With a comprehensive program, Covestro is driving digitalization forward in operations: The materials manufacturer is collecting and analysing production data already since many years. Now, Covestro has taken the next step in digitalizing its operating business. The program will be rolled out globally in the coming years. Priority is being given to the areas of facility engineering, operations and manufacturing on a global scale. It is intended to make processes even more efficient.
“We will foster the further digitalization of Covestro. We are building on many years of experience in working with data. Now, we are entering into the next dimension,” explains Klaus Schäfer, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Covestro and responsible for Production and Technology. “Today, digital solutions contribute significantly in making life easier and simplyfying work. They have become standard in everyday life. Digitalization has a huge impact on the chemical industry, too. With new digital applications, we at Covestro want to make production processes even more efficient and sustainable.”
Digital twin of new production facilities increases efficiency
In order to advance the digitalization of new production facilities, the company has launched the global program “Optimized System Integration” (OSI2020). Data integration, data analysis and the associated new ways of thinking and working are intended to make the engineering, operations and manufacturing of plant facilities more safe, reliable and efficient within the next years. The heart of OSI2020 is the new “Integrated Plant and Engineering Platform”. In the near future, major data systems within operations will be connected to this platform. The aim is to create a unified data model and a digital twin for Covestro production facilities. This will enable the company to significantly improve cooperation and handover between internal and external employees in the engineering and operating phases. As a result, the company expects an even higher degree of quality in execution, improved work safety, less need for rework and rectification of defects during the plant engineering and construction phase, maintenance and facility overhaul. This allows to increase production capacity.
Existing operations becoming more digital
The comprehensive, strategic program “Digital@Covestro” bundles all activities with which Covestro is making digitalization an integral part of its corporate strategy. In the dimension of digital operations, there are also projects focusing on smart analysis of current production data to further improve efficiency and reliability of the running plants.
The new “Process Data Analysis & Visualization” project for example, works on the implementation of a holistic data analysis and visualization platform. This platform generates combined analysis of various data sources related to production. Its goal is to predict future asset and plant behavior. So, various stakeholders could make better informed decisions to underline safe, reliable and efficient operations.
Thanks to “mobile maintenance” with tablet computers, Covestro expects an increase in efficiency in routine maintenance. The project will be launched at various production sites worldwide this year. Work steps are reduced and the workflows within the facility is streamlined. This saves time and money.
Digitalization changes jobs
“We take advantage of the vast opportunities provided by digitalization. In operations, we have already started to set new standards which imply also changing some job profiles,” explains Covestro Chief Technology Officer Klaus Schäfer. “The chemical industry is driven by innovation and change since decades. We have developed our employees ever since and we will do that in the future: we want everybody to join the journey of digitalization.”
This will pave the way for an even quicker adaption of new workflows in order to prove the important position of Covestro in digital operations.
With 2017 sales of EUR 14.1 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16200 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) at the end of 2017.