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Increased Competiveness by Industry 4.0 using Process Intensification

Industry 4.0 means the fourth industrial revolution using elements of the digital world for future manufacturing concepts. The main driver for Industry 4.0 is the increased pressure towards competiveness and manufacturing productivity. The rapid increase in cross-border movement of goods, services, technology and capital leads to the emergence of a global market. The challenge is to push the main parameters for competitiveness to a new global level. Industry 4.0 for Chemistry addresses four main areas for increasing the competitiveness:


1. Reduction of times, e.g. by reducing processing times or development times

2. Quality, for example achieved by a better control of critical process parameters

3. Resources, e.g. by higher yields and therefore less raw materials

4. Costs, e.g. by a reduced manpower demand on the plant


Crosslinking with suppliers enables a change in the chemical value chain by using modified business models, by implementing feedback loops and by shifted responsibilities. Knowledge-based continuous processing enables two fundamental things: first, a much better control of parameters allowing the same conditions for all molecules and, second, new strategies can be applied, which are not possible in batch. Furthermore, mass and heat transfer distances can often be reduced by a signifcant portion, moving processing times from hours to minutes for example, in formulations.



Process excellence means to understand how the product quality is influenced by the process and the way of its execution. The key to success is to build a model which describes the connection of the critical quality attributes (CQA) to the critical process parameters (CPP) on a cause-effect-base. The quality of a product is typically described by means of a quality parameter list in a specification. These quality parameters are sometimes considered to be critical quality attributes (CQA) of a product, and they are influenced by critical process parameters (CPP) identified in the manufacturing processes. This knowledge enables a technology selection. A right-first-time philosophy pushes the focus to the chemical reaction and reduces workup effort. It is expected that modular and flexible continuous operating manufacturing plants with a high automation level will be the backbone in chemical manufacturing. A minimum of labour demand enable European and American companies to compete with the Far East. Small reaction volumes and a precise control will increase the safety and efficiency level of chemical manufacturing.

It is expected that this approach will demonstrate the business game changing effect of Industry 4.0, which will deliver a significant new impact for the future competitiveness of processing companies. It will be seen that classical cost advantages like plant operator wages will become less important, since new success factors rise. The ability to transform will be an important marker of success in the future. New business models will rise. The choice of the business model will be a permanently dynamic procedure, whereas in the past, business models lasted for decades. Industry 4.0 will be a game changer for the processing industries. The speed of implementation will generate a significant advantage in respect to their competiveness.

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