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Kruger Products invests $25 million in AI technology at Sherbrooke tissue plant


June 21, 2021
By P&PC Staff

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Kruger Products will invest $25 million in its new tissue plant in Sherbrooke, Que. to implement a digital twin of its supply chain, using real-time data augmented with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

The project is backed with $5.6 million from the Canadian Ministry of Innovation, Science and Industry contributed through Canada’s AI supercluster, Scale AI, and an additional $1.1 million from the government of Quebec.

The investment will allow Kruger Products to leverage AI to optimize its entire supply chain, from the procurement of raw materials all the way to customer delivery, which the company says will boost operational efficiency and agility.

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The digital twin project will develop a virtual model of the plant’s entire supply chain and use real-time data augmented with predictive and prescriptive AI capabilities to improve overall plant performance.

The use of AI will result in improvements across the supply chain, from raw material procurement to production planning, equipment maintenance, logistics and risk management. As these improvements are made, they can lead to other benefits such as lower GHG emissions, increased energy efficiency, reduced waste, product quality, availability and competitiveness in the market.

“Using AI to boost efficiency will also improve our overall performance in terms of sustainability and help us serve our customers and consumers even more efficiently,” says Dino Bianco, CEO of Kruger Products L.P., in a statement.

“Thanks to the vision of our partners and to the support we received from the Canadian and Quebec governments, our Sherbrooke Tissue Plant will encourage more innovative practices in our industry.”

Project partners include Osedea, Dataperformers and BCG, and the participation of researchers from Polytechnique Montreal and Laval University.

Commissioned successfully in February of this year, the $575-million Sherbrooke Plant is equipped with Canada’s largest and most advanced through-air-dry (TAD) tissue machine, which is supported by AI-ready systems and infrastructure.

This project will lead to a future rollout across Kruger Products’ entire manufacturing infrastructure.

“Kruger Products’ innovative and ambitious project to integrate AI into the operations and supply chain of its Sherbrooke plant is a great testament to the technological transformation under way in Quebec and Canada,” says Julien Billot, CEO of Scale AI.

“We feel that more and more companies understand the positive impact of AI on their productivity, ensuring their competitiveness and long-term growth.”