As we have recently seen in IBERQUIMIA, a key event for the chemical sector in Spain, the recovery of heat from industrial boilers, the incorporation of systems for the generation and application of heat and/or electricity with biomass and the incorporation of SCADA-type industrial software, are already a determining reality for the sector.
The incorporation of these advances, together with others, will make it possible to face the need to reduce the cost of energy and adapt the processes to the new industrial revolution. These aspects, together with the investment in intangibles and the recruitment of human talent, make up the list of the great challenges that the Spanish chemical industry must face if it wants to achieve the vision of being an advanced, leading sector with a consolidated international presence.
"INNOVATE TO COMPETE": 4 CHALLENGES THAT THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY MUST FACE.
IBERQUIMIA, with its slogan, "Innovate to compete", highlights the need to rethink processes, find new alternatives, and establish better and more advanced ways of doing things. All this, starting from a common base which allows the chemical industry to advance in a solid way and in the same direction.
If in 2017 the chemical sector closed the year with record figures, by 2018 the forecasts are better if possible. For this year FEIQUE (Business Federation of the Spanish Chemical Industry), estimates a year-on-year increase of 4.7%, in addition to 56% of the total sales made in international markets. Based on these figures we can say that the Spanish chemical industry works, and very well, but to maintain the current position a series of improvements should be implemented.
Here, we will explain in detail those four major areas of development that the chemical industry must face:
1. Reduce production costs, and more specifically, the cost of energy.
The chemical industry is an industry dependent on energy, all its processes are subject directly to what happens in the energy sector, from the rise in the prices of fossil fuels to the application of environmental policies and regulations. An alternative, which will make it possible to face the instability of prices and avoid the situation of current dependence, at the same time that CO2 emissions are reduced, is biomass. As a sustainable energy fuel, biomass offers the possibility of implementing energy self-sufficiency, that is, having a clean, socially responsible, guaranteed and stable source of energy in terms of prices.
2. Digitalization: Industrial Revolution 4.0
From preventive and predictive maintenance to control of each of the processes involved in production. The message is clear, everything can be interconnected, predicted and analysed, but in order to do so, the appropriate elements of control and monitoring must be counted, among others. At INNERGY we have been offering equipment for the generation and application of heat and/or electricity with biomass for years, with SCADA, PLC and HMI systems for the control and visualization of data, helping our clients to have real and remote control in real time. of your plant, visualize and work with data, learning from experience to predict and determine the future of your results.
3. Investment in Intangibles
Within the investment in intangibles, we can distinguish two large areas, one that refers to people and one that refers to innovation. Within the first group we would find the ability to attract and maintain talent or investment in training, while, in the second group, we would be talking about patents, investment in innovation, process improvement, etc.
4. Capture of Prepared Human Capital
As we have just pointed out, it is key to have talent, to invest in their training and to provide the company with the necessary resources for innovation and the generation of ideas. Following this premise will allow us to adapt today's training to tomorrow’s needs. The training offered and the content taught evolves, but perhaps it does not do so at the pace that the companies need to incorporate profiles to cover new tasks. The solution is a closer and more intense collaboration between the university and the chemical industry.
As a conclusion, and as stated in IBERQUIMIA, it is necessary to draw up a horizontal plan, in which all the sectors involved in the development of the chemical industry: energy sector, environment and education, among others, are directly involved.
Through the analysis of the value chain and the evaluation of the degree of digitalization, it is possible to become aware of the current situation, being able to define a specific starting point on which to start working.
Only starting from a detailed analysis of each of the processes that make up a company, it will be possible to detect the specific points of improvement and implement solutions that really are "SMART".
On the other hand, regarding the evaluation of the degree of digitalization, it is possible to carry it out easily thanks to public initiatives such as HADA, an advanced self-diagnostic tool offered by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.
For more information, click on the following link: http://www.industriaconectada40.gob.es/Paginas/Index.aspx.
The recovery of heat and the recovery of waste as solutions for the chemical industry.
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