The Paper Industry Rises Again

You may believe that the paper industry is disappearing fast in the wake of digitalization, and while the graphic paper market is decreasing approximately 5% year over year - packaging, along with tissue papers, and pulp for hygiene products are growing. Industry Principal for Pulp & Paper at OSIsoft, Mariana Sandin, explains: “The industry is changing, morphing, and developing. The biggest challenge is that industry is in a transformation phase, leaving behind copy paper and moving into the packaging era.”

A McKinsey report from August 2019 is showing that the paper and forest-product industry will have to address the following challenges to stay competitive:

  • Managing short-to-medium-term “grade turbulence”
  • Finding the next level of cost optimization
  • Finding value-creating growth roles for forest products in a fundamentally changing business landscape

Finding Competitive Advantage Through Digital Technology

McKinsey's report shows that the industry has much to gain from embracing digital manufacturing - especially with focus on analytics for predictive maintenance and monitoring energy consumption. According to their estimates, manufacturers could reduce the total cost base of a producer by as much as 15%.

“The most common production problem mills attempt to tackle is predictive maintenance. Reactive maintenance, which is performed after equipment fails, can be 60 to 90 percent more expensive than predictive method,” says Sandin. “After maintenance strategies, many mills work towards extracting more product from the same production footprint. While this can be more profitable, it's far more challenging.”

How the PI System is Changing the Industry

10 of the top 10 global Pulp & Paper companies have gained invaluable insight into their production by employing the PI System as their data infrastructure to monitor over 138 million megatons of pulp and paper a year.

For example, Klabin, Brazil's largest paper producer, managed to save $10 million in six months through improved boiler monitoring. Clearwater Paper Corporation, the largest provider of private label tissue paper to retail grocery chains in the US, optimized its performance and prevented production breaks by gaining visibility into its operations through real-time data.

Sandin explains that "the PI System becomes the foundation for capturing and sharing data across the board and delivering real-time insights. If mill engineers lose connection to the PI System, they get scared that they can't make production goals for the day because they've lost insight into their process. The PI System makes their organizations run efficiently on a day-to-day basis, from the operator level to the C suite.

Learn more about how the PI System is changing the Pulp & Paper industry here.

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