Blog: Lanxess partners with Citrine Informatics to use artificial intelligence within product development – Medical Plastics News
Lanxess, a chemicals company have partnered with Citrine Informatics, a U.S.-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) company, to attempt to use AI for the development of customer specific high-performance plastics.
Together, the two companies have launched a pilot project aimed at gauging the potential of AI for the production of plastics.
Glass fibres are mixed with plastics to increase their mechanical performance. These glass fibres are surrounded with a sizing which helps the glass fibres to bond more strongly with the plastic matrix, and ultimately ensures the properties that are required of high-performance plastics. The glass fibres that Lanxess currently uses to reinforce many of its high-performance plastics will need to be optimised. This optimisation will result in an enhanced performance of the materials. However, the process of optimising glass fibre sizing is complex, laborious and time-consuming.
Axel Tuchlenski, head of global product and application development in the Lanxess high performance materials business unit said: “We expect AI to cut the development time for optimised formulations by more than half. This will enable us to not only offer our customers even better tailor-made products, but also reduce time to market.”
Traditionally in product development, the complex composition of glass fibre sizings and the numerous variables require extensive testing when manufacturing high-performance plastics. The results of which can be hard to predict.
It is thought that the use of AI will allow companies to get the most out of the available data. AI algorithms can calculate forecast models for improved test configurations and parameters, and then enhance these models on the basis of the measurement results from each individual test. They can then propose an optimum formulation. AI is able to process the thousands of data measurement results from previous formulations, raw material information and additional data. This is the reason using AI should increase the speed of product development compared to traditional methods.
The Lanxess digitalisation initiative was launched in 2017, and it is headed by Jörg Hellwig in his capacity as chief digital officer reporting directly to Matthias Zachert, chairman of the board of management of Lanxess. The core areas of action within the initiative are to develop digital business models, introduce new technologies throughout the value chain, develop and utilise big data, and foster digital expertise amongst employees.
Hellwig said: “AI is a vital technology for creating innovation from the myriad data within the group.”
The Citrine Platform’s role will be to accelerate the development of materials and chemicals using the power of materials data and AI. Citrine has previously been recognised for technology innovation by the World Economic Forum as a Tech Pioneer 2017, and won the Best-in-Biz Start-up of the Year Award in 2018. Additionally, Citrine Informatics currently collaborates with several universities, including; Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the University of California, Berkeley.