Pulp, Paper & Logistics - January/February 2022 issue

Page 12


Pulp Paper & Logistics

The role of automation in safety and performance Automated processes that manage waste in tissue making and converting plants provide significant improvements in safety, says David Barnard*


issue production has come a long way since the days of open machinery in wood warehouses in the middle of virgin forests across the US. Thanks to legislation over the years, safety is deeply embedded in a tissue plant’s processes and procedures. In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data that showed that the 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 January/February 2022

had dropped to 2.8 per 100 in 2019. Whereas the risk of falling into machinery has diminished exponentially, there is still opportunity to improve the safety and, therefore, the performance of an organisation. Is there an opportunity to help tissue making and converting become safer? Absolutely. Better safety and efficiency come from integrating automation into the infrastructure of your plant design,

probably in an area that you hadn’t noticed before. It’s likely you already have automation in many parts of your plant, considering the global industrial automation market is worth more than US$190 billion and the largest segment of that market is in process automation. But what I see too often when working with tissue manufacturers is a high-speed converting line running like clockwork, but

Dealing with waste such as this cookie trim and tissue logs is a key safety issue, both for workers handling it and the risk of fire spitting scrap cookies/trimmings, logs or slab waste onto the floor. Then a worker comes around, bends over, picks it up, puts it in a bin and wheels it to the next stage of the process, or leaves it in the sea of bins cluttering the converting line’s operation space.

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