“As a country, we need to embrace deep investments in R&D and become a hub of innovation and intellectual property creation – which also applies to the Indian pulp and paper, and packaging industry.”
Excerpts of the interview with Mr. Arjunan P N, Co-founder & Vice- President, HABER Technologies:
Paper Mart: “Aatmanirbhar Bharat is not about being self-contained or closed to the world; it is about being self-sustaining, self-generating,” PM Modi said with the message that India is walking the path of self-reliance. How do you relate the relevance of this viewpoint for the Indian pulp and paper industry?
Arjunan P N: We live in an increasingly interconnected world where the goods and services’ supply chains are efficiently distributed across geographies. As a country, we need to embrace deep investments in R&D and become a hub of innovation and intellectual property creation – which also applies to the Indian pulp and paper, and packaging industry. This is critical not just from the perspective of growth and profitability, but essentially for survival.
PM: What do you think are the different strategies and the kind of investment which is required to developing a globally competitive domestic supply chain in the Indian paper industry?
APN: Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are the two prominent industry-changing technologies that will transform all the industries. Our industry should get at the forefront and embrace these and other emerging technologies and be a trailblazer. In my view, it is 100% plausible that we can definitely lead in this space.
PM: Please outline the recent product developments at your end and the upgradations you have introduced in the recent past at your production unit.
APN: We are a services company to the global pulp, paper, packaging industry as well as other process industries like food & beverage processing and metals and mineral processing. We have actively transferred all of our data to the cloud and we no longer use any on-premise software or data servers. Additionally, we have also implemented AI in our internal processes and R&D functions to develop new chemistries, some of which will be ground-breaking for papermaking.
PM: Smart manufacturing together with Industry 4.0 is emerging as the next step towards calibrating manufacturing for the future. What are your strategies and outlook on this technology-driven approach to monitoring and improve manufacturing performance in the paper industry?
APN: Data is the starting point. Firstly, “sensorization” of the factory followed by data ingestion and storage in the cloud will be an efficient and secure way for organizing vast amounts of data. The second aspect is connected factories which share data across a network or send and receive intelligence from the cloud. Third and the highest level is artificial intelligence – the pulp and paper industries have such a large extent of dependent parameters or variables that are beyond human reproach to compare and analyze in real-time. HABER is a pioneer in bringing these cross-industry technologies together, greatly impacting productivity and profitability.
PM: What kind of trends do you foresee with respect to capacity expansions, quality enhancement, productivity improvements in the sector?
APN: The efficient way to buy is no longer capital investments but purchasing technologies as services. One-time investments in the latest technology can be expensive and the risk of obsolescence is high. In HABER’s pay for performance model, the paper mill is protected against these high costs and risks.