Chemicals industry


Working with chemical systems calls for risk analysis and data management. Assets, many of which were built between the late 1970s and early 1980s, are key in performing complex processes. Failing assets result in higher costs and in delays. Accurate risk estimates require data which is not readily available. At the same time, the amount of information available in the organisation is diminishing. How can this tide be turned?

Pressure on costs is high – stakeholders want to get the most out of assets. The longer the investment in a new system can be delayed, the better. Decisions to keep systems in operation longer are assessed against the safety risks involved. Merely focusing on cost reduction or improving availability is not sufficient; optimising processes, digitisation and the use of new technologies tend to be more rewarding.

Strategic challenges in the chemical industry include:

  • Obsolescence of assets;
  • Pressure on budgets;
  • Growing complexity of processes;
  • Incomplete datasets;
  • Knowledge drain.

Making assets smarter

The greatest gains are to be made by making critical assets smarter. The use of sensors and other Internet of Things (IoT) technologies makes it more difficult to improve the safety of manufacturing processes using obsolete assets at a lower cost. Asset management can also be used to switch to a Predictive Maintenance strategy. Maintenance can be scheduled more effectively, and improved predictability ensures that systems only need to be idle if this is strictly necessary.

Data management reverses the knowledge drain

Data management also plays a crucial role. The industry has been suffering a permanent knowledge drain, spurred by various factors, including retirement and a more flexible labour market. If one person possesses all the knowledge, there is a high risk of this knowledge eventually disappearing. In order to counter this, information in the organisation must be made available. It is recommended that you focus on creating a single point of truth. The sooner the knowledge becomes available, the more effective the risk analyses, the more adequate the risk-mitigating measures and the more efficient the maintenance.

Optimising maintenance and operation

In the longer term, the accessibility of data to external stakeholders is likewise essential. A key trend is the creation of what are known as ‘asset collaboration platforms’. This involves sharing knowledge throughout the supply chain in order to further optimise maintenance and operation.

Customer references

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