PRO-PLAN can be easily configured to suit most process industries. The version for the pulp and paper industry - "The Pro-Plan Pulp Mill & Recovery Optimization System" - is described here.

Proplan screen shots

The Pro-Plan Pulp Mill & Recovery Scheduling System is a short to medium term scheduling and optimization system to determine the optimal Pulp Mill production rate consistent with constraints on:

  • pulp demand and storages,
  • digesters, washers, bleach plants capacity,
  • washer dilution factors,
  • weak black liquor storage,
  • evaporator throughput,
  • white liquor supply, 
  • steam availability, and
  • plant area shutdowns.

It will also calculate the appropriate production rates for evaporators, recovery boilers, recausticizers and lime kilns to achieve and maintain the optimum levels in WBL, SBL, Green Liquor and White Liquor storages.

It is intended as an aid to mill co-ordinators, and Pulp Mill, Recovery and Recaust. operators to determine the most appropriate production rates for maximising production and minimising rate changes. Pro-Plan couples paper machine and pulp dryer demand with pulp mill and recovery production optimization.

With no constraints, the model will calculate production rates to achieve and maintain the levels in the pulp silos and liquor storages that will best cope with unplanned shuts upstream or downstream of each storage.

This is based on the probability of plant downtime upstream and downstream of each storage.

If there is a mismatch in pulp demand and minimum or maximum production, best use will be made of the available capacity in the storages to maintain production.

Constraints include white liquor supply, black liquor processing, steam availability, or plant throughput. Interactions and plant bottlenecks may change from day to day.

If pulp mill production is limited by white liquor supply or evaporator throughput, the maximum production rate is calculated according to the current priorities and available capacity in the white liquor or WBL systems.

A more detailed description of the principles behind Pro-Plan is in:

  Production Scheduling for Pulp Mills & Recoveries

The system also determines whether:

  • evaporator performance has degraded to the level where they should be washed to maximize long term throughput
  • the WBL system has capacity for an evaporator wash
  • washer Dilution Factors need to be changed to ease WBL volumes.

For more detail on these items, go to Liquor Optimization

Pro-Plan is an effective tool for planning shutdowns. "What if's" can be run to determine the best shutdown strategy. Simulations verify the feasibility of each strategy.

Data input and output:

Paper machine making plan
Planned shuts
Current stocks

Steam available
Plant reliabilities

PRO-PLAN Outputs
Optimal production rates
Optimal levels
Predicted levels
Predicted stocks


The Business Case

The recommended approach is to undertake a short study to estimate the likely improvement from using Pro-Plan. Historical data will be used to compare:

  • Actual production rates vs optimal rates 
  • Actual tank levels and stock levels vs optimal levels

Other aspects considered include:

  • How often the processes needs to shut or slowdown due to a breakdown or restriction in another area
  • Other ways to better manage the operation
  • What is the lost opportunity?

This study establishes the business case for installing Pro-Plan, ie. cost, benefits, ROI.

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Financial Benefits

The financial benefits from using the PRO-PLAN Pulp Mill Scheduling System will vary from mill to mill, and are dependent on the types of constraints and the method of operation of the mill prior to using the system.

Typical improvements might be:

Better utilization of capacity

A conservative estimate is that production will increase 1% by operating closer to constraints:

Increased production of 1% of 1000 tonnes/day for 350 days @ $200 margin = $ 700,000 p.a.

One mill study indicated potential increases of 5% over a two week study period. Mill studies have generally shown 3-5% potential increases.


Scenarios showing how Pro-Plan can help maximize production are illustrated in:

  Examples of Using Pro-Plan

Better storage management

If there are 10 unscheduled upsets per year, and the storages are 5% closer to optimal levels:

10 x 5% x 500t x $200 = $ 50,000 p.a.


Intelligent Software

In today’s competitive marketplace, companies need to find new ways to dramatically improve efficiency, productivity, reliability, safety and environmental compliance, often with smaller and more mobile workforces. To meet these challenges, the world’s leading manufacturing companies are deploying intelligent software systems to help manage their operations more effectively.

PRO-PLAN is built using Gensym’s G2 expert system. G2 is an integrated, graphical, object-oriented development and deployment environment that allows developers to implement objects, rules, methods, relationships, procedures and other application elements using graphics and a structured natural language. This environment facilitates tailoring of the system to match an individual mills requirements. For more information on G2 and other Gensym products, go to .


Sales and Support

Distribution and support groups are being set up in various regions.


To discover more about Pro-Plan and its potential payback for your situation, go to the Business Case and ROI Calculator or contact Procex.

Tel/fax: (613) 9386 1235
Mobile: 0418 378 453

Procex Pty Ltd ABN 89 076 092 370
39 Balmoral Avenue
Brunswick East, Australia 3057

Copyright 2001 Procex Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

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