BASF signs MoU with Sinopec to develop steam cracker in China
The Germany-based chemical company, BASF, has confirmed it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sinopec to develop a steam cracker in China, Reuters reports.
The joint venture with Sinopec will see BASF invest in a 50% stake in the new cracker with Sinopec Yangtzi Petrochemical taking the other 50%.
According to Reuters, it is believed the new steam cracker will have a yearly capacity of one million tonnes of ethylene, a building block for plastics, rubber and synthetic fibre.
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BASF Chief Executive, Martin Brudermueller, said: “This additional investment into a new steam cracker and the expansion of our BASF-YPC joint venture in Nanjing underline the strong partnership between Sinopec and BASF and the commitment to our customers in China.”
The deal will become the second major investment by the chemical giants in the last four months following the news in July that BASF obtained a preliminary deal to develop China’s first wholly foreign-owned chemicals complex in Guangdong, thought to be worth $10bn in investment.
In a joint statement, the companies said: “The rising importance of alternative energy in China, especially in the automotive industry, has led to a surge in demand for innovative battery materials for a range of applications.”
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.