Materials Business Topics

The materials business segment is helping to bring about a circular economy that offers comfort and convenience and is in harmony with the environment. Guided by Yokogawa’s “Three goals” for sustainability by the year 2050, the materials business is focused on achieving a circular economy.

 

マテリアル

The world today faces planet-wide environmental crises, including severe climate change, marine plastic litter, biodiversity loss, and natural resource depletion. These problems require immediate attention as they are interrelated and pose a threat to all life on earth.

To address these global issues, rapid progress in the direction of carbon neutrality and a circular economy is being made all over the world. Our customers in the materials industry are now pressed to come up with technologies and solutions that enable more efficient energy use and recycling, as well as a switch to materials with lower environmental impact. These customers are not only pursuing innovations with raw materials and processing technologies but also are developing new materials with unprecedented performance and properties. The mobility industry, for example—where connected, autonomous, shared, and electric (CASE) vehicles are driving new trends in technology and services—is answering the need for new materials to be used in lighter and stronger vehicle bodies and parts, adhesives, rechargeable batteries, and motors. In addition, the growing use and sophistication of 5G and IoT technologies are driving up worldwide demand for semiconductor materials, making it a challenge to secure their stable supply.

 

Business Overview

Yokogawa’s materials business segment is helping to bring about a circular economy that offers comfort and convenience and is in harmony with the environment. For our customers in the functional chemicals, biomass materials, pulp & paper, textiles, steel, non-ferrous metals, mining, mobility, and electrical/electronics industries, we deliver solutions that improve productivity, reduce environmental impact, and save energy.

In the chemicals industry, Yokogawa has installed a large number of plant monitoring and control systems for customers primarily in Japan, and has built strong relationships with these companies over the years. The production and quality-control insights and know-how gained through such partnerships have provided Yokogawa with a wealth of solutions that are shared throughout the Yokogawa Group and are being deployed globally. In the mining and metals industries, Yokogawa is taking advantage of its extensive track record and long-term partnerships with customers mainly in Australia, South America, and Africa to offer a diverse range of solutions.

In addition to our core process automation (PA) business for chemicals and other industries, we also are developing a factory automation (FA) business targeting the mobility, battery manufacturing, and semiconductor supply chains as well as carbon management and other environmental applications.

 

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Solutions for Value Creation:

Cooperative Process Optimization

Through the visualization of customers’ challenges, we help them optimize operations and create value by facilitating quick and effective decision-making.

Manufacturing operations in the materials industry frequently consist of a series of processes. When each process is run independently, diverse variables come into play and affect the other processes. Partial optimization can be achieved by refining the individual processes, but optimizing how these processes work together remains a challenge. To address this need, Yokogawa offers solutions that optimize process coordination by identifying and helping to resolve issues caused by cross-process factors. Specifically, these solutions involve the statistical analysis of historical plant operation data, the identification of control loops that require improvements, and the calculation of optimal tuning parameters using proprietary algorithms.

At a chemical plant in Japan, we found that a disturbance in a reaction tank was impacting downstream processes, altering the temperature of cooled fluids and causing fluctuations in intermediate product flow rates. By using our solution to optimize control parameters, the plant successfully reduced the flow rate fluctuations and decreased its use of steam and cold water. The resulting energy savings totaled approximately 10 million yen per year. 

At a paper mill, Yokogawa discovered that certain steps in the papermaking process were affecting the concentration of the materials used in the stock preparation process, and that this had been causing fluctuations in the basis weight (grams per square meter) of paper products. By changing the parameters of the control loop in question, the paper mill stabilized the processes and reduced the waste of materials and energy, increasing profits by about 20 million yen per year.

 

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Carbon Management Solutions

The need for carbon management has become increasingly urgent as more customers strive for carbon neutrality. Carbon management is the process of ascertaining the current level of greenhouse emissions and making continuous efforts for their control and reduction. Especially in the manufacturing industry, it is necessary to visualize emissions for the entire supply chain—from the procurement of raw materials to disposal and recycling—and to seek the reduction and optimization of emissions through a holistic approach that crosses the boundaries separating individual enterprises.

We at Yokogawa provide our customers with energy-management solutions that efficiently monitor and control the flow, consumption, and production of energy within their factories and communities. Capitalizing on the knowledge that is gained, we support our customers in their efforts to decarbonize their operations by proposing carbon-management solutions that are designed to reduce and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. Under the banner of “co-achieving zero carbon,” Yokogawa will continue to partner with its customers in the provision of solutions that achieve carbon neutrality throughout the supply chain.

 

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Toward a Circular Economy

Based on its “Three goals” for sustainability by the year 2050, Yokogawa’s materials business is focused on providing solutions mainly to the functional chemicals sector that will promote comfort and convenience and contribute to the realization of a circular economy that is in harmony with the environment. To realize a circular economy, we will act to fulfill our responsibility for the good of all people and society and the future of our planet.

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