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Internet of Things Solutions Can Revolutionize the Chemical Industry

Sharmistha Bose

2 September 2023

Industry 4.0 represents a new era in manufacturing and production. Internet of Things (IoT) herein features as a central enabler of smart manufacturing. In a high-risk, high-stakes industry such as chemicals, IoT holds immense potential to enhance efficiency and productivity.

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The chemical industry accounts for the manufacturing of almost every product. It acts as a support system for many industries such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and automotive, among others. Thus, any alterations in this industry are likely to affect other industries as well. The advent of the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) is expected to bring such alterations. Industry 4.0 effectively entails “an integration of intelligent digital technologies into manufacturing and industrial processes”.  Advanced technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning and cloud computing have the potential to enhance efficiency and productivity.


Industry 4.0 can hence revolutionize the chemicals industry by fostering growth and streamlining operations. It combines the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies along with operational technology (OT) & information technology (IT) such as robotics, artificial intelligence, analytics, and more to facilitate the act of manufacturing. IoT has now reached a level that can be incorporated with the core processes of chemical industries to digitally transform operations and help companies achieve business growth. This article explores how.


Asset Management


IoT technologies along with IT & OT can enable chemical companies to maximize asset use and reduce unplanned downtime. Leveraging the data gathered from sensors on turbines, compressors, and extruders, analytics tools can help detect patterns to envisage and diagnose plausible breakdowns. Plant workers can then be alerted via smart equipment about any maintenance and delivery schedules.


Safety Management


Many critical processes in chemical industries are carried out under high temperature and pressure conditions. This can lead to sudden leakage of dangerous chemicals, thus posing a risk to plant operators and management. The use of IoT technologies allows monitoring of hazardous compounds continuously so that risks can be alleviated. Connected technologies can help the operators sense mechanical vibrations or other incidences such as corrosion or cracks in a chemical tank and inform the workers, thus minimizing risks.


Remote Monitoring and Control


Certain processes are implemented in chemical industries for manufacturing chemicals and their derivatives. The raw materials are moved from silos and storage tanks through the plant and end up in the packaging area. Here, IoT solutions find use in remotely assessing the conveyer and pipe infrastructure. They measure, record, and monitor the content in storage tanks, pressure and temperature in tanks and pipelines, and rate of flow in liquids and gases. IoT is also capable of running industrial relays and control valves remotely.


Energy Management


Energy management is crucial for chemical industries as energy heavily contributes to the cost of production. There are various operations and interactions involved in a plant and workers find it difficult to opt for optimal operating conditions. Data mining and modeling can be utilized to create target values for a plant’s total energy consumption based on factors such as the present status of the plant, outside temperatures, and so on.


Equipment Cleaning


Cleaning of equipment frequently is essential to keep the operations in a plant running smoothly without compromising production output. IoT can be put to use in this regard. By connecting IoT sensors to machines, plant operators can get alerts that remind them to clean the equipment from time to time to address the requirements of a chemical plant. This reduces the likelihood of occurrence of errors in chemical process control operations. In addition, IoT sensors can also enhance the process of cleaning with the help of blacklight to ensure the absence of contaminants in the equipment.


Better Customer Service


IoT allows chemical industries to incorporate intelligence to their products. Automation of systems allows plant operators to improve the speed of product delivery and help them to know the exact status of an order. This facilitates greater transparency and enhanced customer service as customers’ needs and expectations are addressed proactively.


More companies in the chemical sector are now turning to IoT solutions to leverage the potential of the technology in order to make the best decisions with regards to the replacement or repairing of equipment, which tasks are required and which are wasteful, and which processes are the most energy efficient. This is one of the factors pushing the demand for IoT technologies in the chemical industry. Moreover, the growing environmental concerns due to chemical release from plants, rise in concern towards the reduction of risk associated with chemical industries, and increasing focus on the circular economy are other key factors driving the IoT in the chemical industry market. 


Furthermore, a rise in the adoption of industrial robots propels the market growth. According to a recent report by the research firm, Allied Market Research, the global IoT in the chemical industry market is expected to accrue a sum of $193.9 billion by 2031 and grow at a CAGR of 13.3% during the forecast period, 2022 to 2031.


Disclaimer: This is an exclusive thought leadership article curated by Allied Market Research. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of  Trivium Think Tank and the StraTechos website.

Sharmistha Bose

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Sharmistha Bose has always had a keen interest in reading and writing. An engineering graduate, she forayed into the field of writing due to her love for words and the urge to do something different. Allied Market Research has given her the chance to gain knowledge about different subjects as a Specialist Content Writer. She can be reached at sharmistha.bose@alliedanalytics.com.

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