Innovation is the life-blood of the chemical industry. It is also a critical success factor as we transition to the New Normal. Many of today’s plants and processes are simply too old and inefficient to remain competitive in a world of slow and volatile economic growth.
Equally important is that changing demand patterns will demand the use of smaller plants, located close to the customer and able to produce smaller quantities on a continuous basis.
Yet making the case for investment in new technology is always difficult. So a key enabler can often be entry to a major innovation competition. The ICIS Innovation Awards, now in their 12th year, can thus prove an ideal springboard for future success.
I have personally seen this happen, though my other role as chairman of NiTech Solutions, now a successful spin-out company from Scotland’s Heriot Watt University
- In 2010, NiTech entered the ICIS Innovation Awards and won the SME category – its latest Mobile unit for the pharma industry is shown above
- The technology in its winning entry was installed by Sanofi and has now run successfully for 7 years with minimum maintenance
- It replaced traditional processes which required 2 x 150m3 (40,000 US gallon) pressurised reactors
Winning the Award helped to give us the credibility needed to work with major chemical and pharma companies around the world.
Winning can, of course, be equally important for large companies. Previous winners include household names such as BASF, Dow, Teijin, ExxonMobil, Solvay, DSM, Clariant, Cabot, Huntsman and Arkema.
If you are an SME moving onto the global stage, or an innovative business in a major company, I would strongly recommend that you consider entering this year. The entry process is simple, and there are full details are on a dedicated website, as well as a video.
But don’t delay – there are just 2 weeks to the 26 June deadline.