The current pandemic presents a complex set of challenges to chemical producers around the world. Across the industry, companies are being tested to see their flexibility in learning how to navigate dramatic changes in demand, supply, labor, and the economy, as well as their operational resilience, and how they plan to be better positioned in a crisis.

While meeting these challenges, chemical manufacturer ensure that their factories implement safety and performance standards reliably, and their efficiency is often related to their ability to take advantage of digital technology.

Faced with the challenge of rapidly moving most employees to remote and home office environments, chemical manufacturer is re examining their digital capabilities and making it an important long-term strategy to focus on digitalization.

More and more chemical manufacturers are realizing that it's time to do so. For the chemical industry, the current situation is a unique opportunity to optimize business processes and get close to customers. Digital technology provides insight into the operations and capabilities of production systems, makes state and integration more visible, and explores alternatives to aid decision-making.

At the same time, we have identified six digital technologies that can be implemented now, including digital twin, multivariate data analysis and normative maintenance supported by artificial intelligence, to achieve greater visibility and decision insight.

1. Adjust the process to meet the changing market demand

Using digital twin technology, you can create simulations of existing assets to define new production boundaries and potential alternative sites, while integrating security constraints and cost issues. Digital twins can also be used to speed up the plant online and train operators to deal with unexpected operational errors.

2. Using APC technology to optimize production

With the change of demand, advanced process control (APC) can stabilize the operation in a new target range and integrate the ability of assets to find the best operation conditions. For many cells, this optimization can be done dynamically to ensure operational efficiency, even at low rates.

3. Using the existing data to improve product quality

Multivariate analysis identifies the causes of process changes and targets optimal conditions to improve product quality, yield and throughput. This analysis may be particularly valuable when market volatility shifts business to new and unexpected mechanisms, helping to define "new optimal" conditions.

4. Make agile production plan

Leverage new tools to increase supply chain alignment and collaboration between teams in remote areas, even if market expectations change rapidly. Ability to quickly review other operations and supply scenarios to help employees make more informed decisions about operations and other economic choices for better business results. In addition, enhanced collaboration tools help improve individual and team productivity in the supply chain and operations.

5. Maintain the reliability of plant equipment

With the delay of maintenance activities and the pressure of unconventional operation on equipment, the attention to reliability is also increasing. Standardized maintenance solutions use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze operation and equipment data, provide key insights for potential failures, and guide operators to reduce equipment pressure and maximize normal operation time.

6. Increase the visibility of the whole enterprise operation

In times of uncertainty, it is important to understand activities across units, locations and regions. Integrated analysis tools can help identify and diagnose problems, and deal with a large number of remote users quickly through virtual private network (VPN). These tools can also help operators identify and eliminate process problems, and build custom dashboards to keep management up-to-date and focus on key issues.