Advances in automation and telemetry are improving the polyurethane manufacturing process, boosting both productivity and profitability. Andy Brice reports.
Polyurethane production is a complex business, with plenty of room for error. From the moment the raw materials are mixed through to foaming, cutting and storage, there are thousands of factors that can influence the quality of the end product. Everything from temperature and humidity to viscosity and density has a bearing on the block, and even a simple deviation can affect an entire batch and prove extremely costly.
Digital technologies allow countless data points to be captured, analysed and adjusted. Increasingly, chemical companies are starting to recognise how they can benefit from these greater levels of control.
Automation is one way to ensure that every block off the production line is on spec, consistent and repeatable. Certainly, introducing real-time monitoring, data collection and telemetry to the plant floor has never been more achievable.
Beyond the traditional
Today’s technologies go far beyond traditional control systems, the new capabilities opening the door to many exciting opportunities.
In fact, in terms of digitalisation, manufacturing operations ‘present one of the biggest and most readily accessible areas of opportunity’, according to consultancy McKinsey & Company. Its report Digital in chemicals: From technology to impact explains that applying digital technologies to the…