Beyond the flow reactor, manufacturing in the 21st Century. A business perspective
As flow chemistry becomes considered the best available technique and one that will transform the chemical industry in the future, we ask the question whether we are realising the full benefits it can bring to businesses. Are we approaching the impending transformation with the mentality of a batch processor, or do we still consider manufacturing using flow technologies with a laboratory mindset? We will look at how integrating a fresh mental approach along with capturing the benefits that digitalisation, advanced control with multiple feedback loops and data capture, processing and exchange could realise the full benefits process intensification can deliver.
The last 30 years have seen some of the most radical changes that society has experienced since the days of the first Industrial Revolution. Media, Communications, Entertainment, Food, Housing, Leisure activities, Transport, virtually every facet of life has experienced significant change and, hopefully, improvement during this period. Klaus Schwab, in his book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, (1) writes of how from the initial Industrial Revolution between 1760-1840, was triggered by the arrival of the steam engine. We then waited until the latter days of the 19th century when electricity and mass production brought the next period of significant change. Whilst looking forwards, we need to also realise that there are still some parts of the world where this is still in the process of being implemented. More recently the 60’s and 70’s saw computing being brought into, firstly, business and academic life followed by our domestic lives as a consequence of the availability of semiconductors. In 2011, SAP and Siemens, in their efforts to combine forces to drive adoption of industrial software and automation, coined the p ...