Industry 4.0 is about big data analysis and the way this information is communicated. What has this got to do with tissue manufacturing? Giovacchino Giurlani, Futura Head of Technology and FuturaLab, provided some revealing answers for an attentive audience at Tissue World Milan 2017.
The typical converting line stands like an island within the tissue plant, just getting on with its job. The paper arrives at one end from the tissue machine which is on its own island, and the converted rolls are shipped out from the other end of the line to the archipelago of further processes. Separate technologies, separate production steps all operating in isolation.
This is the past not the future, explained Giurlani, and change is here. Important data which can be generated during tissue manufacturing can now be transmitted direct to the converting facility and vice-versa. It means that the converting line can respond automatically to the characteristics of the tissue paper which it processes. The tissue converting line can, in turn, report to downstream processes right to the point where the consumer picks the product off the shelf.
“Industry 4.0 seems like a big idea but in reality it is about the collective power of many small changes to affect significant improvements in Overall Equipment Effectiveness. Its impacts can be felt in terms of product quality, production efficiency, safety, maintenance routines – the list goes on,” said Giurlani. He went on to present actual examples of converting technologies developed at FuturaLab to make better use of data analysis.
The process of building intelligence into converting will have real-world effects: better process control, preventing avoidable stoppages and improving traceability, all with target of keeping the line running at best efficiency. It will enable tissue manufacturers to realise their Industry 4.0 ambitions – a goal already being realised in advanced tissue converting facilities.