Although printed newspapers and magazines are in decline, the pulp and paper industry continues to grow, driven by demand from packaging, industrial and construction processes, and use in health, hygiene and wellness products, and cleaning materials. Traditionally made from wood and cellulosic fibres, paper will often contain fabrics, recycled paper and, more recently, specialist polymers. The industry has come under scrutiny and pressure for its energy and water usage and wastage, especially effluent that contains organic and inorganic contaminants that deplete O2 content in water through chemical oxygen demand (COD).
Paper and board production is water-intensive. Expensive chemicals, such as chlorine, are used in the bleaching of paper. Pollution of water supplies can attract significant penalties. The heat needed for drying paper pulp requires a lot of energy.
Constant monitoring materials and processes in real time ensures legislative compliance and control of waste and excess consumption. Process transparency enables optimisation of employee activity and of jobs and machinery.
Each step in paper production is critical: pulping, refining, dilution, fibre formation, pressurization, drying and finishing. Sales, acceptance of delivery and profitability, depend on the correct mix of ingredients, precise processing and maintenance of the correct levels of tension in the fabric.
Automated monitoring of equipment performance will reduce the risk of deviation from recipes or production specifications, and minimise waste through equipment failure.
Energy and pollution
Recapture and recycling of heat used in the drying process helps to keep energy costs down. Filtration can help to extend the life of working fluids. Filters also assist in the control of waste and polluting effluent.
Real time visibility of production processes, downtime alerts and collaborative messaging within the factory ensure operational transparency and efficiency, and optimised energy consumption. Deviation from specification can be controlled by automated alerts.
Asset management and market demand
Asset protection and process optimisation require a comprehensive approach. Reliability of all processes, machinery and fluids reduce total cost of operation, ensuring paper-making operations are more productive. Changing market needs and fluctuating demand require agility and rapid responsiveness.
Technology that can automate data collection, optimise workflow and seamlessly connect planning and production activities enables optimisation of equipment and energy consumption.
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