3/3 Digitalization in pulp & paper - Network your way to better business

Digitalization is all about information; collecting it, compiling it, interpreting it, and ultimately using it. In the production of bioproducts such as pulp, paper and other products with biomass-based origins, the process is full of valuable information. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the open sharing of information across entire value chains is changing the way we work.

As the digital network in industry grows and develops, companies no-longer have to build cumbersome and expensive individual portals for each customer, partner and service provider etc.

With the emergence of the IIoT, devices, systems and platforms are able to communicate, reducing the need for manual labour, freeing resources for other tasks and eliminating risks related to human error. The seamless cooperation between people and machines can improve efficiency across the entire prosses from the planning of production and ensuring correct service timing and spare parts availability to securing the logistics chain and on-time deliveries.

The nature of connectivity has changed over time. The modern digital environment no longer requires heavy investments into individual portals for all external sharing. The digital community works like a secure network where data only has to be fed into the system once and shared with relevant parties to help achieve smoother and more economical cooperative operations and better business performance.

This newfound openness makes it possible to utilize all the available information across the production process and value chain to enable the development of new proactive services based on analysis. For us it has become the basis for the planning of predictive maintenance, resource management and quality monitoring.

As entire value chains become connected and information is shared across organisational borders, it will be increasingly difficult for companies to work in isolation. Digitalization is something that is created together and over time. Spreading the investments into digitalization over time makes economical sense. Each investment strengthens your process, bringing with it measurable benefits in terms of both your production process and your overall business.

Digitalization is often seen as something challenging, complicated and difficult to define. It does not need to be any of these things. We like to see it rather as a tool that opens up an infinite number of opportunities. With the right partners it is possible to take your pulp, paper, tissue or board production towards a more efficient and profitable future. Just as the pulp & paper industry is developing and expanding towards a wide range of modern bioproducts, the world of digitalization is also continuously evolving.

To get to where we are going in terms of harnessing digitalization, we need open communications across the board, with customers, partners and service providers alike. The benefits of IIoT are at your grasp. All you need is careful planning, targeted smart investments and the best possible tools and partners. By working together, the journey into a more efficient digital future for the pulp & paper business will be paved with opportunity.

Text by Ilpo Miettinen

Text originally published in 2018, and slightly updated in April 2022, due to the company name change to Valmet.