Get more from your data, increase yields and reduce costs

Article by Adam Duckett

WE are not getting the value from our production data. This is one of the key messages from Stan Higgins, former CEO of The UK’s North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), who will be co-presenting a webinar in partnership with The Chemical Engineer on 19 June.

I spoke to Higgins ahead of the event to get an understanding of the opportunities he thinks companies and engineers are missing out on.

“We don’t tend to get the value out of our data, which after all is stuff we’ve already paid for. We’ve paid for all this information and the vast majority of people are not analysing this information to help improve processes,” he says.

Higgins has been working with statistical analysis software firm JMP to help it better understand the opportunities in the process industries.

“People recognise that production data is often managed just as quality control information, but you end up with product data. The real advantage, I think, is linking the product data with the process data. If you take the product quality data and really link that to the data from the production process there’s a real opportunity there.”

The insights provided will help improve costs and processes. For example, Higgins thinks a better understanding of data will help companies improve catalyst performance.

“I believe it could identify which production parameters, processes etc are impacting on catalyst performance and therefore enable it to be better controlled.”

“I think the other advantage is clearly in the innovation area where this software can help you identify the parameters on which you need to focus with quite a limited dataset. A person comes in and says: ‘We’ve got a new product and we’ve got to develop a process as quickly as possible, scale up as quickly as possible.’ Well normally you can do a series of experiments and then try to design further experiments to improve the process. This software will help you with the design of experiments. It will tell you very quickly which things are important and therefore can decrease the cost of the innovation process.

“But the key thing is it can speed it up and that is where the real value is, especially in speciality chemicals and contract chemicals where in order to win a job you have to prove that you’re quick.”

Join us on 19 June for a discussion on how you and your company can get the most from your data to increase yields and reduce costs. Higgins will be sharing his insights and offering case studies aimed at helping registrants make better decisions.

This webinar took place on 19 June. A recording of the event can be watched here:

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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