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Deployment of Digital Infrastructure in Chemical Plants Transforms Industry

2017-06-21 20:10

Growth opportunities arise from smart factories embracing IIoT to enhance productivity, safety and innovation, finds Frost & Sullivan's Industrial Automation and Process Control team

SANTA CLARA, California, June 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The manufacturing approach in the chemicals industry is rapidly changing to meet increasing demand for customized and specialty products over commodity chemicals. As industry consolidation accelerates to enable manufacturers to expand their product portfolios, rising environment and health regulations will also compel them to identify alternate energy sources for chemical production. As a result, the industry is set to leverage advanced and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-based technologies to create smart factories that boost productivity, safety, innovation, and cost savings in the long term.

Chemicals 4.0—The Era of Digital Process Production, recent research from Frost & Sullivan's Industrial Automation & Process Control Growth Partnership subscription, finds that chemical manufacturers' shift towards digital plants will facilitate the formulation of robust strategic plans and goals through improved visibility and accessibility of the business operations across the chemical value chain. Market majors such as BASF, Dow Chemicals, DuPont, Evonik, Clariant and Akzo-Nobel are leveraging IIoT-based technologies to achieve higher business growth and explore new revenue streams through product innovation such as smart chemical products.

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"Despite limited capital spend, there is a rise in brownfield projects where chemicals manufacturers invest in advanced automation, modular and smart technologies," said Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation & Process Control Research Analyst Kiravani Emani. "With information and operational technology (IT-OT) convergence, manufacturers can utilize key IIoT technologies, such as smart sensors, cloud, Big Data, and analytics, to facilitate detailed assessment of chemical processes, performance of assets and equipment, and, importantly, control operations."

Investments in communication gateways and intelligent solutions that collate data from equipment deployed in the chemical plant will assist in:

  • Tracking and tracing the chemical process in hazardous environments;
  • Monitoring chemical mixing and quality of raw materials - consistency in these processes will reduce output delays;
  • Identifying solutions supporting green chemistry by assessing and understanding molecular structure and compositions;
  • Shifting from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance; and
  • Modularisation to provide smaller footprint, less wiring and easier installation.

Geographically, the once dominant chemical industry in Europe is losing share to emerging countries in Asia, mainly China and India. As a result, investments in manufacturing plants and research centers are also shifting to the region. North America's chemical industry, on the other hand, is taking advantage of abundant feedstock from shale gas explorations to reduce raw material costs and dependency on trade imports.

"Chemical giants in partnership with government bodies are actively promoting and investing in digital technologies, especially in advanced countries," noted Emani. "This trend will gradually echo in other countries, promoting local manufacturing and boosting overall chemical industry growth."

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today's market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Contact us: Start the discussion

Chemicals 4.0—The Era of Digital Process Production

Jaylon Brinkley
Corporate Communications – North America
P: (210) 247.2481
F: (210) 348.1003


Source: Frost & Sullivan
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