28 July 2021. With a visionary design study, technology group Voith is creating the paper production line of the future. The design particularly focuses on improved efficiency and ease of maintenance. As a full-line supplier, the company 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 and a smooth production process
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.

Voith Papermaking Vision 2

Optimized human-machine interface improves ease of maintenance
“The smartphone has shown how simple and intuitive communication between humans and machines makes many areas of everyday life more efficient. In the industrial environment too, the information and all relevant functions a user needs will in future be presented in one platform,” says Oliver Kunerth, Digital Product Manager at Voith Paper. As part of the vision for the future, a standardized and intuitive user interface will therefore 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 replaces pure monitoring
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 far-reaching 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 Oliver Kunerth. Time-consuming and cost-intensive downtimes can thus be minimized, while maintenance and servicing are optimized in a forward-looking manner.
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 center OnPerformance.Lab, enabling more efficient and sustainable production.

Appealing design for a calm overall appearance
In future, Voith’s expertise as a full-line supplier is also set to be reflected in the design of a plant. In this context, clear structures, high-quality surface finishes and modern materials underline the special quality of a Voith BlueLine stock preparation and XcelLine paper machine.

About the Voith Group
The Voith Group is a global technology company. With its broad portfolio of systems, products, services and digital applications, Voith sets standards in the markets of energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive. Founded in 1867, the company today has more than 20,000 employees, sales of € 4.2 billion and locations in over 60 countries worldwide and is thus one of the larger family-owned companies in Europe.

The Group Division Voith Paper is part of the Voith Group. As the full-line supplier to the paper industry, it provides the largest range of technologies, services and products on the market and offers paper manufacturers holistic solutions from a single source. The company’s continuous stream of innovations facilitates resource-conserving production and helps customers minimize their carbon footprint. With its leading automation products and digitalization solutions from the Papermaking 4.0 portfolio, Voith offers its customers state-of-the-art digital technologies to improve plant availability and efficiency for all sections of the production process.