Two Large Barriers to Widescale AI Adoption in Chemical Manufacturing

A report by Accenture postulated $550 billion could be unlocked for the chemical industry in the next decade by digitalization. Though chemical companies are eager to embrace opportunities that will enhance efficiency and boost revenue and profitability, few have fully harnessed the available tools. Why? There are a variety of barriers to AI implementation in the chemical industry that are common across all industries - issues like data quality, data access, and the ability to operationalize machine learning models are taxing for all. But there are also a few specific challenges for chemical manufacturers.

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AlphaChrom ltd

The company AlphaChrom d.o.o. is the authorized distributor of: Agilent Technologies, Inc. analytical equipment manufactured by the US company, leading provider of solutions to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, trace gases and stable isotopes, Molecular Devices, world’s leading providers of high-performance bioanalytical measurement solutions for life science research, pharmaceutical and biotherapeutic development.

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Chemical Technology

Application of Chromatography in Various Industries is Changing the Game!

Article | July 20, 2022

Used to separate and analyze compounds into their various components— chromatography plays a crucial part not just in the food industry but in the realms of drug testing, forensics, and even quality control in our favourite alcoholic drinks as well. Advanced Chromatography is an analytical technique introduced to the world by chromatography instrument companies to separate and analyze individual chemicals from complex compounds. Recent developments in the biotechnology and pharma industries have created a significant surge in the chromatography market. Read on to find out five fascinating facts about the day-to-day applications of chromatography in various industries and why businesses are looking to invest more in OEM chromatography manufacturing. Why are Industry-Decision Makers Adapting to Chromatography? Liquid Chromatography; A Popular Choice in Drug Testing Today, a lot of drug tests use liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry because it is easy to use, widely available, and gives quick results. LC and LC-MS can be done in almost any testing facility, which is different from other methods. It can be run by people with little training, so a testing facility can hire mostly technicians instead of highly trained scientists, who are harder to find. LC-MS is also very accurate, which means that there are fewer false positives. With liquid chromatography, you can get results in about 10 to 30 minutes, which is very fast. This technology is used by many drug testing labs across the country. It is widely used and trusted for testing drug samples and many other things. Businesses associated with the sports industry are leveraging chromatography to effectively and accurately test athletes for doping or performance-enhancing drugs. Use of HPCL in Pharmaceutical Industries Chromatography is used in the medical and pharmaceutical industries to create vaccines. In addition, chromatography can determine which antibodies best neutralize viruses and diseases. Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc. used the chromatography technique to develop the experimental immunization Zmapp to counteract the deadly Ebola virus. And it is still being used today to fight the coronavirus. The pharmaceutical industry has gained enormous success by exclusively using HPLC to obtain precise results during drug trials. The results can be used to analyze finished drug products and their ingredients quantitatively and qualitatively during manufacturing. The Detector in Forensic Science Chromatography methods are a well-established, powerful suite of methodologies in forensic science, from drug busts, murders, and robberies, to the identification of a plethora of chemical compounds that may be present in samples from terrorist incidents. Forensics use gas chromatography to help solve crimes. It helps analyze blood and clothing samples, allowing forensic scientists to investigate who and what was present at a crime scene. In particular instances, chromatography can even help forensic scientists pinpoint the exact whereabouts of the alleged perpetrator and victim before the crime happened. It’s an error-free process. Therefore, it is incredibly helpful in court. Additionally, chromatography is extremely handy in arson investigations. Most fires have a virtual cocktail of different substances. Every compound and substance differs in size and weight. Chromatography helps break down these varying compounds and substances to help determine what exactly started the fire. Liquid Chromatography in Food Industry Liquid chromatography plays a vital role in the food industry nowadays. It absolves and permits the selective removal of a wide variety of flavor and non-flavor-active food ingredients. The USDA, along with other countries, has prioritized rigorous testing of processed meat's contents. For example, in 2013, it was found that horsemeat was being sold as beef without anyone noticing. As a result, the food industry decided to change its analytical techniques. Chromatography quickly became the best way to find out what was in processed meats. High-Performance Liquid Chromatography and mass spectrometry were used to ensure that meat labeled beef was actually beef. In addition, it could tell if horse meat was mixed in with the beef, which helped keep people safe. Bio-Rad Fast Acid Analysis Column in Beverage Testing Not just food, many beverage manufacturers also use chromatography to ensure that each bottle of their product is the same. But, again, consistent taste is the main priority. And knowing the exact content of each bottle is the most proactive way to measure things. The Bio-Rad fast acid analysis column has been successfully used by many companies to quantitatively determine vitamin C in juices, fresh drinks, and powdered drinks. Chromatography Market is Opening New Dimensions in Various Businesses Undoubtedly, technological advancement has created a vigorous need for chromatography devices. According to Verified Market Research, growing at a CAGR of 3.4% from 2020 to 2027, the chromatography market is projected to reach USD 4.73 billion by 2027. The chromatography instrumentation market is currently witnessing huge advancements in the design of columns. This is raising the demand for development of better analytical reagents and resins. Increasing collaborations among the existing players, specifically in the Asian market is another propelling factor for this market. Additionally, emergence of green chromatography, increasing usage of chromatography instruments for monoclonal antibody purification, and usage of nanomaterial in chromatography are also fuelling the growth of this market. Plus, increased government funding in research and development activities is further driving the market growth. With various pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, chemical, food and beverage, and other industries contributing to its market growth, one thing is for sure— the increase in the chromatography system market is here to stay.

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Chemical Technology

Organic Catalyst Boasts Big Benefits

Article | August 8, 2022

An enzyme-mimicking catalyst opens a new route to important organic molecules such as glycolic acid and amino acids from pyruvate, report researchers in Japan. Moreover, the new catalyst is cheaper, more stable, safer and more environmentally friendly than conventional metal catalysts used in industry, they note, adding that it also displays the high enantioselectivity required by the pharmaceutical industry. “On top of these advantages, our newly developed organic catalyst system also promotes reactions using pyruvate that aren’t easily achievable using metal catalysts,” says Santanu Mondal, a PhD candidate in the chemistry and chemical bioengineering unit at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University, Okinawa, Japan, and lead author of a study recently published in Organic Letters. “Organic catalysts, in particular, are set to revolutionize the industry and make chemistry more sustainable,” he stresses. The researchers use an acid and an amine mixture to force the pyruvate to act as an electron donor rather than its usual role as an electron receiver (Figure 1). Effectively mimicking how enzymes work, the amine binds to the pyruvate to make an intermediate molecule. The organic acid then covers up part of the intermediate molecule while leaving another part that can donate electrons free to react to form a new product. Currently, the organic catalyst system only works when reacting pyruvate with a specific class of organic molecule called cyclic imines. So, the researchers now are looking to develop a more-universal catalyst, i.e., one that can speed up reactions between pyruvate and a broad range of organic molecules. The challenge here is to try to make the electron-donating intermediate stage of pyruvate react with other functional groups such as aldehydes and ketones. However, different catalysts create different intermediates, all with different properties. For example, the enamine intermediate created by the researchers’ new reaction only reacts with cyclic imines. Their hypothesis, currently being investigated, is that creation of other intermediates such as an enolate, if possible, would achieve a broader pyruvate reactivity. In terms of cost, the researchers note that a palladium catalyst used in similar reactions is 25 times more expensive than their organic acid — which also is made from eco-friendly quinine. In addition, they believe scale-up of the process for industrial use definitely is possible. However, the researchers caution that the current amine-to-acid-catalyst loading ratio of 1:2 probably would need to be optimized for better results at a larger scale.

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Chemical Management

Future-Proofing the Chemical Industry with Digitalization

Article | July 8, 2022

Over the next five to seven years, the chemical sector will place a greater emphasis on sustainability, and digitization will play a significant part in this. Reducing resource use, pollution, energy consumption, and waste are some of its main applications. Additionally, it will increase demand for a circular economy supported by IoT, AI, and other digital technologies. Some of the systems now in place or being used in the sector include autonomous solutions that enable lower energy usage, dispatching systems for effective logistics and strategies for sustainable power and fuel consumption. Chemical players making the switch to digital platforms have a chance to triumph if they move swiftly and update their operational models in accordance with a few common success characteristics. In fact, according to our study, making the correct decisions can increase total earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization by 3 percent or more (EBITDA). The Next Step of Operational Excellence The same level of transformation is available with digital technology for optimal performance, together with success-enabling measures. The same level of corporate participation and realignment will also be necessary for the effective implementation of digital technology. Finance and telecoms were early leaders in adopting digital technology faster than the chemical sector, which has just recently started to move in more significant numbers toward digitalization. A circular economy in the sector is also being enabled by the use and evaluation of digital technology. The "Right to Fix" movement is being driven by governments and legislators in Europe and the US, and small and medium-sized businesses in the industry are expected to invest in technology that makes it easier to repair electronic items with the least amount of waste. On a side note, by enabling the re-use of resources and products throughout the supply chain, digitalization with lean manufacturing (LM) would enable businesses to improve operational excellence and create value, thereby supporting the circular economy goal. Conclusion Given its extensive safety and regulatory requirements, the chemical sector has evolved slowly. However, as the global economy changes, some skills will become obsolete and others essential. The interconnectedness of people, processes, and technology, as well as the requirement for real-time insight at the levels closest to the action, are among the basic principles of Industry 4.0. These values have existed for some time and are an extension of our teams' current operational excellence initiatives. Digital transformation is not a technology endpoint but rather the following stage in the process and business evolution as the chemicals industry advances continuously.

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Chemical Technology

Closing the loop: Real-time measurement of oil in water for process facilities

Article | May 10, 2021

When an oilfield’s reservoir pressure is depleted during primary recovery, additional oil can be recovered by recycling the produced water and injecting it back into the reservoir. Water management is critical for such water and water-alternating-gas (WAG) floods. In its Permian basin operations, Occidental recovers, recycles, and re-injects large volumes of water for its enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations. With real-time monitoring of oil in water (OiW) delivering reliable and continuous data, Occidental identified a way to optimize the recovery process and is working with NOV to expand the use of OiW monitoring equipment.

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AlphaChrom ltd

The company AlphaChrom d.o.o. is the authorized distributor of: Agilent Technologies, Inc. analytical equipment manufactured by the US company, leading provider of solutions to measure greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, trace gases and stable isotopes, Molecular Devices, world’s leading providers of high-performance bioanalytical measurement solutions for life science research, pharmaceutical and biotherapeutic development.

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NGOs file suit over transparency of TSCA new chemicals programme

Chemical Watch | March 18, 2020

A coalition of NGOs has sued the US EPA over an alleged lack of transparency in the TSCA new chemicals programme, which "thwart[s] the ability of the public to be informed and to provide input". According to a complaint filed by five environmental nonprofits in federal court today, the EPA has operated its TSCA premanufacture review process in a "black box, denying the public information to which they are legally entitled". Having access to timely information, they contend, is necessary to ensure the members they represent "are able to provide input on the potential risks of new chemicals and the need for protections from those risks prior to completion of EPA’s reviews." And they therefore have asked the court to ensure that the EPA complies with TSCA’s disclosure provisions, including by requiring that it:

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ACC to Trump, governors: Keep chemical industry going during coronavirus crisis

S&P Global | March 18, 2020

The US chemical industry's trade group told President Donald Trump and state governors this week that its sector must maintain operations as the coronavirus outbreak spreads to ensure supply of chemicals needed for disinfectants, plastics for food preservation and medical equipment, and staples like diapers and soap. "The role of chemistry is particularly important today, as chemicals enable countless products that will be needed to support good hygiene and treat those who are infected with the coronavirus in the weeks and months ahead," American Chemistry Council President and CEO Chris Jahn said in a letter to Trump and governors late Tuesday. Efforts to hinder the spread of coronavirus have included cancellations of major sporting events, concerts, conferences, parades, and other large gatherings, as well as closures of bars and limiting restaurants to takeout and deliveries. Companies have increasingly sent employees to work from their homes, while hospitals, grocery stores, and drug stores work to keep up with demand for care and products.

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How small chemical company leaders are dealing with the coronavirus

C&EN | March 17, 2020

As measures to contain the coronavirus—SARS-CoV-2—sweep across the US, the heads of privately owned chemical and instrument companies find themselves in uncharted territory trying to keep their companies going and their employees safe. C&EN reached out to CEOs of several such firms to learn what they are doing to keep business moving forward. We heard stories about setbacks, as expected supplies didn’t come through, but also small triumphs, as needed safety equipment was finally found. Overall, these leaders are keeping a close eye on supplies while planning for the real possibility that orders will drop in the coming months. Keeping staff healthy and maintaining continuity in customer service are the top priorities at Boron Specialties. “We are a pretty small facility, seven people &on-site&, so as best as we can we’re isolating,” CEO and founder Beth Bosley says.

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NGOs file suit over transparency of TSCA new chemicals programme

Chemical Watch | March 18, 2020

A coalition of NGOs has sued the US EPA over an alleged lack of transparency in the TSCA new chemicals programme, which "thwart[s] the ability of the public to be informed and to provide input". According to a complaint filed by five environmental nonprofits in federal court today, the EPA has operated its TSCA premanufacture review process in a "black box, denying the public information to which they are legally entitled". Having access to timely information, they contend, is necessary to ensure the members they represent "are able to provide input on the potential risks of new chemicals and the need for protections from those risks prior to completion of EPA’s reviews." And they therefore have asked the court to ensure that the EPA complies with TSCA’s disclosure provisions, including by requiring that it:

Read More

ACC to Trump, governors: Keep chemical industry going during coronavirus crisis

S&P Global | March 18, 2020

The US chemical industry's trade group told President Donald Trump and state governors this week that its sector must maintain operations as the coronavirus outbreak spreads to ensure supply of chemicals needed for disinfectants, plastics for food preservation and medical equipment, and staples like diapers and soap. "The role of chemistry is particularly important today, as chemicals enable countless products that will be needed to support good hygiene and treat those who are infected with the coronavirus in the weeks and months ahead," American Chemistry Council President and CEO Chris Jahn said in a letter to Trump and governors late Tuesday. Efforts to hinder the spread of coronavirus have included cancellations of major sporting events, concerts, conferences, parades, and other large gatherings, as well as closures of bars and limiting restaurants to takeout and deliveries. Companies have increasingly sent employees to work from their homes, while hospitals, grocery stores, and drug stores work to keep up with demand for care and products.

Read More

How small chemical company leaders are dealing with the coronavirus

C&EN | March 17, 2020

As measures to contain the coronavirus—SARS-CoV-2—sweep across the US, the heads of privately owned chemical and instrument companies find themselves in uncharted territory trying to keep their companies going and their employees safe. C&EN reached out to CEOs of several such firms to learn what they are doing to keep business moving forward. We heard stories about setbacks, as expected supplies didn’t come through, but also small triumphs, as needed safety equipment was finally found. Overall, these leaders are keeping a close eye on supplies while planning for the real possibility that orders will drop in the coming months. Keeping staff healthy and maintaining continuity in customer service are the top priorities at Boron Specialties. “We are a pretty small facility, seven people &on-site&, so as best as we can we’re isolating,” CEO and founder Beth Bosley says.

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