Early adopters successfully mastered digital platforms. Today, all companies in the chemical sector can act as digital platforms and become important enablers for rapid digitisation across the industry.
Such platforms consist of hardware infrastructures with software services for which interoperability with other systems is well defined.
What is needed are common data formats and interoperable software to allow data to flow within and between chemical plants.
Cloud-based data platforms and standards to foster industrial symbiosis will match the demand for and supply of resources (waste, energy, water etc.) between plants, industrial sites and different industries to enable the circular economy. Industrial data market places could boost the development of specific software tools and applications. However, in parallel, we will need advanced security solutions to prevent the misuse of stored data and protect plant control systems or cloud-stored data from malicious attack.
Core software platform(s) for digital engineering and plant operation will be integrated along the whole life cycle of a plant, covering product and process development, plant engineering, procurement, plant construction, commissioning, operation and extensions, and the reuse of facilities for new products. This digitised approach should guarantee complete and consistent information on the current status of developments. It should allow for the continuous assessment of different design alternatives and for issues to be flagged if the assumptions underpinning a particular design step become invalid.
We will have to be able to significantly lower the effort and cost of building digital twins of existing plants through the interoperability of models and tools.