Land-grant colleges and universities were funded by the Morrill Acts (1862 and 1890). The beginning of the agricultural revolution in the United States approximates these acts. When I say "the agricultural revolution" I am referring to the phenomenal improvement in the productivity of agriculture that has occurred from the mid-19th century until today. We need go no further than note that at the beginning of this period, over 98% of the population was engaged in agriculture, today less than 2% is, despite massive growth in the number of mouths to feed.
Agriculture has always been ahead of industry in efficiency improvements. For many years now, agriculture has been using the power of big computing, along with various sensors, to bring a new boost to efficiency. Tractors pulling planters are guided within 1-inch variation via GPS with no humans touching the steering wheel. Sensors record the application of seed and fertilizer to a point of ever smaller resolution. Harvesting machinery use this same data to record harvests to the same resolution and in turn, put the data into next year's planting plan to ever improve and hence miserly apply nutrients based on the previous year's harvest--just what is needed, just where it is needed. Gone are the days of broadcast applications based on average conditions.
We are just beginning to see these kinds of efficiencies applied to the pulp and paper industry and its ancillary components (printing, box making, tissue converting).
Don't despair--help is coming.
This help is coming in the form of the "Internet of Things" or, in manufacturing parlance, "Industry 4.0." Paperitalo Publications saw this coming early and has launched a monthly newsletter, "Industree 4.0" (our own trademark pending name to recognize our focus on the pulp and paper industry). Suppliers are recognizing this coming revolution, too--SAP (yes, that SAP) has partnered with Paperitalo Publications to communicate their own concepts and offerings in this area directly to you.
Onlypulpandpaperjobs.com has hundreds of registrants! [03.01.19]
In general, what do we see coming for the pulp and paper industry? The same types of resolution of understanding of discreet processes (that is, similar to agriculture) where the application of additives, thermal energy, vacuum and other cost components can be done with precision and miserliness, thus avoiding the over application currently practiced to compensate for lack of knowledge. Sensors, big data, and sophisticated analyses will squeeze the addition of other materials to the cellulose fiber in ways we have never seen before.
Think of it, we only want to take the cellulose fiber and make it into a certain grade of paper. Everything we add to this fiber is a cost. This includes steam, various additives, electrical energy, vacuum to take away what we just added (such as water) and so forth and so on. In the past we have known no better way than the gross application of everything because our real time resolution on the process has been so "grainy."
Here at Paperitalo Publications, our sister organization, the Light Green Machine Institute has been working for nearly ten years to lighten the machinery load and consequently some components of the energy load. The Internet of Things, or Industry 4.0, is about to burst on the scene with ways to improve efficiency that we have never seen before, and it will do so through finer resolution, finer understanding of what goes on in our processes. This will affect our energy requirements in the future in ways we have never understood and hence never been able to apply. I think this is about to happen very quickly, putting pressure on older mills to adopt and adapt quickly in order to stay competitive.
We just may catch agriculture yet.
For safety this week, if we can see more with sensors, that will mean we humans will not have to get as close to the process. Sounds like a safety improvement to me.
Be safe and we will talk next week.
Onlypulpandpaperjobs.com has taken off like a rocket! Over fifty jobs are posted, in many interesting categories. These jobs are in at least ten different US states. [06.19.19]
Employers are on board with Onlypulpandpaperjobs.com. There are nearly thirty employers located in fifteen different US states and two other countries. [06.19.19]