It is an effective, innovative service model for chemical suppliers and industrial sites to optimise and improve their process chemistry. Not just cost cutting, but real improvements in productivity and profitability. Some examples of financial savings made by companies will be given in future posts.
The service from process-chemistry-analytics.com ticks a number of boxes:
Assists industrial sites to optimise and reduce the amount they spend on chemicals.
Improves selection of new chemical treatments, by minimising risk of implementation, and accurately verifying their effects on throughput, production, downtime and product quality.
Can result in significant increases in throughput, production, product quality and reduction in downtime.
Can improve Environment, Health & Safety performance.
Starts providing benefits quickly (the main focus of PCA, process-chemistry-analytics.com).
Highly objective, science and technology based service.
Can be used to develop improved chemical and process control strategies.
Independent of chemical suppliers. This is a significant advantage for chemical suppliers, who can use it to demonstrate to their customers that they have confidence in their chemical treatments.
Industrial sites can use it and be independent of the process chemistry analytics service offered by some chemical suppliers. No need to be tied to a particular chemical supplier.
Can provide longer-term benefits via projects with leading university based research and development networks.
Is 100% focused on and specialised in process chemistry analytics with access to the latest developments.
A data based technology service carried out mainly over the Internet and telephone.
Environmentally friendly – minimises travelling and burning of fossil fuels. Controls chemical usage.
Is “geeky” and fun, if you like that sort of thing!
Currently, as far as I am aware, chemical suppliers are mostly not offering this type of high level service to their industrial clients. Some are for specific, specialised applications and industries, but it is not yet widely used.
Expert system models of a particular chemical process are available from some chemical suppliers for certain unit processes, but the industrial site needs to trust that the model is reliable.
They probably also do not want to be tied to a single chemical supplier, who normally only supply the process chemistry analytics as a package with their chemicals.
And the intellectual property is owned by the chemical supplier, which normally means they will not sell (transfer ownership of) a process chemistry analytics system to a particular site. They will only rent it out while the site is buying their chemicals. It is probably closed source, not open source.
There are barriers to entry, i.e. it requires certain expertise; process chemistry analytics involves a number of disciplines and is thought to be difficult or expensive to implement.
The core business of chemical suppliers is manufacturing, selling and supplying chemicals to certain target industries and applications. It is not process chemistry analytics.
Even if they do offer it as a service, there is the issue that, in general, industrial clients are aware that chemical suppliers mainly want to sell more chemicals. In general, they treat the claims made by chemical suppliers with healthy scepticism.
And, they do not want to be tied to a particular chemical supplier, who in most cases, will only apply process chemistry analytics to optimise and control their own chemical treatments. If the industrial site changes chemical supplier, it potentially loses the process chemistry analytics too!
For these reasons, there is a need for the process chemistry analytics service to be truly independent of chemical suppliers, be 100% focused on process chemistry analytics and not get involved in the supply of chemicals.
In general, the process chemistry and chemicals being supplied to improve production are often seen by industrial sites as a “black art” and risky to implement. Chemical suppliers have to do a lot of convincing before plant management will risk changing the process chemistry at their industrial site. Errors can be very expensive in terms of lost production and final product quality!
The independent process chemistry analytics service assists in significantly reducing the risk of implementing new chemical treatments and, gives the industrial site freedom to select chemical treatments from any chemical supplier.
It does this by employing a scientific, objective approach using process chemistry knowledge, the industrial site’s own data, advanced data analytics and information technology.
Objectives are set based on discussions with industrial site personnel about the process chemistry issues. Production periods are summarised, quantified and compared with historical data to assess with confidence how the process is evolving. This translates into better, more informed decisions on the process chemistry.
From all of the above points, it should be clear that an independent process chemistry analytics service is very useful to chemical suppliers and industrial sites alike, as it helps to overcome the trust issues that exist around the process chemistry and, the implementation and control of new chemical treatments.
Search Engine Results for Process Chemistry Analytics
Let’s see what the search engines say about it. Put the words process chemistry analytics into a Google search, https://www.google.com, and see what you get. This site, process-chemistry-analytics.com appears on the first page of the Google search and there are about twenty pages in total, which is very good!
Now enter the same words into the Bing search engine owned by Microsoft, https://www.bing.com. It is ranked high on the first page out of a total of some 93 pages, which also is very good! As we know, most people only look at the first page of search results.
Look at the other resources listed in the search results. Most of them refer to the use of analytical chemistry in chemical processes.
The field of analytical chemistry is the study of the chemical composition and structure of substances. It is as old as chemistry itself and there are a lot of resources for it! Process analytical chemistry includes process chemometrics. The latter deals with the applications of multivariate statistical techniques to industrial process data.
Process chemistry analytics has evolved from the rapid growth of online sensors and, so called digital or big data applications in industry. There are a many digital or big data resources.
Process chemistry analytics or, chemical process analytics, is a subset of digital, focusing on the industrial chemistry and chemical applications.
There are some relatively recent articles published by McKinsey & Company and others, describing the application of digital to industry, including chemical manufacturing.
More fundamentally, process chemistry analytics is the synthesis of process chemistry knowledge, advanced data analytics and information technology.
We can define these terms further.
Process Chemistry Knowledge
Process chemistry and the knowledge thereof, refers to the chemical processes involved in manufacturing and the chemical additives employed, including the unique terminology of the different industries.
It includes knowledge of the chemical industry and chemical suppliers and, how they go about their daily activities in industry where they supply the chemicals. It includes knowledge of the critical unit processes in different manufacturing processes and how they can interact with each other.
Knowledge of the markets and companies involved is important. For example, the speciality chemical supplier industry is dominated by a few multinationals. Names like:
Ecolab-Nalco, Kemira, BASF, AkzoNobel, BWA Water Additives, Clariant, SNF Floerger, The Dow Chemical Company, SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions, Veolia Water Technologies, Solvay, Solenis, Kurita and others.
Advanced Data and Predictive Analytics
Put simply, advanced predictive analytics refers to the use of historical data to predict what will happen next. It also can be used to summarise large data sets accurately, so that statistically significant differences can be discerned and effective management decisions made.
Predictive analytics can extract the main factors explaining the variance of multiple variables with thousands or millions of observations.
To achieve this, a myriad of statistical, graphical, algorithmic tools are available. Principal component analysis, Bayesian statistics, machine learning and other techniques are available. It heavily relies on the use of computer hardware and specialised software.
The statistical and graphical techniques used will depend on the objectives of the process chemistry analytics. Typically, it involves the use of more than one software tool. Applications used include the Python, R and bash computer languages, which are open source. Leading proprietary systems include SAS, IBM SPSS and others.
The data cleaning or data management step can be the most time consuming part, especially on very large data sets. But it is essential to make sure that the data is meaningful and that missing values are treated correctly in the statistical calculations.
We all should know what information technology is. Thanks to the Internet, we live in a highly connected world. We can transfer, manipulate and store large volumes of data with relative ease and speed. For example, we can transfer data between industrial sites and offices using computers.
Cloud technologies and data security are integral to this. Of great importance is website technology. Certain communication protocols are used by the machines to enable them to decipher the website information being sent. Search engine optimisation is necessary to make sure the websites have a high ranking and can be found on Google, Bing, etc.
In order for them to host websites and run software applications, various operating systems are available to make computers and servers functional. Administration of the operating systems, firewalls and apps is necessary to keep them up-to-date with security fixes, enhancements and to diagnose faults.
Backup systems are essential to ensure redundancy and maximum uptime. Distribution of website files around the globe reduces latency, so that users can download from the location nearest to them and have a better user experience.
Responsive web design is needed to enable better user experience from mobile devices. Mobile (excluding tablets) accounts for approximately half of web traffic worldwide.