Case Study #4 – R&D Digitalization in the Chemical Industry

R&D digitalization in the chemical Industry

R&D digitalization

To increase efficiency in their R&D department, the Spanish manufacturer of household chemicals and health and beauty products, The SPB Global Corporation, SL. (SPB), decided to digitize their R&D process and implement state of the art tools to assist their 40+ formulation chemists in their work.

The obvious choice was the implementation of classical Design of Experiments (DoE) software and methodology. However, to use DoE efficiently the user has to have profound knowledge of statistics. SPB was now faced with the decision of training their formulation chemists in statistics or hiring more data scientists to support the formulation chemists in their experimental design. Both options would have been costly and time consuming.

To allow for a smooth transition to a digital R&D process SPB was scouting for new solutions on the market and found the xT SAAM industrial data farming platform. 

Efficient and customizable solution

xT SAAM combines intuitive data management, creation procedures and analysis with novel AI algorithms and the possibility to fast and easily develop predictive models based on the taken data. This allows domain experts and laboratory personnel to run experiments fast and efficiently without the need of statistical or programming knowledge. Compared to other techniques xT SAAM finds satisfactory results with less samples required, which additionally reduces R&D time and cost, and shortens the go-to-market time for innovative products.

To further boost efficiency, ease of use and shorten the on-boarding time, xT developed a customized workflow for SPB that allows the development of chemical formulations from a raw material database. Further, the customized workflow allows the chemical formulation under production cost restrictions. This means that SPB can develop new formulations not only based on end-product properties, but also take business considerations into account. Further information about this workflow you find here.

Business effect

To get a better understanding of the workflow within SPB and for SPB to better understand the commercial impact, xT and SPB started with a short pilot project. During the pilot project the overall feasibility, ease of implementation of the solution and the business effect was analyzed. The easy and intuitive graphical user interface of xT SAAM enabled SPB’s data scientist to learn and be able to teach the usage of xT SAAM within SPB after only two 30min on-boarding calls and a couple of tests in between.

The pilot project showed very promising results, which meant that the companies moved forward with the implementation of the customized workflow. The gathering of the information took only a couple of days, afterwards the first version of the implementation was delivered within 2 weeks. In the future, xT SAAM will allow the workflow customization within the software which means xT’s customers can customize their own workflows within minutes.

The use of xT SAAM could generate significant improvements in the efficiency of SPBs R&D efforts. For this reason, SPB decided to use xT SAAM to develop new products in order to assure best product quality for their clients. Furthermore, continuous use of xT SAAM allows the creation of a tidy R&D database. Future R&D and product decisions can be based on the existing datasets. The ROI in the initial phase of the implementation was between 200% and 300%. An in detail analysis of the effect on R&D time is pending, but it looks very promising. Further improvements to the software that xT will implement over the next months will increase the ROI and reduce R&D time even further.

The SPB Global Cooperation, SL. (SPB)

SPB engages in the development of proprietary and third- party home cleaning and personal care products. SPB develops efficient and effective formulas against stains, grease and dirt with special attention to fabrics and surfaces. The formulas are developed with the highest quality active ingredients effective in cleaning,moisturising and caring for skin.

The SPB Global Corporation leverages their expertise, in-depth market knowledge and ability for innovation to produce value-added products.

SPBs two main objectives are:

  • Innovate to improve people’s lives.
  • Uphold their social, business and environmental sustainability commitments.

Exponential Technologies Ltd. (xT)

xT develops novel industrial AI ad data farming platforms for the application in several industries. xT has developed a set of unique machine learning algorithms and techniques that are combined in their user-friendly, industrial data farming platform xT SAAM. 

xT SAAM supports researchers, engineers and data scientists in the development and optimization of new materials, chemicals, machine and process parameters, as well as in the root cause analysis.

xT has an international footprint in several industrial sectors, e.g. additive manufacturing, chemicals and biotechnology.

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