A Dutch company is a major producer of speciality chemicals, supplying essential ingredients worldwide. To improve their productivity, the company needs a complete understanding of the processes. To achieve this, they need innovative sensors which continuously monitor the chemistry in each process as well as the behaviour of the factory equipment. They are seeking companies or universities to foster and co-develop new technologies via research or technical cooperation agreement.
A Dutch multinational is a speciality chemicals leader supplying essential chemistry to markets worldwide. The company has spent decades optimizing the performance of their chemical plants, making them more efficient, sustainable, and safer along the way. However, to make a step change in productivity, the company needs a more complete understanding of the processes. To achieve this, they need innovative sensors which continuously monitor the chemistry in each process as well as the behavior of the factory equipment. This requires novel sensors that can withstand the corrosive environment of their plants.
In order to achieve this the following issues should be considered:
The company uses and produces highly reactive and corrosive chemicals such as ethylene oxide, chlorine, hydrochloric acid, monochloracetic acid, and sodium chlorate. This puts specific and challenging requirements on any equipment used in their production environment. In addition to this, some of the processes result in strong fouling of the equipment which is put in-line with the product streams, hampering measurement accuracy.
The company is looking for cost-effective solutions. Any new probe or sensor needs to provide a clear cost/efficiency benefit over what is currently used in their factories.
The company has two main fields of interest:
1. Understanding and monitoring the chemistry that is happening in their processes:
This will improve the output and safety of their plants and help them to steer each process closer to the optimum from a raw materials, energy, and product quality point of view.
2. Close monitoring of their production assets:
This will allow them to optimize maintenance planning, minimize downtime, help avoid unnecessary maintenance, and make the plant safer by preventing accidental machine breakdown, e.g. by detecting corrosion.
The company is looking for cooperation with partners that can help them implement these new sensors and is looking for in-line/on-line measurement approaches. Solutions that require physical sample-taking are out of scope. Cooperation with partners such as institutes, universities and companies would be in the frame of a research or a technical cooperation agreement.
The company is not looking to develop new sensors from scratch, but if they can bring together sensors and chemical protection approaches, they are happy to step in as a partner. For soft-sensor solutions they are looking for companies that have implemented example cases, within or outside the chemical industry. Finally, the company is not trying to find or develop new chemical processes, nor are they looking for algorithms on their own.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This technology request is an innovation challenge and is published on an open innovation platform from the 8th of January until the 8th of March 2019. If an organisation does express interest in cooperation with this firm before closing date, it will be guided towards this open innovation platform on which one can get in touch with the company experts. Mind that posts on this platform are not confidential.
Beside open discussions on the platform, sharing of confidential information will be made possible on demand. After that, the firm will select the SME's with whom they would like to cooperate in the development of a solution. Once the challenge is closed, EOI's for this technology request will be treated in the traditional
- Type of partner sought: Potential solutions include:
Completely new sensors measuring key process parameters like pressure, temperature, pH, or chemical composition (e.g. very low levels of cationic and anionic impurities in brine) in challenging chemical environments. Besides sensors with greater sensitivity, new sensors with improved selectivity and low operational costs (non-invasive, not requiring chemicals, low maintenance) are also of interest.
Solutions that drastically reduce fouling risk, e.g. for the purpose of reliable automatic detection of phase separation.
Protection mechanisms that enable them to use existing sensors in the demanding reactive environment of our plants, including methods which prevent or tackle sensor/probe fouling.
Soft sensors which make use of new/ existing sensors in combination with modeling algorithms to allow them to monitor process parameter(s) which cannot be directly measured.
Solution can be applied in, or complements, their existing manufacturing processes.
More than just an idea: in pilot stage or an early stage with a clear proof of concept.
Fit to the current technologies and markets of the company.
Impact of the idea in the short term (revenue, quality, scalability, time to market, etc.)
Quality and maturity of the team.
- Specific area of activity of the partner: Type of partners:
SMEs, universities and other innovators with a focus on the research & development of new approaches and technologies enabling innovative sensing solutions to help the demanding chemical processes to be 100% resource efficient.
Type of partner collaboration:
The Dutch multinational wants to work together as equal partners, under shared-IP conditions, this could be in the form of:
Technical cooperation agreement or Research agreement
Or any other kind of agreement that suits the purpose.
Available for demonstration - Since this request is subject of an open innovation challange also other stages of development are possible.
Patents granted - Since this request is subject of an open innovation challenge the IPR status will be taken into account and be discussed. The technology could be patented in a wide range of possible countries/regions, with their eligibility for this call available for discussion
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