Voith wins this year’s AI Champions Award in the ‘large enterprise’ category for its newly developed AI application OnView.DigitalEye. For the first time, this innovation allows the quality of recovered paper to be analyzed at the stock preparation stage, one process step before paper production. Every year, the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Employment and Tourism of the state of Baden-Württemberg awards the accolade to outstanding innovations that contribute to a successful AI ecosystem with the help of artificial intelligence. Voith’s digital solution impressed the committee with its sustainability, innovative strength, area of application, and added value for the customer.
- With its AI Champions Award, the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Employment and Tourism of the state of Baden-Württemberg recognizes outstanding solutions from the field of artificial intelligence (AI) that contribute to a successful AI eco-system.
- With the help of the digital analysis tool OnView.DigitalEye, it is possible for the first time to determine the precise quality of recovered paper even before the stock preparation process.
- The key criteria applied by the jury included sustainability, degree of innovation, areas of application, and the added value of the Voith innovation for the customer.
“With the award-winning modular system OnView.DigitalEye it is possible for the first time in the paper industry to assess the quality of the recovered paper immediately before the first step in paper manufacturing,” says Dr. Linus Friedrich, Senior Manager R&D Technology & Digitalization at Voith Paper. “We can use the newly generated signals for example to increase the yield from recovered paper preparation and improve operational reliability. The innovation is thus another important element of Papermaking 4.0 and autonomous paper production.”
More than 70 percent of the paper produced in Europe is recovered from recycled paper. Nowadays, assessing the quality of the recovered paper is generally limited to an incoming goods inspection that either takes the form of a visual inspection or a random sampling process involving costly or labor-intensive solutions. However, the quality of the recovered paper is not known immediately before it is pulped for paper manufacture, which can result in a high degree of uncertainty for the process. Voith has now developed a solution to deal with this. OnView.DigitalEye is based on artificial intelligence, although it uses images from conventional color cameras, which keeps the investment costs comparatively low. The centerpiece of OnView.DigitalEyes is an artificial neural network that leverages expert knowledge to learn how to assign recovered paper with a high degree of accuracy to its respective commercial grade. In combination with conventional image analysis, additional valuable signals are generated for recovered paper properties that can be used for efficient process control. The AI application OnView.DigitalEye is currently undergoing final trials in pilot installations at customers in Germany and abroad, and will probably be available from the middle of next year.
The expertise and digital infrastructure established for OnView.DigitalEye are planned to also be used in future for other cross-industry applications relating to AI-supported visual inspection at the Voith Group. “By using Voith’s own robust IIoT & AI services, we can realize customer solutions for groundbreaking application requirements simply and agilely,” says Thomas Greil, Vice President IIoT & Advanced Applications at Voith Group Innovation & Technology. “In the process, the underlying technology services will be further expanded successively and sustainably, while at the same time creating a harmonious application eco-system for our customers. The added value for the customer, with a pragmatic approach to the latest technologies, is always the focus of our digital ambitions.”
About the Voith Group
The Voith Group is a global technology company. With its broad portfolio of systems, products, services and digital applications, Voith sets standards in the markets of energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive. Founded in 1867, the company today has more than 20,000 employees, sales of € 4.2 billion and locations in over 60 countries worldwide and is thus one of the larger family-owned companies in Europe.
The Group Division Voith Paper is part of the Voith Group. As the full-line supplier to the paper industry, it provides the largest range of technologies, services and products on the market and offers paper manufacturers holistic solutions from a single source. The company’s continuous stream of innovations facilitates resource-conserving production and helps customers minimize their carbon footprint. With its leading automation products and digitalization solutions from the Papermaking 4.0 portfolio, Voith offers its customers state-of-the-art digital technologies to improve plant availability and efficiency for all sections of the production process.