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Showa Denko K.K., Kawasaki Plant

Showa Denko’s Kawasaki Plant in Ogimachi boasts a long history of development and manufacture of organic and inorganic chemical products. In order to promote smart industrial safety using technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), the company pays special attention to valves, which are indispensable for production. To optimize maintenance work and reduce costs, Showa Denko utilizes Azbil’s smart valve positioners, valve diagnostic systems, and valve analysis and diagnosis services provided by specialist engineers.

A focus on valve maintenance, which accounts for most maintenance costs, for smarter operation

Showa Denko is involved in a variety of business areas, including petrochemicals, chemicals, inorganics, aluminum, and electronics. The Kawasaki Plant, the oldest of its operating plants, is located in three sections of the city, Ogimachi, Okawa, and Chidori, and is positioned as the company’s mother plant. It manufactures chemicals, including industrial products like ammonia and caustic soda, and industrial gases like nitrogen, hydrogen, and argon. In addition, in recent years, the company has been promoting chemical recycling of used plastics, which is attracting attention as an activity for a resource-recycling society.

“From a management perspective, there is a strong demand to promote smart plants in order to solve the personnel shortage and to pass on technology smoothly to the next generation of workers, while assuring the steady operation of the plant. So, we focus on the 4,000 to 5,000 valves that are operating at our plant,” says Tsuyoshi Hino, a group leader in the Engineering Department.

“As we expand our business overseas and compete globally,” adds Kaichiro Arita, an assistant manager in the department, “reducing maintenance costs is a major issue now more than ever, in order to increase corporate and product competitiveness. Valve maintenance in periodic inspections accounts for about 20% of our total maintenance cost for instrumentation equipment, and requires 1,000 man-hours a year. We thought that, if we could make our valve maintenance smarter, we could dramatically reduce costs and improve productivity.”

This article was published in April 2021.