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Feature article - Digital intelligence: The chemical industry’s best counter to rising risk & uncertainty?

David Dunn, global industry marketing lead for chemicals, at SAP, highlights the need for chemical companies to look at Industry 4.0 practices

Before 2020 spiralled into viral uncertainty, chemical manufacturers had the luxury of embracing digitalisation and Industry 4.0 practices on their own terms. No longer. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the sense of urgency among chemical manufacturers to infuse their operations and their supply chains with Industry 4.0 capabilities.

Lanxess realigns in water treatment

Lanxess has announced that it is focusing its water treatment technologies business on the ion exchange (IX) resins business and will build a new plant. As a result, it is selling its reverse osmosis (RO) membranes business to Suez of France, on undisclosed terms. This should be concluded within 2020.

Azelis enters Israel with Orklia buy

Azelis has extended its reach into Israel by acquiring Orkila Israel, a speciality chemicals distributor in Israel active in multiple market segments, including agrochemicals, animal nutrition, personal care, food, pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals. Terms were not disclosed.

CEFIC calls for EU recovery plan

Ahead of the European Council meeting on 17 July, CEFIC called on EU member states “to urgently agree an EU Recovery Plan to restart Europe’s economy and kick off investments towards a green and digital transition”.

According to the association, COVID-19 has been “a timely reminder that Europe needs its own robust industrial capacity” and such a plan could turn the crisis into “an opportunity to build a more resilient European economy whilst delivering on the European Green Deal objectives”. The chemicals industry will be critical to this.

CordenPharma in peptide expansion

CordenPharma has announced the addition of a 3,000-litre solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) vessel at its GMP API facility in Boulder, Colorado. This site, which was formerly owned by Roche, already has a 10,000-litre SPPS vessel and a 100 cm high-pressure reverse phase purification column, and is claimed to have the largest capacity of any peptide API facility.

SOCMA report finds companies ‘bullish’

A new report by SOCMA and Vault Consulting, the Specialty Chemicals Industry Census, has found that speciality chemical companies in the US “remain bullish despite the uncertain landscape”. Key findings include:

* About 93% of respondents expect an increase in revenue growth and 83% expect an increase in capacity in the next three years

* Over 67% have capital expansion plans in place.

* Markets driving revenue growth within the next three years include performance materials (81% of respondents), agrochemicals (49%) and APIs and excipients (47%)

Evotec initiates ‘Campus Curie’ in Toulouse

Drug discovery firm Evotec, which also owns the CDMO Aptuit, has acquired the ‘Biopark by Sanofi’ (BBS) operation in Toulouse, France, and will rename it ‘Campus Curie’. The 19 employees are all transferring. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The company said that this acquisition will allow it “to significantly expand its existing capacities at the site over the near to mid-term while retaining maximum flexibility to build up long-term capacity as needed”.

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