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Yokogawa signs investment and collaboration agreements with Fluence Analytics

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Yokogawa 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 polymerisation (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 polymerisation reactions (the combination of small molecules, called monomers, to form larger molecules [polymers]) at specific intervals to control the polymerisation 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 currently the only system on the market with the online capability to continuously extract and analyse important aspects (viscosity, molecular weight, monomer concentration, solute concentration, etc.) of polymerisation processes that produce plastics, rubber, paint, and other products. This realtime monitoring of polymerisation processes enables optimisations to be performed that enhance safety, quality, and yield as well as operational efficiency. Significant cost savings have also been observed.

Kenji Hasegawa, a Yokogawa Electric Vice President and Head of the Yokogawa Products Headquarters, commented: “We have been supporting the petrochemical industry through the provision of measurement and control solutions. By cooperating with Fluence Analytics, we will be able to offer additional value in polymerisation processes. We look forward to providing our customers with these new systems, which, in addition to benefiting health, safety, and the environment, will enable the reduction of cycle time, eliminate the production of off-spec products, and produce an estimated US$1.5 million in cost savings per year based on average reactor size.”

“Our team is very excited to add Yokogawa Electric as a strategic partner and investor. Yokogawa’s global leadership in measurement and process control technologies will be a major asset, enabling us to scale up operations, augment field engineering efforts, and expand our installed base throughout the world,” said Alex Reed, CEO of Fluence Analytics. “We look forward to working with Yokogawa as we continue optimising polymerisation processes and improving product quality, consistency, and yields for polymer manufacturers.”

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