The European paper industry accounts for approximately EUR 400 billion annual turnover and 4 million jobs, directly or indirectly related to the industry. Given the multitude of paper grades manufactured with specific characteristics and thus the necessity for numerous process adjustments, small and medium-sized paper mills have difficulty being competitive across the board. EU-funded researchers set up the EMERGPAPE project to integrate existing quality control systems (QCSs) and distributed control systems (DCSs) with novel sensing technologies to produce a completely integrated information technology (IT) system for monitoring and control of paper characteristics. Using silicon and infrared technology as well as optoelectronic devices, among others, researchers developed sensors to analyse weight, ash, moisture, thickness and gloss. Sensors were integrated with control software and hardware leading to enhancements in efficiency, accuracy and energy management. The above were then combined with novel QCSs and DCSs technologies providing a total quality solution. Commercialisation of the results should significantly enhance the competitiveness of European SMEs working in the paper industry and offer the potential for development of new paper grades for specific uses. In addition, consumers and other end users should see higher quality and reliability in the papers purchased.
Development of a fully integrated it solution for the paper industry based on emerging opto-electronic and sensory technologies (EMERGPAPE)
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