Industry 4.0 and its impact on the Chemical industryThe idea of industry 4.0 in recent years has helped make great strides in the chemical industry. Digital transformations like digitization, AI, and automation have enabled the industry to boost production and cut costs at unprecedented levels. 88% of manufacturing industry leaders report that industry 4.0 has or will increase the productivity of their business, and 74% believe that it will increase profitability. In the past century, the chemical industry has seen great strides. Now, it’s time for yet another great leap towards improvement with new-age technologies, which have yielded promising results. Tech is ironing out various inefficiencies that had crept into the chemical industry due to the limitations of the pre-digitalization age. Changes to the old chemical industry systems and methods by positively harnessing technology complement the base upon which they had been implemented. How are global firms using the benefits of industry 4.0?
Controlling volatilityFluctuations in prices of raw materials, supply chains, and various parts of the value chain have historically cut deep into the profitability of many businesses operating in the chemical industry. Linear programming and other mathematical intensive solutions alleviated the problem to some extent. However, predictive analytics from AI that uses historical data to create real-time, adaptive models is now used extensively to combat this issue. Firms now just input data of existing supply chains, and an AI code uses it to find the most efficient combination for the future.
Facilitating the creation of new productsPeople tried and tested different permutations and combinations of potential new products molecules manually in earlier times. Needless to say, the process was extremely slow and cumbersome. Today, this process is carried out with AI and the impressive computing power at the disposal of modern-day machines. Many complex molecules are created and evaluated for potency as future products in a time-efficient manner at lower costs and staffing expenses. The Dow chemical company has implemented this same process to great effect.
Enabling effective maintenanceMaintenance of machinery has always been an integral part of the chemical industry. Effective maintenance can reduce downtime and improve the life of expensive machines used in the industry. Average downtimes of chemical plants lead to a production loss of 21 days. This process has been made more efficient using advanced maintenance analytics, reducing machine downtimes by 30% to 50% and extending machine life by 20% to 40%. Real-time access to data from various parts of the production process, using IoT, also gives shop floor managers greater control over the production process. It ensures localized problems are fixed in the least possible time, minimizing process downtime.
Improved Supply Chain ManagementMachine learning algorithms enable efficient inventory management by using historical data on market behavior. Predictive models are created using this data to prevent unexpected fluctuations in raw material prices. Such algorithms increase accuracy as time passes, and a more extensive data set is available for analysis. Supply chain management for various raw materials is also being automated and adjusted for complex calculations like space for transportation, which would have been very time-consuming in the earlier days.
- Automating various processes in the chemical industry has helped reduce the number of recalls and quality audits. Accuracy in product formulation due to automation is making the work process smoother and quality control more manageable.
- Productivity enhancement
- Chemical plants and factories would generate large quantities of data during their operations; however, the data is not used to its full potential