Yokogawa Electric Corporation announced that it has agreed to invest in Fluence Analytics, Inc., a US-based startup that provides combined hardware and software analytics solutions to polymer manufacturers. Additionally, the companies agreed to a global strategic business partnership for sales and deployment of new high-end models of the automatic continuous online monitoring of polymerization (ACOMP) system from Fluence Analytics.
Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Yokogawa Electric will commence customer trials with existing ACOMP models by the end of 2021 and will have exclusive or co-exclusive sales rights for the new models that will be launched in the future. The company will also handle engineering and all other system integration tasks and provide after-sales field services for its customers in the chemical industry.
As a general practice, in the manufacturing operation, the chemical industry relies on the analysis of polymerization reactions at specific intervals to control the polymerization process. Typically, samples are manually extracted from the reactor and transported to a laboratory for analysis, an offline process that can take up to 5 hours to complete for a single datapoint. The time required for the analysis limits the ability to optimally control the reaction timing and maintain stable product quality. The safety of the technicians responsible for the manual extraction and transport of samples is also a concern.
ACOMP is reportedly the only system on the market with the online capability to continuously extract and analyze important aspects (viscosity, molecular weight, monomer concentration, solute concentration, etc.) of polymerization processes that produce plastics, rubber, paint, and other products. As evidenced by customers, this real time monitoring of polymerization processes enables optimizations to be performed that enhance safety, quality, and yield as well as operational efficiency. Significant cost savings have also been observed.