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Voith testing the future of paper production with new design concept

July 28, 2021  By P&PC Staff

Voith is creating a new papermaking line concept through a design study.

Voith is creating the paper production line of the future through a new systems design study.

The design focuses on improved efficiency and ease of maintenance. The company says it has considered all aspects of the paper production process for an integrated concept.

Maintenance and operation of the facility are simplified, a higher degree of interconnectedness reduces interfaces, and an appealing design ensures a consistent overall look, while at the same time improving efficiency, safety and sustainability.


“The goal of our long-term design study is to significantly improve efficiency and ease of maintenance across the entire production line,” says Dr. Michael Trefz, president, division projects at Voith Paper.

“We are considering a wide variety of aspects, such as the degree of automation of the machine, the interconnectivity of various sections, better accessibility and greater safety as well as optimized availability. However, the materiality and an appealing design also play an important role in the concept.”

‘Clean design’ for greater efficiency

Special attention was paid to the implementation of ‘clean design’ principles, for example by increasing cleanliness in the wet end. Less contamination reduces the risk of unscheduled downtimes due to web breaks.

Consequently, operational reliability and machine efficiency are improved and the production process runs smoothly. Also, scheduled shutdowns are completed more efficiently thanks to more accessible work areas and simpler maintenance procedures.

The design concept is a long-term project and will be implemented step by step over the coming months and years.

Optimized human-machine interface

“The smartphone has shown how simple and intuitive communication between humans and machines makes many areas of everyday life more efficient,” says Oliver Kunerth, digital product manager at Voith Paper.

“In the industrial environment too, the information and all relevant functions a user needs will in future be presented in one platform.”

As part of the vision for the future, a standardized and intuitive user interface will be introduced from stock preparation through to the reeling.

In this context, the human-machine interface uses a role-based operating concept to adapt to the individual task of users, which at the same time improves ease of maintenance.

In the future, more efficiency will also be ensured by distinctive SmartLights on individual components of the system. They show the machine status at a glance, and if necessary, whether operator intervention is required.

Automatic data analysis

Papermaking 4.0 solutions, sensors, field devices, scanners and actuators already monitor the condition of machines and the quality of production in real time.

In the coming years, automatic data analysis will become even more important and replace pure monitoring. Intelligent algorithms will then ensure that in a very short time, the system autonomously creates the optimal conditions for resource-saving production.

In the near future, new apps on the Voith OnCumulus IIoT platform will create complete transparency about all conditions in a paper mill and give paper producers optimization potential.

“For example, one of these apps, the AI-based OnEfficiency BreakProtect system, can already provide users with recommendations about how to avoid web breaks,” says Kunerth.

In the future, the OnCumulus cloud platform will also provide a networked interface to all service functions, such as for ordering spare parts via the web store or to the remote service centre OnPerformance Lab, enabling more efficient and sustainable production.

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