THE Bradford arm of a global chemical manufacturer has achieved "record-breaking" productivity levels with help from tech company Siemens Digital Industries.

The company supported Kemira, based on Bowling Park Drive, to optimise how it makes its polyacrylamide products, which are used for the cleaning of municipal and industrial wastewater.

The Kemira plant produces a range of polyacrylamide products - powdered solid products - which act as flocculating agents, binding with impurities and small particles to speed up the separation of solids and liquids in different industrial processes.

Acrylamide is the essential raw material in the polymerisation process via which polyacrylamides are manufactured.

A big challenge for the company was that for many years, the acrylamide was sourced from a Kemira plant in The Netherlands, with up to ten tanker loads per day making the journey across the North Sea to Bradford.

To improve the use of resources and minimise waste, the company set out to bring the manufacture of acrylamide on site.

Using Siemens’ technologies Kemira is now producing the acrylamide on site and is also able to capture and analyse data to drive significant improvements in the efficiency of the process - achieving a near 50 per cent increase in peak production rate.

This has allowed Kemira to achieve its goal of becoming self-sufficient in the production of acrylamide rather than importing around 1,600 tankers from its sister plant in the Netherlands each year.

Steve Leech, Business Manager Process Control Systems, Siemens Great Britain & Ireland, said: “The successful deployment has enabled Kemira to take their first steps on their digitalisation journey.

“In the chemical sector, this is a significant move forward and sets them up to meet the challenges of the sector in areas such as flexibility, productivity, time to market and quality.”

Data generated from the process is now used to optimise the manufacturing process. The process also runs at a lower temperature, which cuts energy consumption.

Mr Leech added: “Safety is paramount for any chemical manufacturing facility and the process control system plays a critical role in ensuring safe operation.

"The Safety Matrix solution for Process Safety provides the operators with clear visualisation of any safety related incidents or messages and allows appropriate action to be taken in an efficient and controlled manner. This is particularly true in the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations site to which Kemira’s Bradford site was raised whilst we were engaged in the project.”