Innovative - 2019 Annual and Sustainable Performance Report

Digital manufacturing: Welcome to a new dimension

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Digital manufacturing: Welcome to a new dimension


Digital transformation is a powerful means of leveraging performance and industrial processes. Arkema is working on a wide variety of projects in this field, with its resolutely innovative and collaborative approach. Welcome to Industry 4.0.


Our plants are going digital and interacting intelligently with operators. Arkema is developing new tools that are ideally suited to their needs, ready for immediate adoption and delivering instant benefits.

“Digital is first and foremost about collaboration,” asserts Frédéric Gauvard. For Arkema’s Director of Digital Transformation, everything starts with users’ needs. “The success of a new digital project depends on our ability to get everyone on board and identify exactly where things can be improved.” This collaborative approach is at the heart of the transformation process. It is about understanding needs and implementing the necessary changes, but it is also about opening people’s eyes to the scope of opportunities. “It is about striking the right balance between dream and reality. You need a great vision while remaining pragmatic.”

Digital proof of concept

“Proof of concept”, or POC, involves testing a digital concept with its direct users. “You can offer a technology and say how great it is. But does it fulfill a real need? With the help of operational staff, we identify these concepts and consider how they can be applied in the field. The next step is to create prototypes that let us check what the solution offers in practical terms and then, if there are benefits, we can launch actual industrial production. The benefit of this approach is that it encourages the adoption of innovative solutions through a participatory design model,” says Laurent Baseilhac, Director of Processes with responsibility for Digital Manufacturing.

Digital – an accelerator to meet different production needs

One example is the Bostik site in Roosendaal in the Netherlands. “Operators on the ground told us about the problems they encounter. We asked them to think about possible improvements,” explains Pierre Grolier, Industrial Director at Bostik. “For example, they mentioned challenges with loading raw materials into reactors, so we found a way to adapt the appropriate digital tool. Now the operation happens automatically using a barcode scanning system. The operator no longer has to enter the quantities and batch numbers on the process sheet. It saves them time. It is also a safety measure, as they can be sure of following the correct sequence of loading the materials into the correct reactor. So the system offers gains in terms of respecting the manufacturing orders, product quality, and productivity.”