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Story | 11/17/2022 12:57:05 | 2 min Read time

Making it happen at UPM Biofuels: Ensuring smooth production with timely maintenance

Sara Steensig

Editor, Tulus

Maintenance Manager Markus Varis has been with UPM throughout his career. He was involved in building the Lappeenranta Biorefinery and has been with UPM Biofuels since. What fuel keeps Markus going? Let’s find out!

What is your professional background, and how did you end up in your current job?

I began my career at UPM in the project department of a pulp and paper mill in 2000 when I was still studying. Here, I learned the "basics" of factory work. My first task was the planning of a crude tall oil plant at the pulp mill.

In 2012, I got involved in the LUNA project – building the Lappeenranta Biorefinery – so I have been at Biofuels since the refinery was built. In 2014, I was hired as a maintenance engineer at the refinery, and my career has since followed that path in Lappeenranta.


What tasks do you take care of?

My main job is to coordinate the entire maintenance effort at the biorefinery, which fills my days with interesting, challenging and varied tasks. Among my many duties are the overall responsibility for  maintenance shutdowns in cooperation with the Health, Safety and Environment, Operations and Development teams. I also oversee the pressure equipment and plan for example equipment modifications.


What project are you working on right now?

The biorefinery is currently ramping up production after the autumn maintenance shutdown. At the same time, we are planning a major turnaround  in April-May of next year when statutory inspections and cleanings of process equipment will be carried out.


How is it to work in the biofuels business?    
       

The people working in this industry are highly motivated and professional. We get the work done and solve challenges along the way through good cooperation between the teams. I’ve made a lot of good memories over the years, during shutdowns and different projects I’ve been part of.


How do you fuel your development and motivation at work?

My great co-workers and versatile tasks keep me inspired and motivated. During my career, I’ve kept learning new skills through new tasks, such as managing large entities.

I am involved in several associations in my industry – related to welding technology, inspection activities and more. When I meet suppliers, I also get a lot of information about, for example, the newest maintenance and inspection methods.


What do you do when you are not working?

In my free time, I like to play volleyball, go to the gym or spend time at the cottage with my family. I am also active in my youngest boys’ ice hockey team SaiPa.            


What moments are particularly rewarding at work?

Smooth cooperation between departments is extremely satisfying. A great example of this would be the jointly planned and implemented maintenance shutdowns, which have been implemented on a tight schedule even during the difficult Covid situation.

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