Covestro, 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 digitalization of appliance production. Both parties have signed an agreement thereon. The project will be supported by the Haier Institute of Industrial Intelligence.
The laboratory will develop digital solutions for using polyurethanes in appliance production – in line with Covestro’s digitalization strategy. The objective is to set a new benchmark for digitalization of the chemical industry.
Best insulation with polyurethane
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 and fills 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 characterization 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.
Process optimization through digitalization
In the new Haier – Covestro Digitalization Joint Laboratory, both partners want to develop innovative solutions for data collection and analysis, monitoring foam quality and process workflows and continuously optimizing processes. These innovative measures will continuously improve the polyurethane foaming and manufacturing process, improve foam quality and reduce manufacturing costs. This will open up new opportunities for the domestic appliance industry in an increasingly digitalized world.
“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,” explains Dr. Ulrich Liman, global head of research and development in the Polyurethanes segment at Covestro. “This combination is bringing forth a new era of digital transformation in the chemical industry.”