Tailored and reliable energy for Valio milk processing plants
Adven produces heating and cooling for ten milk processing plants operated by Valio across Finland. In terms of energy production, each facility has its individual considerations and requirements. Consequently, meeting the customer’s production standards has been a key consideration in Adven's design, resource allocation and planning projects. One goal has remained the same throughout: reducing the use of fossil fuels by replacing them with biofuels. Adven’s independence of underlying technologies and fuels provides great flexibility in tailoring energy solutions.
“The Valio account is very interesting, because we had to select the energy solution and type of heating separately for each plant. This allowed us to match our solutions exactly to the customer’s production requirements. Furthermore, the solutions were designed, for instance, with local or otherwise readily available fuels in mind,” says Adven’s Director of Account Management Heikki Aarrejoki.
As each of Valio’s milk processing plants produces different dairy products, their energy requirements vary greatly.
“It is Adven’s goal to offer new and innovative energy solutions. For decades, the energy solutions used in the food industry have relied heavily on fossil fuels. In recent years, however, companies have made huge investments in sustainable solutions,” Aarrejoki says.
Delivery reliability is key
Being the largest milk processing company in Finland, Valio operates several substantial production plants where unplanned downtimes are not an option.
“Based on milk volume alone, our facility is the largest dairy processing plant operated by Valio. Consequently, it is a critical facility for the entire Finnish dairy sector. We require an uninterrupted supply of heat for our operations. Delivery reliability and quality are the key to our success,” says Kari Lappi, Plant Manager, Valio Lapinlahti.
“Our ability to maintain long uninterrupted operating periods is a testament to the reliability of Adven’s energy delivery. Even a short outage would have an immediate effect on our production, as different forms of heat treatment are used extensively within the food industry. We cannot release products that have not been properly pasteurised,” says Timo Panula, Plant Manager, Valio Seinäjoki.
The cornerstones of co-operation: biofuels and best practices
“When the power plant was realised, it was built to run on biofuels without compromising productivity and profitability. At the time, we shared a common goal with Adven: to minimise fuel oil consumption. Currently, we use only as much oil as is absolutely necessary and not a drop more,” Panula says.
From the outset, the two companies established an operating model for co-operation follow-up and development. This model involves regular meetings for reviewing best practices identified locally at the plant level, allowing them to be disseminated across Valio facilities around Finland.
“In matters involving several different plants, allowing experts to talk head to head makes it easier to propagate ideas and promote development. The way I see it, allowing Adven to take full responsibility of our energy production strengthens our operations. Additionally, they provide us with remote monitoring, which improves cost efficiency,” Panula says.
“Transparency is vital for our operations. In fact, this was one of our initial criteria, as it would allow us to rely on Adven to develop and deliver as a true partner. This is a promise they have kept and, as a plant manager, I can rely on Adven,” Lappi says.