Spotlight on 2021: The value of IoT as the industrial gases market builds back from Covid-19

By Molly Burgess

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19), companies have an increased need for digitalisation and the use of data, complemented by value-added solutions, to help narrow gaps in the supply chain.

That’s exactly what Leslie Waller, Vice-President of Global Sales for Industrial Gases at Anova, told gasworld TV on Friday (25th June), as a panellist on Spotlight on 2021: The industrial gases year so far.

A global leader in remote monitoring of industrial assets, providing Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions that enable improvements in efficiency, safety, service and profitability, Anova is focused on connecting the industrial world.

Speaking to gasworld TV, IoT was a key focus for Waller, who said that the past year and a half, the time most effected by the global pandemic, has promoted a double down effect in such area, especially in the industrial gases industry.

“Globally [in the past year and a half], we saw a decrease in metals and manufacturing, affecting oxygen demand and argon production, we saw a huge increase in oxygen for the healthcare market and an increase in speciality and high purity gases in the electronics market.”

“I can go on and on, but as these plants begin to rebound in the economy, the stock market begins to right itself, along with manufacturing to pre-covid levels by the end 2021, it is important for us to remember what the gaps these supply challenges have exposed. “

“Overwhelmingly, companies have an increased need for digitisation and the use of data. complemented by value added solutions. These value-added solutions would help narrow some of these gaps in supply chain.”

“So, digitisation, coupled with telemetry, allows access to real time and historical data that can be used to improve decision making and optimise resources. During these lean times, successful businesses invest in operations and efficiency. And so, the industrial gas market, what I’ve seen for the past six months, has been doing just that,” Waller explained. 

The wave of digitalisation: From oxygen to CO2

Supporting her above thoughts, Warren detailed three aspects of the industrial gases industry in which digitalisation is benefiting both those emersed in the area of expertise and the market. 

Of course, a big focal point at the moment is still the increased demand for medical oxygen and Covid-19. Speaking about how IoT solutions can benefit environment that are handling oxygen, such as hospitals and care facilities, Warren said, “Global data monitoring requests have soared areas of high impact [as a result of Covid-19], especially in places like California, Texas, India, Brazil, Peru.”

“Value of IoT is not only in monitoring level and pressure in the tanks, but flowrate downstream of vaporisers, to avoid liquid breakthrough oxygen in the piping and to avoid reaching unsafe velocity of oxygen through the piping infrastructure that could cause serious issues in these medical facilities.”

“The data that we can achieve from digitisation here can be an early warning sign and an added level of safety to start moving patients off house oxygen, to bring in emergency portable oxygen and additional vaporisation and/or just move patients off to other hospitals.”

Carbon dioxide (CO2) was the next focus for Warren on the topic of digitalisation. Speaking to the gasworld audience, she explained that the CO2 supply/industry is often slow to recover, and that there are rumours that ethanol plants are not showing promise to come back online any time soon.

Building on this, she said, “As you know, CO2 is a by-product of ethanol, so the industry is now starting to look for decentralised sources of CO2 that can be from boilers and co-generation plants, just to name a few.” 

“With the opening of the economy, what we’re seeing is a huge rebound or strong rebound in CO2 demand, and in areas such as bev carb consumption in hotels and restaurants and fast-food chains, they’re all returning to normal operation levels, and so there’s a need for efficient delivery and prevention of CO2 losses – and it’s more critical than ever that digitisation play a role in this.”

“There’s also a need in other expanded areas as well, such as agriculture, which includes cannabis, fire safety, pharmaceuticals, and speciality chemicals. We have seen high demand in monitoring devices and scheduling programmes targeting these CO2 applications.”

Whilst Warren’s discussion showcased how such technology can transform, and is already transforming, the industry, she said that “we are only just scratching the surface”.

She said, “We are only touching the surface of this right now, and Anova is spending a lot of time developing with our customers and partnering with our customers to help them become more efficient and be able to grow and profitably grow in this space.”

This article appeared on the Gasworld website at https://www.gasworld.com/spotlight-on-2021-the-value-of-iot-as-the-industrial-gases-market-builds-back-from-covid-19/2021150.article


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