's fibre line is managed by a five-member team: Jari Lappalainen, Tapio Hautala, Virpi Haaranen, Jarkko Ruotsalainen, and Koskinen.

“The whole team are experienced pulp professionals and seasoned project people. We mesh together well which makes this project enjoyable,” says Koskinen.

Even Koskinen himself admits to being a project person. When the goals are clear, there is a natural drive for the work.

“The schedules are tight, but experience teaches you how to adopt the right attitude towards things.”
The construction of the fibre line has progressed according to plan, even though, in a project this big, you also encounter issues which are difficult to solve. And it’s Koskinen who coordinates it all: from building and design to purchases, equipment deliveries, testing and safety.

“Every Thursday, we hold the fibre line's weekly meeting where we review all the issues. The project management is also close by, in case we need them,” says Koskinen.

Kari Koskinen says that he enjoys project work. Schedules and a common goal give the work a natural rhythm. “In the bioproduct mill project, you can trust everyone to take care of their jobs professionally.”

Focus on installations

In the fibre line, the focus of work has shifted from construction to installation work.

“The purchases and designing are on the home stretch. This marks a certain turning point in the project. It’s important for the new installation crews to get to work without any problems,” says Koskinen.

Competent project personnel play an important role in the work's progress.

“We have our fair share of challenges, but thanks to an experienced crew, we can avoid the worst pitfalls.”

At the fibre line, installations began at the turn of the year and in wood processing, they began in June. In the kiln drying department, installation work will begin in full steam in the autumn.

“This is when the testing of the automation systems will also begin. The kiln drying department's trial runs will commence next May, with the current mill's pulp. In terms of wood processing, the production of the chips for the piles will begin in July.”

The coming spring of 2017, when the mill's testing is set to begin, spells a particularly busy time for Koskinen's team.
“There is new technology in every department. The automated pulp storage, for example, is the first of its kind in Finland.”

Motivated personnel

Every piece of action aims at a superbly running mill.
“We want the start-up to be successful and the personnel to be happy with the end result, even in the future. I've been happy to see that the future employees of the mill here at Äänekoski are genuinely active and motivated,” says Koskinen.

According to Kari Koskinen, Project Manager for the fibre line of Metsä Group's bioproduct mill, installations in the pulp mill seen in the background have got off to a good start. The pulp mill is set to start up in May 2017, with pulp from the old mill.

Kari Koskinen (54)
Place of residence: Joutseno
Job: Fibre line's Project Manager.
Career: Various jobs at Metsä Fibre since 1989: Before the bioproduct mill project, worked as the leader of Metsä Fibre's investment team. Worked for Rauma-Repola and Pöyry before joining Metsä Fibre.
Education: Pulp technology engineer.
Family: Wife and two grown-up daughters.
Hobbies: Making firewood, cycling and floorball.

The builders of the bioproduct mill is a series of articles that introduces readers to the people bringing the next-generation bioproduct mill to life and describing their work in the biggest investment in the history of the Finnish forest industry. The builders of the bioproduct mill will be published on our website at during 2016.

Project Director Timo Merikallio was intervieweed in the first article and after that Construction Manager Pekka Salomaa, Project Coordinator Juha Pesonen, Project Services Director Ossi Puromäki and Technical Director Pertti Lehmonen have described their work.

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