Evonik TI Sees Digitalisation Dividends Evonik’s Technology & Infrastructure (TI) unit is investigating how digitalisation could transform maintenance and other aspects of its business, bringing a range of efficiency and safety benefits.
Technology & Infrastructure is pressing ahead with five broad digitalisation programmes, said Andreas Weber, vice president for customer interface and development at the unit’s business line Technical Service: Digital Customer, Digital Site, Digital Plant, Digital Supply Chain and Digital Worker.
250 digital projects
These all have varying focuses, from the workers at the sites to the machinery in the facilities. The business line Technical Service is pursuing over 250 smaller projects under the banners of the broader categories, Weber explained. The company has been working on these since the beginning of 2016, and has seen benefits in three major areas, he said: safety, efficiency and effectiveness.
‘For example, by removing paper as much as possible and using digital devices, we can gain greater transparency, and be able to better monitor and manage the entire supply chain.’ Evonik Technology & Infrastructure conducts a range of services for the chemical industry, allowing customers to concentrate on their core businesses. This work includes areas like site operation and logistics. It has more than 8,000 employees and operates 14 sites across Germany and in Antwerp, Belgium.
Weber highlighted the Digital Worker programme, which is considering ‘ideas and initiatives around the human/machine interface’ and in which his business line is particularly involved. This studies how workers will carry out their jobs in the future, and how they could interact with the technologies that are rapidly developing today.
The Business Line Technical Service has prioritised a number of topics in its digitalisation push, concentrating on increasing efficiency and transparency. Predictive maintenance is a major focus; the company aims to predict the condition of plant machinery based on data analytics, cutting back on the costs associated with maintenance. Another focus is digitalising order processing: optimising and partially automating order-to-cash processes, thereby improving transparency and speeding up the availability of information. Beyond this, the company is working to adopt digital tools, such as multicopters, to increase work safety and cut back on maintenance expenditure.
Additionally, the Technical Service is keen on using digitalisation to support its partners in its supply chain, and to boost its ‘smart maintenance’ efforts: analysing and harmonising the inspection and maintenance process across all Technology & Infrastructure sites and providing additional information to optimise and increase work safety, among other goals. ‘All of these initiatives are already underway,’ Weber said. ‘We have made them available and are taking care of data security issues, as well as addressing the skills and needs of our workers,’ he said, adding that the company has worked closely with universities and companies such as IBM in developing its digitalisation agenda.
There is no clear-cut division between the five categories, Weber said, with a high degree of overlap between Digital Sites and Digital Worker, for example. While much progress has been made in recent years, Evonik Technology & Infrastructure is still at the beginning of the process, he added. ‘We are now some steps ahead, but nevertheless there is much to learn in the future.’
Andreas Weber will speak at Euromaintenance 4.0, where he will present on Maintenance 4.0 at Evonik. Euromaintenance 4.0 will take place in Antwerp, Belgium from September 24-27. All information on www.euromaintenance.org