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NEWS Covestro and Haier plan digitalisation joint laboratory C ovestro, one of the


world’s leading polymer manufacturers, and the


Haier Group, a major global brand for household appliances, have agreed to set up a joint laboratory in Qingdao, China, for the digitalisation of appliance production.


Both parties have signed an


agreement, with the project being supported by the Haier Institute of Industrial Intelligence.


The laboratory will develop digital solutions for using polyurethanes in appliance


productio, in line with Covestro’s digitalisation strategy. The


objective is to set a new benchmark for digitalising the chemical industry. All over the world, polyurethane rigid foam is the


material of choice for efficient refrigerator insulation.


To insulate a refrigerator, a precisely dosed amount of polyurethane raw materials is injected into the outer cavity,


filling it up completely during foam formation.


Both this material and the


related foaming process are crucial for the refrigerator industry. Fully-automated, smart


production depends primarily on a precise characterisation of the polyurethane components – a complex task. With the


development of digital solutions, Covestro hopes to open up new avenues for helping household appliance manufacturers overcome these challenges.


In the new Haier–Covestro


Digitalisation Joint Laboratory, both partners want to develop innovative solutions for data collection and analysis, monitoring foam quality and process workflows and continuously optimising processes. These measures are intended to continuously improve the polyurethane foaming and


manufacturing process, boosting foam quality and reducing manufacturing costs. This will open up new


opportunities for the domestic appliance industry in an


increasingly digitalised world.


In recent years, various industries in China have driven the digital transformation. For the traditional chemical industry, this also has an impact on the development of upstream and downstream value


chains. Covestro and Haier plan to


enter into a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership by


continuously developing innovative digital solutions.


Leading the R&D team is Dr Michael Schmidt, head of innovation, Asia Pacific at


Covestro. John Dou, vice president of commercial operation, China, within the polyurethanes segmen t at Covestro, is leading the sales team. Both expect that the innovative cooperation model will increase synergies between Covestro and Haier.


As an important initiative of Covestro’s global digital strategy, the laboratory will focus on developing digital solutions


related to polyurethan e materials in order to push forward smart manufacturing in domestic appliances and mass


customisation in the chemical industry.


Elitrech


9


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