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Stepping up digitalization in Chemicals & Materials is one of the key drivers for transformation. Not only will it increase the Group’s productivity and improve the customer experience, it will also support the achievement of sustainability goals. In particular, digital solutions for the circular economy of plastics will become more important for the success of the Group’s carbon neutrality journey.

For that reason, Borealis decided in 2017 to implement a digital program and to create a state-of-the-art IT and digital organization, which led in 2018 to the creation of the Borealis Digital Studio in Brussels (Belgium). The Digital Studio is Borealis’ creative and agile enabler for developing smart solutions for customers and employees. It consists of a diverse, cross-functional team of digital professionals, including designers, usability experts, business analysts, software developers and engineers. Its mission is to support the Group’s businesses as they adapt to a rapidly changing environment and to keep Borealis sustainably profitable, by creating innovative digital solutions that have a positive impact on the Group, its people, and the environment. Adding value is key when creating digital solutions and end-users are always at the heart of the process, as the solutions are built both with and for them, following the agile methodology. Together with the Borealis IT organization, the Digital Studio explores innovation options with the business functions.

An innovative game-based interactive learning solution helps employees and contractors learn the Group’s Life Saving Rules and Process Safety Rules in a very immersive way, allowing them to apply theory to practice without stopping production or risking injury. The training combines a 3D-modeled plant environment, an engaging story, and motivating gamification elements to simulate safety scenarios, enabling people to learn faster and retain knowledge better than traditional methods. In addition, Borealis has explored virtual reality technology to complement existing training methods and support the Group’s journey to reach Goal Zero.

Borealis is employing artificial intelligence (AI) models to improve quality. A solution that uses image recognition to trace contamination has been rolled out to multiple locations across the Group. It gives customers peace of mind by ensuring they receive very clean polymer material, which is especially relevant for high-voltage insulation applications in the Energy business. In addition, Borealis’ plastic recycling businesses are using AI to improve their intake quality and waste sorting, which in turn supports the Group with advancing the circular economy.

The online portal for polyolefins customers, MyBorealis, supports customer service representatives and sales managers in their daily interactions with customers. It puts easy order management at the customers’ fingertips, along with a complete library of order, product, and complaint documentation. The application works around the clock, providing instant access to up-to-date information, with ordering fully integrated with supply chain and IT processes. A single global portal supports eight languages, allowing organizations in Europe, North America, and South America to use it. By the end of 2022, 20% of the order volume came in via the portal, up from 18% at the start of the year.

Borealis has developed a solution for recording and following up on the condition of equipment at its plants. The integrated digital tool allows the operator to access and enter real-time data in the field, using tablets compliant with ATEX, the two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres. Additionally, a failure prediction model using Borealis’ cloud-based data and analytics platform has been rolled out on rotating equipment. The model allows live anomaly detection and will be adapted for other equipment types, contributing to higher reliability for the Group’s production assets. Other initiatives to increase reliability include introducing autonomous robots with sensors for monitoring data points from equipment, using smart glasses to enable skilled experts to provide remote assistance in the field, and creating a Group-wide data platform containing 3D scans of critical spare parts. To better support Borealis’ complex activities in plant turnarounds, a Management Tool for Turnaround and Projects has been rolled out, which fully integrates planning and progress reporting on work orders, as well as the Go4Zero tool, which supports safety follow-up for employees and contractors.

At the K 2022 trade fair, Borealis presented Neoni, a new carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions calculator that is currently under development. This digital tool is the first in the industry to offer CO2e emissions data down to the grade level for polyolefins, providing more transparency to Borealis’ customers so they can make informed decisions on which materials best meet their circularity goals. Neoni offers a partial carbon footprint of products from Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs), in the form of cradle-to-gate CO2e emissions. This means the calculation includes all CO2e emissions incurred up to the moment the grade leaves Borealis’ facilities. The tool will soon offer customers the option to calculate additional CO2e emissions incurred from Borealis to their own operations, further enhancing its usefulness. Neoni presents CO2e emissions for a wide range of materials, from virgin, fossil feedstock-based solutions to renewable feedstock-based grades in the Bornewables™ portfolio of circular polyolefins, as well as those in the Borcycle™ portfolio of mechanically recycled polyolefins. The results from the tool will be accessible to customers on MyBorealis, the online platform for Borealis customers.