2020 onwards saw innumerable disruptions to production and manufacturing. Some were predictable, while others caught us by surprise. However, there’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic changed life as we know it. While individuals were impacted in very real ways which all of us can attest to, society faced its own transformations as lockdowns spread and work from home became the norm.
Many businesses also faced some irreversible effects of the pandemic, leading to some permanent restructuring of the traditional work model. Clearly, a lot of the changes that occurred helped improve many people’s lives, such as the flexibility offered by working from home. There were also innumerable new innovations that enhanced business efficiency for many different industries.
As we gradually move out of the life-halting phase of the pandemic, there’s a few emerging trends to look out for in all industries. We’ll take a look at some in the chemical industry to keep up with some trends that are sure to shape the industry, offering everything from increased efficiency through advanced chemical process technology to even a smaller carbon footprint through the introduction of greener operations.
The ubiquity of chemically processed and formulated products in our daily life is remarkable. From our morning protein shake to our favorite perfumes and personal care products, the products that make it to almost everyone’s home undergo intensive chemical processing. The environmental costs of such processing have thus risen and have, in the 21st Century, become an increasingly overwhelming concern for all of us. There is hope, however, in rising discoveries and usage of green technology.
As the adage goes, you can always find some wisdom in age-old techniques. Newer technology is finding innovative ways of harnessing nature’s chemical ingenuity to create better products. For instance, extraction of particular molecules from plant-based sources rather than mass manufacturing is one of the ways in which the chemical industry is reducing its carbon footprint.
The innovative utilization of smartphones has been on the rise over the last decade or so. While most of us individually use our phones for a multitude of purposes, including improving productivity, advancements in both technology and in methods of developing mobile apps have enabled smart business solutions to be proffered. These range from clever communication apps to all-encompassing business management and oversight apps. The chemical industry is one of the many industries benefiting from such apps.
Waste and hazardous material management, for instance, helps businesses keep track of waste containers and automatically check against environmental and safety regulations to assess whether there are any oversights. Other apps allow inventory management on the go by using barcodes. These have the capability to monitor the within-facility movements of chemicals as well. These and other similar apps are helping the chemical industry in making their records more dynamic and in keeping up with industry regulations.
Nanotechnology has been redefining the concept of “small but fierce” for quite some time now. It has paved the way to innovation in a diverse range of industries, such as computing hardware and chip technology, healthcare, surveillance and imaging, and of course, the chemical industry. Simple everyday things that we take for granted have been fine-tuned and re-tuned using nanotechnology to provide more resilient and versatile objects to satisfy our ever-increasing demand.
In the world of chemicals, there are many advantages of using nanotechnology, with many more still being discovered. It has essentially revolutionized skincare, as well, especially sunscreens. Beyond just improving the output of chemical processing, nanotechnology also helps increase the efficiency of the process by using catalysts at the nano-scale.
As the world around us grows ever smarter with smartphones and artificial intelligence virtual assistants, the benefits are fast accruing in the business side of things, too. The internet of things which connects smart devices to one another and enables us to have a seamless experience in the digital universe is also transforming the industrial landscape by providing integrated business solutions.
This allows tedious tasks, such as equipment inspections and supply-chain management, to be integrated with analytical solution packages. In turn, this then helps businesses identify weaker areas and enhance their efficiency. Indeed, there are many more reasons to look ahead rather than back, but these trends seem to be steering the chemical industry in a greener and more efficient direction — while also improving the overall consumer experience, as well.