Blog: LANXESS to deploy artificial intelligence in product development – EPPM
LANXESS is set to break new ground in the development of customer-specific high-performance plastics. By deploying artificial intelligence, the specialty chemicals company is looking to cut the amount of time it takes to develop new materials.
For this, LANXESS has entered into close collaboration with US-based AI company Citrine Informatics.
The companies have launched a pilot project aimed at gauging the potential of AI for plastics production. The aim is to further optimise the glass fibres that LANXESS uses for reinforcing many of its high-performance plastics.
Glass fibres that are mixed with the plastics to increase their mechanical performance are surrounded with a sizing. This helps them bond with the plastic matrix, ultimately ensuring the required properties.
The process of optimising glass fibre sizing is complex, laborious and time-consuming. “We expect AI to cut the development time for optimised formulations by more than half,” said Dr Axel Tuchlenski, Head of Global Product and Application Development in the LANXESS High Performance Materials Business Unit. “This will enable us to not only offer better tailor-made products, but also reduce time to market.”
AI to recommend formulations
In traditional product development, the complex composition of glass fibre sizings and the numerous variables when manufacturing high-performance plastics require extensive testing, the results of which can be hard to predict. AI can make an important contribution by getting the most out of the data. Algorithms calculate forecast models for improved test configurations and parameters, enhance these models on the basis of the measurement results from each individual test, and propose an optimum formulation. This procedure makes product development much faster than traditional methods.
Jörg Hellwig, Head of the LANXESS Digitalization Initiative, the pilot project for the development of high-performance plastics, said: “Artificial Intelligence is a vital technology for creating innovation from the myriad data within the Group.”
LANXESS launched its digitalisation initiative in 2017, establishing a dedicated team led by Hellwig. The initiative’s core action areas are to develop digital business models, introduce new technologies throughout the value chain, develop and utilise big data, and foster digital expertise among employees.