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Why everybody is interested in your jet/wire ratio and other views on your Artificial Intelligence strategy

The time of experimenting is over, and companies are beginning to demand real results from AI.

Heikki Taskinen / May 12, 2021

Using AI in pulp and paper manufacturing is gathering momentum. There are a few things, however, that are good to keep in mind to avoid pitfalls.

Three fundamental questions are:

  • Are you focusing on data itself instead of value adding applications?
  • Do you use AI for analytics only or do you consider AI also as a process control
    tool?
  • Are you struggling with cloud of cloud services?

Many companies currently have data and AI on their agenda. Their focus is very much on how to manage the data, what kind of data platform to create or what kind of organization to form for governing the data. Since there is an increasing pressure to achieve something, lots of experiments around the data are conducted, often labelled as Proof of Concept.

Data is valuable only when put in real use

Pressure, however, is mounting to start seeing real-world AI applications. The time of experimenting is over, and companies are beginning to demand real results from AI. Companies can spend a lot of time setting up their data governance and platforms while business is eagerly waiting for the time when they can start projects making good use of the data. That, hopefully, puts pressure on IT and data organizations.

It would be wise to begin from the desired outcomes, to find real business challenges that can be resolved with the help of data and AI. When there is a clear need to resolve a problem and get real business benefits, then the work with data also becomes better focused.

AI for analytics or process control?

That takes us to our second subject. As a “use case” for data and AI, companies often mention analytics. AI is considered yet another tool to analyse data. Technology companies are providing analytics tools on their platforms, so the focus is very much on the data itself and technical tools.

Another viewpoint is to make AI part of operations and process control. This puts everything in another perspective. When AI is embedded into existing operational systems at the mill, or AI algorithms are actually allowed to run the process, its value increases. Numerous customer cases already prove that.

This in turn forces you to think where AI should be running. Should it run far away in the cloud, close to analytics tools, or should it run close to operations, processes, and data? It is obvious that AI will become as business-critical a component as process and quality control systems currently are.

The struggle with cloud of clouds

The jet/wire ratio is a good example of how cloud of cloud services jump into the AI discussion. Why is everybody interested in the jet/wire ratio, and why is this a problem?

Jet/wire ratio is an interesting process value because it affects so many things at the mill. Your chemical supplier needs it in their wet end chemistry analysing service, provided from their cloud. Your paper machine supplier may want it in their cloud service to control web strength. Another partner is offering you a web break analytics tool, and the jet/wire ratio is obviously a key data tag to follow. Your predictive maintenance and condition monitoring partners might also be interested in it and want it included in their cloud-based service.

This means there is a cloud of cloud services that all need your process data.

You might say you replicate the jet/wire ratio to your cloud and all your partners are welcome to use it for their particular needs from there. Big respect to companies who have advanced this far. The reality, though, is different in many companies. Unresolved issues are whether those cloud services are actually able to control the process, or how the customer who is buying those cloud services can utilise the results of AI algorithms in their own systems.

To conclude, data & AI strategy, technical platform, data governance, and experiments are highly relevant activities in companies right now – but the most important target should be to provide real value-adding solutions to create real and tangible business benefits.

Heikki Taskinen
Head of Service Sales, Pulp, paper and fibre

With all his 35-year working life in the forest industry, from systems development to leading international service teams, Heikki has exceptional capabilities to capture business benefits for TietoEVRY’s customers through well performing IT.

Author

Heikki Taskinen

Head of Service Sales, Pulp, paper and fibre

Pulp, Paper and Fibre industry solutions and services

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