Covestro, one of the world’s leading polymer manufacturers, and the Haier Group, a major global brand for household appliances, have signed an agreement to set up a joint digitalization laboratory in Qingdao, China, for the digitalization of refrigerators production. Haier Institute of Industrial Intelligence will support the project.
In line with Covestro’s digitalization strategy, the laboratory will develop digital solutions for the use of polyurethanes in appliance production. Covestro wants to set a new benchmark for digitalizing the chemical industry.
Polyurethane rigid foam is well-known material for effective insulation of refrigerator. A precisely dosed amount of polyurethane raw materials is injected into the outer cavity to fill it up completely during foam formation. The material and the related foaming process, both, are critical for the refrigerator industry.
Fully-automated, smart production is primarily based on a precise characterization of the polyurethane components, which is a complex task. Covestro, with the development of digital solutions, plans to create new channels to help manufacturers of household appliance to overcome these challenges.
Development of innovative solutions for data collection and analysis, monitoring foam quality and process workflows and continuously optimizing processes will be carried out by the two partners at the joint digitalization laboratory. The new innovative measures will produce better polyurethane foaming and manufacturing process, improve foam quality and reduce manufacturing costs. Digitalization will create new opportunities for the domestic appliance industry.
Dr. Ulrich Liman, global head of research and development in the Polyurethanes segment at Covestro, commented, “With this collaboration, Covestro benefits from its comprehensive experience with polyurethane and foam technologies, while Haier brings in its expertise in industrial automation and the analysis of large volumes of data. This combination is bringing forth a new era of digital transformation in the chemical industry.”