Five reasons why mills and plants want to become autonomous

More and more companies are aiming to increase the autonomy of their mill operations. In such a mill or plant, an autonomous system can monitor its own performance, which brings several benefits. These are the top 5 reasons why companies want their mills and plants to be more autonomous.

1. To reduce the need for human intervention

Autonomous mills enable more intelligent operation and maintenance while minimizing the need for human intervention. Autonomous processes are also more accurate and consistent, and they can handle many more set points simultaneously than human operators. This is a great benefit with complex and interactive processes, and it can significantly improve overall equipment effectiveness and efficiency.

2. To reduce costs

The Industrial Internet enables autonomous mills to be managed from remote control rooms. This lets companies reduce their costs by centralizing operations and competences, and lets them utilize all their assets in the best possible way. It also means that the need for maintenance can be better planned and predicted, allowing more efficient use of maintenance resources. In addition, it enables service partners to provide quick and effective remote support and expertise from anywhere in the world.

3. To improve safety

Autonomous systems can be used to replace manual processes that have inherent risks. For example, maintenance inspections on equipment like paper machines and recovery boilers can be performed from the control room using cameras, monitoring systems and robots. This enables regular and accurate maintenance checks to be carried out without any danger to staff.

4. To help overcome workforce scarcity

Industrial companies are finding it ever more difficult to attract new personnel to work in their locations. And, in addition, the current generation of mill and plant operators will soon retire, reducing the available workforce even further. Autonomous mills and plants can help solve these problems because they require fewer people to run them and because they can be monitored remotely from a convenient location.

5. To reduce their environmental impact

Autonomous mills enable mill-wide optimization, rather than just optimizing individual process islands. This means that the mill can continuously and autonomously fine tune all the parts and processes in the mill to ensure that they work together efficiently. This is much more effective than looking at processes individually, and the data analysis and process control involved would also be impossible for human operators to perform. Using this kind of mill-wide optimization, companies can reduce their raw material and energy use, and minimize waste and CO2 emissions, and continuously improve their efficiency over time.