Honeywell adds augmented reality to its Immersive Field Simulator

Honeywell adds augmented reality to its Immersive Field Simulator

Honeywell announced it is adding augmented reality to its Immersive Field Simulator (IFS), a platform that uses a digital twin of a physical facility to provide targeted, on-demand training for the industrial workforce, said Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The company’s new Immersive Equipment Views, an iPad-exclusive iOS application, mixes real-life environments with digital features and content for meaningful and useful training outside a classroom. Industrial users, who still have the option of the full virtual and mixed reality solutions, can now choose to safely train employees on a tablet from anywhere in the field, without additional training facilities.

The use of augmented reality and automation to address workforce issues supports Honeywell’s alignment of its portfolio to three compelling megatrends: automation, the future of aviation and energy transition.

“As the industry works to recapture decades of lost experience with the retirement of a tenured workforce, Honeywell IFS provides a safe and interactive way to bring the mobile-first generation up to speed,” said Pramesh Maheshwari, President of Honeywell Process Solutions. “Honeywell is committed to adding value and efficiency to the workforce of our customers and the industry globally.”

With Honeywell Immersive Equipment Views added to the IFS offering, trainees are now able to troubleshoot and complete real-world tasks around a facility from an iPad. Additionally, users have access to detailed information about internal parts and components of equipment, QR code-based scanning of machinery and an education hub of models and content for more comprehensive learning.

We remind, Honeywell announced the availability of technologies and digital solutions to enable customers in Asia Pacific to produce renewable fuels from multiple sources of renewable feedstocks. Refiners are facing market changes as the drive toward sustainability accelerates to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is imperative for companies to adopt ready now technologies that can help them produce low-carbon, sustainable fuels while maximizing available resources, reducing waste, and meeting their sustainability goals.

Röhm inaugurates PMMA plant in Germany

Röhm inaugurates PMMA plant in Germany

Rohm is expanding poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA) production capacity in Worms, Germany, with the opening of a new plant specifically for PLEXIGLAS molding compounds, said the company.

In expanding production capacity for PLEXIGLAS molding compounds at its largest global production site in Worms, Rohm has reached another important milestone in its growth strategy. At an official ceremony, the plant was officially commissioned by Rohm’s COO Hans-Peter Hauck, head of the Worms Site, Robert Weber, and Senior Vice President of the Molding Compounds Business Unit, Siamak Djafarian.

“The strategic expansion of our global PMMA capacities is an important step on our way to becoming the leading methacrylate Verbund,” said Hauck. “Following the expansion of the plant’s capacity in Shanghai last year, we are now further consolidating our market leadership in Europe with this substantial increase in production capacity in Worms.”

The newly constructed plant will employ a newer, highly energy-efficient production process that will see a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of molding compound production. By increasing its production capacity, Rohm aims to respond to a steadily growing demand, especially from the automotive industry.

Work on expanding production capacity for PLEXIGLAS molding compounds in Worms, including an additional compounding plant for colored products, started in 2022 and is one of Rohm’s key strategic investments. Both the building and the infrastructure for the expansion of production capacity were already in situ.

PLEXIGLAS, the brand PMMA from Rohm, has been established on the market for 90 years and is well-suited for applications where durability, resistance to weather and UV, color fastness, high luminosity, and transparency, as well as hardness and scratch-resistance are key.

The central component of the strategy and the flagship project is the construction of a production plant for methyl methacrylate (MMA) in Bay City, TX where the innovative LiMA technology developed by Rohm is used. Rohm is the only global manufacturer of MMA and PMMA, complete with downstream compounding, in Asia, North America, and Europe.

We remind, Rohm is expanding its activities in China. The company has made a double-digit-million euro investment in the expansion of a production plant for Plexiglas (branded in the Americas as Acrylite) molding compounds in Shanghai.

SIBUR begins construction of R&D center in Kazan

SIBUR begins construction of R&D center in Kazan

SIBUR began construction of a research and technology scaling center in Kazan, which will provide for a full cycle of creating new synthetic materials for key sectors of the Russian economy, the company's press service said in a statement.

The key areas of operation for SIBUR's R&D center will be the development and scaling of new polyolefin and heterogeneous catalysts, synthesis and piloting of new products for the development of the company's existing chains and creation of fundamentally new materials, process modeling and engineering, development of new technologies, implementation of projects aimed at decarbonization, a closed cycle economy and digital initiatives.

"The center will combine two key areas - development of new products and technologies in the field of oil and gas chemistry with scaling to industrial applications. One of the main focuses of the new center will be the development of new materials, including superstructural plastics to meet the prospective and import substitution demand in medicine, construction, automotive and other industries," the statement said.

SIBUR expects that combining laboratory research and the ability to immediately pilot the results obtained at one site will accelerate the pace of development by 25%.

The capabilities of the center will create a platform for R&D development, further localization of all catalysts in demand in oil and gas chemistry and independent creation of new generations of these catalysts. Another important area of the new center's work will be the development of technologies for chemical recycling of polymers, which will make it possible to recycle polymer waste into primary raw materials without limiting its use.

The company will invest 8-10 billion rubles in the R&D center, head of the holding Mikhail Karisalov told reporters in Kazan.

The buildings of the R&D center will be integrated into SIBUR's business district in Kazan, which is being created in close proximity to Kazanorgsintez . The center will become a part of the Northern Gate industrial park, creation of which was specified in an agreement Kazanorgsintez signed earlier in February with the Alabuga special economic zone.

The R&D center project envisages construction of two buildings with a total area of more than 18,000 square meters, of which laboratory space and pilot units will comprise 10,000 square meters. SIBUR plans to complete construction and open the center in 2026.

We remind, SIBUR, Russia's largest producer of polymers and rubbers, summarised the company's key operational results for 2023 at the Ruplastica international trade fair, which was held in Moscow on 23–26 January 2024. In 2023, SIBUR ramped up the sales of its key products, with the share of supplies to the Russian market rising to 75%. Since 2021, SIBUR has been consistently increasing its sales in the domestic market, which is the Company's priority, by reducing export sales and continues to stimulate further growth in local polymer processing and reducing imports of finished polymer products.

Orbia posts loss on weakness in PVC markets

Orbia posts loss on weakness in PVC markets

Mexico's Orbia has decided to put a pause on the expansion plans for its polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production capacity due to a challenging market situation that adversely impacted its profits in 2023, said Chemanalyst.

The company's polymer division, which includes PVC, faced a substantial setback in the fourth quarter of the previous year, reporting a 54% year-on-year decline in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), amounting to USD47 million. Additionally, sales within this division experienced a 21% year-on-year decrease, reaching USD577 million.

The overall decline in total revenue for the October-December 2023 period was primarily attributed to reduced sales volumes and prices for both specialty PVC and caustic soda. This downturn was a consequence of weak demand and oversupply prevailing in the market. Notably, PVC production also witnessed a decline due to planned repairs and associated delays at the ethylene joint venture during this timeframe.

In 2022, Orbia's CEO, Samir Bharadwaj, had previously indicated the company's contemplation of expanding PVC production. The expansion project was expected to be completed either in 2027 or 2028, following the conclusion of the design phase at the end of 2023. However, the unfavorable market conditions and the significant drop in earnings from the Polymers division, constituting approximately a third of Orbia's total sales, prompted a reevaluation of these expansion plans.

The challenges faced by the Polymers division, especially the decline in PVC production and earnings, had a cascading effect on Orbia's overall financial performance in the last year. The company's consolidated net loss in the fourth quarter widened to USD71 million, marking a substantial increase. Furthermore, the net profit for the entire year witnessed an 89% decrease, reflecting the broader impact of the challenging market dynamics on Orbia's financial health.

The decision to suspend the expansion of PVC production aligns with Orbia's strategic response to navigate the current market uncertainties and optimize its resources for sustained profitability. By reevaluating and pausing expansion plans, the company aims to reassess market conditions, address operational challenges, and strategically position itself for future growth opportunities.

Orbia's proactive approach to managing its PVC production capacity reflects the resilience and adaptability required in a dynamic market environment. As the company recalibrates its strategies, it remains focused on enhancing operational efficiency, responding to market fluctuations, and making informed decisions to safeguard its financial well-being. This strategic pause underscores Orbia's commitment to responsible business practices and its dedication to ensuring long-term sustainability in the face of evolving market challenges.

Biden announces new anti-Russian sanctions

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday announced more than 500 new sanctions against Russia, including measures targeting Russia's financial sector and defense industry, the White House said on February 23, said Interfax.

"Today, I am announcing more than 500 new sanctions against Russia. These sanctions will target [...] Russia's financial sector, defense industrial base, procurement networks and sanctions evaders," Biden said in a statement published by the White House.

The U.S. is introducing new export restrictions against around 100 enterprises that support Russia's defense industry, he said.

"We are taking action to further reduce Russia's energy revenues," Biden said.

We remind, imports of polymer feedstock to Russia may grow in 2024, Petr Bazunov, General Director of the Russian Plastics Processors Association (RPPA). A number of processors in our Association have decided to increase imports, as imported raw materials in Russia are sold at prices equal or close to those of SIBUR. The principle of import parity or so-called netbacks is in effect. Refiners choose the raw materials that are more profitable for them.