Investments are planned mainly in proven technologies. CHRISTOPHER JOSEPH and JOHNSON DOMINIC Beyond digitization (converting analog information to digital) and digitalization (the technology-driven shift to business processes) lies digital transformation. And it gradually finds its way into other sectors, including the petrochemical industry. They almost unanimously report that digitization will have a significant impact on their internal processes and their supply chain. But it is a critical start. Improved collaboration with suppliers is an often-mentioned benefit. The EPCA report provides some illustrations of innovative digital projects in the petrochemical supply chain through eleven cases from manufacturers and logistics service providers. READ MORE. The customers seem to “push” digitization into the supply chain, all the way from the consumer to the refinery. Digital technologies and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are major forces that can transform the whole industry. Three out of four survey participants acknowledge that the petrochemical sector is lagging behind other sectors. The “number one priority” should go to attracting and developing digital talent, although it is fair to say that effort is also needed on all other aspects – digital strategy, governance, processes, culture and technology – of capabilities for digital transformation. •    Maintaining the effectiveness of control loops, controllers and models over time, so that the benefits of advanced process control are sustained The first is using digital-enabled approaches to improve companies’ business processes, which can be called functional excellence. •    Improved monitoring of energy use to increase operating efficiency Digitization casts a wide net of applicable industries that it could benefit. Much of this sulphur content is converted through hydrotreating into hydrogen sulphide in refining and other conversion facilities. The petrochemical industry is a vital component of numerous industrial processes as it provides raw materi… Digitization isn't the end of the story of digital transformation as we move to industry 4.0. This website uses cookies to optimise your user experience. The petrochemical industry has ridden high on emerging-market demand growth since the start of the century, just like producers of metals and other commodities. Digitalization issues were discussed at Asia Downstream Week 2018, which was organized by Euro Petroleum Consultants (EPC) and held in Bangkok 9-11 October. A process simulation model was also developed for the sulphur system. Functional excellence has generated significant productivity improvements over the past two decades. If and when investments in these technologies will be seen, it will most likely be in niche applications in the supply chain. So, the overall picture the study draws is one of a sector that is well aware of the importance and potential impact of digitization that got off the starting blocks and is running. However, the current digitization of the Indian chemical industry is below average. The Pharma industry is facing the biggest transformation since the rise of the modern medicines in the nineteenth century and the introduction of the manufacturing automation in 1980s. Download (PDF / 0.56MB) According to a Gartner survey of businesses around the world across 15 industries, 47% of CEOs are being challenged by their board of directors to make progress in digital business, and 56% said that their digital improvements have already improved profits. Start-up companies are disrupting traditional logistics flows. The refinery in question decided to implement Helium Consulting’s sulphur specific IIoT offering, Mboss, to help plan and execute optimisation, followed by monitoring and control through detailed analysis, expedited corrective actions and use of automated algorithms in real time. figure 4). Back in 2006, Clive Humby at Tesco said the almost prophetic words “data is the new oil.” Time proved him right. Key Considerations for Fuel and Petrochemical Companies Pursuing Digital Transformation. Digitalization is the hype. Streaming data from sensors and instruments enables plants to quickly assess current conditions and identify warning signs for abnormal operations. We experience every day how data and digital applications change the way we communicate, the way we live, and the way we do business. In a diversified industry that delivers products to virtually every other sector, customer service has a large impact on growth and operations. These developments provided the entry point and backdrop for a supply chain & logistics research study, commissioned by the European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) and conducted over the course of 2017 by a team at Vlerick Business School. The examples of digitization in the supply chain are numerous. Jacobs Engineering, Wood PLC, Day & Zimmermann, Air Liquide, Cheniere, LyondellBasell, Braskem, Pathfinder and A refinery where the option of changing feed strategy is not available may need to invest in expensive upgrading projects. Users access data from the local area network and make recommendations for appropriate operational actions through a system that integrates advanced process control, soft sensors, simulation, linear programming and dashboarding technology to deliver real time benefits. •    Decision making support and improved operation through continuous monitoring and by providing instant access to information Core refinery challenge Digital Transformation is a buzz word that seems to be on everyone's mind and lips these days. Petrochemical Update and Autodesk brought together a group of science, technology, engineering and project management experts to discuss and debate the role of technology in helping the construction and engineering industry rethink the future of capital projects. Request a consultation with TruQC. Thus, digital technology awareness and the appetite to transform is high within the EPCA membership even though overall, the petrochemical industry is perceived as lagging behind other sectors. They change the way companies run their factories and their supply chain. The solution combines ‘deep domain’ knowledge from operations technology and information technology for online analysis. Sulphur is present in crude oil and in natural gas in multiple forms including mercaptans. Secondly, the more we use information and communication technologies in the supply chain, the more we rely on these systems for our day-to-day operations, and the more we must manage the risk of hacking, system failures and temporary black-outs. A special focus was put on the following questions: How digital is the petrochemical supply chain? An approach to such a challenge is to combine a business process for the sulphur system and create a digital platform for decision making based on sulphur processes. That said, digitization does pay off. AspenTech, a software company born out of MIT, is now playing an important role in helping chemical and petrochemical companies in their digitalization efforts – … •    Reducing unplanned downtime with increased rate of asset utilisation This report focuses on the current state of automation in the petroleum/chemical industry… Especially for logistics service providers this also results in increased sales. Asset challenges There is a bit more hesitation in the petrochemical industry on the technologies with medium to longer-term impact: “Maybe” is the typical answer participants gave when asked about plans for investment in the next 3 years on IoT, control tower solutions, robotics and automation, social media and self-learning systems. In light of increased emissions regulations, changing the crude slates to process lighter, sweeter crude is a potential solution, but this depends on the availability of sweet crude. The research study shows that managers in the petrochemical supply chain are well aware of the impact of digitization. As in many other sectors, digitization is taking place at a fast pace in the petrochemical sector. There is little enthusiasm for investments in augmented reality, blockchain and self-driving vehicles, which is in line with the low impact that is expected from these technologies. industries and sectors embrace digitization in areas ranging from business processes to customer relationship management, digital transformation is becoming a smart business objective beyond just improving the core of the business. •    Detection of small to large scale causes of efficiency losses In a recent AFPM webinar Bruce Taylor, director of digital transformation at Sinclair Oil and Chair of AFPM’s OPCAT Committee, described digital transformation … Digitalization in the petrochemical industry PI sets new standards & launches additional customer touchpoints at the #EPCA53 in Berlin. Advertising Opportunities Print, Digital & Content Solutions. Half of the participants in the research report that it will even change the way they do business. And how can digitization create value in the supply chain of the petrochemical sector, from the upstream refineries, to the downstream traders, distributors and customers of the chemical companies? Logistics Service Providers Act as Catalysts. The LyondellBasell announcement arrived just two days after the collapse of a $17.4 billion joint venture between Dow Chemical and Kuwait’s Petrochemical Industries Co. Mboss is a proprietary software platform written especially for sulphur systems in the refining, petrochemicals and gas industries. The project faced several key challenges. When you optimize your refinery shutdown utilizing technology solutions, you make every facet of your turnaround planning more efficient. The software integrates data with multiple applications and layers of data validation and intelligent data analysis, and KPIs are generated and visualised in the dashboard. IIoT enabled digital systems with advanced analytics help refiners to make improved decisions … In the past four years or so, the hype about the fourth industrial revolution (IR 4.0) has gone into overdrive. Mboss integration is shown in Figure 2. •    Reducing maintenance costs. As with any major initiative, digital transformation in chemicals is likely to be challenging. They show the implementation of a wide range of technologies and systems, offering more transparency, creating platforms for intensive collaboration, and improving supply chain performance. New business models will arise, in manufacturing as well as logistics. Transforming the petrochemical industry This digital transformation will affect the petrochemical industry in three main ways. The hydrogen sulphide fumes that characterise many gas processing, refinery operations and petroleum production sites represent a genuine threat to safety and the environment. Investments in technologies bring along some challenges that need to be managed. Running the race requires a set of capabilities. Big data and advanced analytics, cloud computing, digital identifiers and low-cost sensor technologies will find their way into the petrochemical supply chain soon, if not now already. However, the increased visibility of assets and goods throughout the supply chain and the improved coordination and alignment across the chain has not (yet) led to lower inventory levels and improved asset utilization for many of the participating companies (cf. Solution Since many of these logistics service providers are active in different sectors, they gain experience with more advanced practices that they can transfer to the petrochemical supply chain. These economics based decisions use continuous comparisons between designed and actual performance. Digital twins provide the means for successful digital advancement by breaking down previously inaccessible data silos and granting access to shared information in a common view that improves decision-making. The results of the research study are discussed in the recently published report “Digitisation in the Petrochemical Supply Chain”. Digital technologies are used in this transformation of downstream production facilities. . Logistics service providers are investing in end-to-end visibility across the chain. The acid gas removal unit is used to separate and concentrate H2S and other acid gases produced in hydrotreatment. Click here for more information. Most companies have one or more digitalization initiatives underway as demonstrated in this survey conducted at the 2019 Emerson Exchange during the Chemical Industry Forum session. •    Lowering overall process risk, thus improving safety All Rights Reserved. Key findings from this Not only do the logistics service providers show a higher level of ambition for digitization, they also have a higher level of digital capabilities, and they are further down the road to achieving their ambition. figure 1). This helps to convert a mountain of data into actionable information and translate that actionable information into decisions, leading to real, day to day plant improvements. The primary objective of the solution is to optimise the sulphur recovery circuit and find the best operating parameters to enhance performance while minimising cost and bottlenecks. Innovation in downstream industry means operating facilities at higher operational efficiency, less downtime and better safety. The benefits of such IIoT enabled tools include: Advanced process control was carried out for the sulphur recovery, tail gas and sour water units. The growth of the market for petrochemicals will be driven by rising demand for downstream products from end-use industries and capacity additions in the base chemical industry. The Petrochemical Facility was a retrofit of an existing large combustible liquid tank farm which stores refined oil products and ethanol to deliver motor fuels throughout the US. The majority of the participants in the EPCA study report an increase in efficiency and productivity, as well as an improvement of customer service. Indian Chemical News is an important online resource for news, views, analysis, trends, technology updates and interviews with prominent leaders in the chemical and petrochemical space. Case Study I: The journey to digitalisation In this article, we discuss two case studies from the refining and petrochemicals industry. Helium Consulting. What does digital transformation mean for the Petrochemical Industry? Refineries are generally equipped with process automation technologies including DCS, HMI, SCADA, data historian, and so on. Finally, the overall interest in 3D-printing, unmanned aerial vehicles and bionic enhancement is low in the petrochemical supply chain. A value focused approach is taken to leverage IIoT implementation and make refiners more profitable. At present, it is almost impossible to find a refining or petrochemical company that has not announced its plans to introduce digital solutions at its plants. The sector may be lagging… yet, there is a lot of ambition. figure 3). It has changed entire sectors, such as telecommunications, retail, and media and entertainment. Nearly 240 managers and experts in the petrochemical supply chain participated. Indian Chemical News is a media company with interests in online publishing and industry events related to the chemical and allied sectors. The introduction of IIoT technologies is helping two companies improve their decision making and performance. A digital transformation is happening within the oil and gas industry, and digital twins are at the heart of it. Could it be a matter of time before these longer-term benefits materialize? A plant enabled by IIoT is equipped with a combination of sensors, automation systems and cloud based technologies that are integrated with its current systems and data analytics capabilities. Crambeth Allen Publishing Ltd, Multi-element and total S process analyzers, Hydrotreating and hydrocracking catalysts, Advanced sulphur analysis in hydrocarbons, Instrumentation, Automation and Process Control. There is a need for investment in developing these capabilities. Do you think existing technologies can enable digital transformation needs? So, every industry is either at or near an inflection point for digital transformation. The future of work is increasing digital, and nowhere is that more evident than in manufacturing. About half of the participants aim to be an early adopter of digitization or even an innovator (cf. Learn more about TruQC’s success in the petrochemical industry. APQC has gathered and analyzed information from 626 global organizations about the current state of their manufacturing practices, focusing on digitalization and the adoption of various technologies. As such, they act as the catalyst of digital innovations in the petrochemical supply chain. The case studies explain how the digitalisation journey started, the challenges faced, and the path to implementation of IIoT. To strengthen the chances of success, refinery and petrochemicals companies are using digital tools that enable plants to access the benefits of the IIoT and cloud computing. Chemical companies’ business processes, including manufacturing, marketing and sales, and R&D, present opportunities for performance improvement based on data capture and interpretation. The customers are actually an important driver of digitization (cf. How could digital transformation improve plant reliability and integrity in the Petrochemical Industry? Pressure is also coming from newcomers in the sector: start-up companies launching new solutions, the so-called “GAFA” companies, or existing companies from other sectors entering the petrochemical sector. A single window gives real time, actionable insights to optimise the process. 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Utilizing technology solutions, you make every facet of your turnaround planning more efficient so every.

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