The future of intelligent paper production

The future of intelligent paper production

Oepping: The total digitization of production, already called the “fourth industrial revolution” by experts, is now also making its appearance in Austria. Röchling Leripa Papertech – leading innovator of wear parts made of plastic for paper machines – was the first company to address the forward-looking theme of Industry 4.0, and developed a new “smart” product line called ROBASMART.

Most people are now already familiar with the common term “smart” from mobile phones (smartphone) and home automation systems (smart living). But even the working world of the future in Austria, or indeed world-wide, will be defined by the total digitization of production. “Smart” machines that are equipped with processors, sensors and wireless connections and can thus communicate independently with one another will support production and manufacturing in future. They will organize themselves independently and optimize the flows and the manufacturing of the products. Thus, stock levels and production levels will be checked by the smart technology and the production machines will independently re-order and re-tool themselves In addition, the reaction to faults or failures can be fast, flexible and autonomous.

ROBASMART also works according to the “smart” principle. Individual values are read by means of a mini-server specially developed for the purpose from the wireless devices and sensors with which the wear parts are equipped, and passed on to the control cabin of the paper machine. Any corrections that are found to be necessary can then be carried out manually or fully automatically with the SMART system, which can be switched on and off. The familiar surface design is retained and is expanded with additional information. The individual components of the paper machine can be fitted separately and also retrofitted at any time.

Röchling Leripa has its own in-house center of excellence equipped with testing machines, so that the latest findings from research and development can be immediately tested in realistic conditions that are close to what is encountered in actual practice. The ROBASMART products were also tested and inspected in this manner before the market launch.

Apart from the user-friendliness of the system, above all, the safety and economy of the smart products are very important. Preventive maintenance is not required any more, since the corresponding notification and warning systems allow action to be taken only when required, which in turn ensures longer production uptimes. Wear parts are replaced when necessary, maintenance intervals are controlled exactly and the order planning improved as a result. The smart products can be employed as decision aids and have a positive effect on the economic viability of the entire production process. In addition, they contribute significantly to increasing the paper quality and significantly reduce the consumption of water, energy and fiber.

A start is being made with the two product lines SMARTROLL and SMARTTABLE. In the area of the forming section, sealing strips are fitted with sensors that measure the temperature, wear and noise (SMARTROLL). As regards the press section, dewatering elements – which can be adjusted horizontally and vertically – are digitized. This facilitates customized and qualitatively even better production of individual paper grades.

“It is our vision to make many wear parts in the paper machine ‘smart’ in the coming five years”, says Peter Eckerstorfer, CEO of Röchling Leripa Papertech, about the future of Industry 4.0 and ROBASMART.

In the picture 1: Robasmart – the future of intelligent paper production. The relevant values are acquired from the wear parts, which are fitted with a large number of sensors, and passed on to the control cabin of the paper machine. Then, using  ROBASMART, the machine settings can be matched and optimized manually or fully automatically.

In the picture 2: Smartroll – intelligent suction roll system. In the zone of the suction rolls, wear parts with sensors that measure the temperature, wear, water flow quantity and noise are controlled through software.

In the picture 3: Smarttable – intelligent forming section. In the area of the forming section,  dewatering elements are controlled; they are adjusted manually or automated, horizontally or vertically, to enhance the paper quality.

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