Germany provides €3.2M for joint project, KIBAPap, which aims to develop AI-based operator assistance system in the recycling of paper; Leipa, Veolia will incorporate project into ongoing operation of paper mill to test research goals in practice

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

August 21, 2023 (press release) –

The resource and energy intensity of the process industry in Germany will require decisive innovative leaps in the coming years, both in terms of the ecological footprint and production efficiency. Germany's paper industry, as part of the process industry, has achieved great success in sustainability in recent years with the continuous increase in the use of waste paper. Nevertheless, the production of paper, with waste paper as the most important raw material, remains a very resource-intensive process.

The focus of the BMWK-funded joint project "KIBAPap" is the development of an AI-based operator assistance system in the recycling of paper. The LEIPA Group GmbH, Veolia Umweltservice GmbH, the universities of Siegen and Aachen, the Munich University of Applied Sciences, the Fraunhofer Institute and the SMEs PROPAKMA GmbH and Consultingtalents AG are involved in the three-year project. The project will contribute to the digitization of the paper recycling cycle, to increasing the efficiency of the production processes and to significant savings in resources. The sustainability of the German circular economy in the paper sector is thus significantly strengthened and allows comprehensive process and product innovations that promote Germany's crisis stability.

The largest joint project within the framework of the research program Industrial Bioeconomy of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection has received its funding decision. The Parliamentary State Secretary Michael Kellner ceremoniously handed the “KIBAPap” consortium the decision for €3.2 million.

State Secretary Michael Kellner emphasizes that Germany needs a strong primary industry. In order to further develop the raw materials industry, research is needed. With KIBAPap we are strengthening research and keeping fibers in circulation. This increases our competitiveness and conserves resources. The Uckermark is a bioeconomy region. Many renowned partners close regional and national circuits.

“Only if we try to tackle the challenges of tomorrow with new, exploratory approaches can we master them. In the paper industry, even small adjustments can mean enormous economic advantages.”
Peter Probst, CEO LEIPA
Those present were surprised when they were greeted by an AI-generated moderator. AI can be found in more and more areas of our lives. Texts, images and videos can also be designed in a lifelike way. Artificial intelligence, as the AI ​​moderator “Marie” introduces, has different possible uses. "In our KIBAPap project, we want to show how AI can save resources."

Alexander Becher presented the framework of the research project and why the complexity of the paper industry requires so many project partners.

Hanna Schwandt, project engineer at LEIPA, explained the opportunities and challenges of incorporating a research project into the ongoing operation of a paper mill. The practice partners VEOLIA and LEIPA involve committed employees in order to test the research goals in practice. The network coordinator Consultingtalents takes on the challenge of using further potential from high-dimensional process data with the help of AI. Felix Hake briefly presented AI-based forecasts for an important quality parameter in paper production.

"Such a comprehensive tool for AI-based process optimization is currently not available on the market."
Professor Jürgen Belle, Munich University of Applied Sciences
joint project

  • KIBAPap
  • Title - AI-based operator assistance system in the paper recycling cycle (KIBAPap)
  • Goal - Optimized use of resources by providing AI-supported knowledge at the paper machine using an operator assistance system
  • Duration - 3 years
  • Project period - July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2026

State-funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection (BMWK)
Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection
project partner
consulting talents
Fraunhofer IVV
University of Munich

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Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

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