Germany: Digitalisation Covestro Keen on Promoting Digital Technologies in R&D

Editor: Ahlam Rais

The digitalisation process ensures that the company’s operative business continues to develop. Significant investments are also being made for the expansion of the company's computing capacity.

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Data expert Jan Meyer helps to foster digital research and development at Covestro.
Data expert Jan Meyer helps to foster digital research and development at Covestro.
(Source: Covestro)

Germany – Digitalisation is changing the chemical and plastics industries. Covestro actively seizes the opportunities and is driving digital technologies and processes in research and development (R&D) in its operative business with a comprehensive programme. Investments in the expansion of the company's computing capacity are a central element. The powerful computing heart for digital research is located in Leverkusen and will be continuously expanded in the course of next year.

The planned hardware expansion will significantly increase computing power through high-performance computing and thus digitally support worldwide R&D activities. In addition, Covestro cooperates with competent partners such as RWTH Aachen University. This development is a further component of the digitisation strategy, which comprises three dimensions: Digital Operations, Digital Customer Experience and Digital Business Models.

Covestro is working on the digital project with established companies from the IT sector. In the future, complex research and development processes can be significantly accelerated and test series can be computer simulated to a much greater extent. The time to market of innovative products can thus not only be shortened, but the processes also become more sustainable because energy and material consumption in experimental work is reduced.

More digital competence and education

In addition to expanding its computing power, Covestro is also investing in promoting the digital skills of its employees. Under the leadership of Torsten Heinemann, Vice President Digital Research and Development, a team of international specialists is currently being formed. In addition, Covestro promotes the education of young university graduates and advertises positions throughout Europe for Master's, doctoral and post-doctoral programmes.

Digitally supported research – tailor-made solutions

Simulations for industrial catalysts are a good example of how ‘digital chemistry’ can already improve product development today. Efficiency and sustainability are key objectives for catalysts. Computer chemistry can now be used to select catalysts more quickly, better understand response mechanisms and discover new response pathways. The combination of high-performance computing and many years of experience in classical laboratory chemistry guarantees shorter development times and optimised product results.

This enables Covestro to better meet the needs of its customers for tailor-made innovative solutions and to develop products with special properties in a targeted and efficient manner: The computer calculates the most promising solutions in extensive simulations.

In cooperation with the research partner RWTH Aachen University, the digitally obtained results are tested at the CAT Catalytic Center in real experiments in the laboratory.  

Making research data globally comparable

In the coming years, Covestro will also be investing increasingly in the consolidation of global research data in a company-wide knowledge network. The data platform will make the existing know-how available at all research locations worldwide and thus further increase the efficiency of R&D projects.