Modern pulp and paper mills generate large volumes of data from process instrumentation, process and quality analysers, condition monitoring systems, process automation systems, quality control and inspection systems and laboratory measurements. In addition, there are volumes of data concerning process reliability, productivity, maintenance activities and consumable consumption. When this data is combined, sorted and intelligently analysed, it has tremendous value as a roadmap and metric for optimizing the performance and reliability of process components, sub-processes and even the complete production line. This powerful data can be used to make valid decisions for sustainable improvements in process operation and profitability.
The Industrial Internet is today’s enabler for accessing data securely and making it a valuable resource for pulp, paper and energy producers. This enables manufacturers to make valid decisions and modifications which can stabilize and optimize a mill’s process operations, quality and profitability. Most importantly, with the Internet and cloud computing, this data is easily transportable so that experts in pulp, paper and energy processes can quickly and surely assess the state of the process, its stability and economical operation. The result is improved performance.
Application and Services for Reliability and Performance
Industrial Internet applications and services are built to improve the reliability and performance of processes. Asset reliability optimization includes online monitoring, predictive diagnostics, as well as data-analysis to improve mill and plant efficiency, to help to plan timely maintenance, and to prevent unplanned shutdowns.
Operations performance optimization concentrates on integrating data from different systems together with production data to optimize mill and plant operations. They also include optimization service for individual processes and the whole machine fleet.
Experts in pulp, paper and energy processes provide root cause analysis, process stability assessment, problem solutions and recommendations, as well as optimal control implementation and tuning services. A primary objective is to help customers push production and profitability further without major investments while meeting production and quality targets with minimized raw material, chemicals and energy consumption. The other mandate is to help customers to keep production-assets in optimum working condition while minimizing maintenance costs. It also helps to plan and implement shutdowns professionally, which will aid in avoiding costly overruns, as well as optimize the use of
The Future of Analytics and Management Tools
The future of data analytics will involve common solutions by suppliers in a “co-creation digital ecosystem”. The suppliers in this ecosystem understand the value of data for end users and will work together on co-creation and implementation of new industry-specific solutions. The first, concrete steps in building this ecosystem have been taken by combining the knowledge and expertise of MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions for the pulp and paper industry.
With this combination, customers’ business- and production processes will be optimized by integrating data and application expertise and by offering combined solutions. These include KPIs for OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency), OTIF (Orders on Time in Full), Quality and Cost.
The combined offering will also include optimization solutions utilizing Advanced Process Controls (APCs) and Advanced Planning (AP). APC reduces process and quality variability, optimizes process areas and moves their targets to optimum economic operating points. AP calculates optimum targets for each process area to maximize overall line performance. The end result is more production from the pulping process, debottlenecking, and improved ability to plan for disturbances or changes.
The enabling-technologies of Industrial Internet and advanced data analytics are complementary capabilities which are helping pulp, paper and energy producers to optimize their process operation, its reliability and profitability. As the value is recognized, this trend is expected to increase over the coming years. With these capabilities, supplier experts in pulping, papermaking and energy are able to diagnose root causes of process instabilities and inefficiencies, optimally tune the process controls to achieve maximum productivity, quality and cost efficiencies, and make sound recommendations for process improvements. With predictive diagnostics, they are able to diagnose maintenance issues well before they become problems, thereby improving process component and production line reliability and uptime.
In the coming years, new tools for data management, process management and business management will emerge as industry suppliers with a common appreciation of the value of data combine their expertise and product offerings. Line level or mill level optimization will optimize the process as a whole. The line optimization solutions can combine process improvements and consultation, advanced process control and optimization, analyzers and measurements, regulatory controls performance improvement, KPI monitoring and benchmarking services.
In the future, there will be more predictive maintenance solutions and services to improve the reliability and performance of processes. The use of new technologies such as augmented and mixed reality will promote new expert applications which will virtually connect supplier specialists with mill production and maintenance staff. Analytics have now been developed to the point where traditional data reporting, querying, drilling and alerting have been augmented by more data-intensive advanced analytics which can simulate, predict outcomes and optimize pulp, paper and energy processes. Ultimately, prescriptive, artificially-intelligent analytics will support judgements and decisions by mill staff, internal and external resources.