Beginning of May, a second peer exchange on "AI in production in the chemical industry" took place at the “Accenture Industry X Innovation Center” at Zeche Zollverein in Essen, Germany.

Evonik and Covestro invited managers and decision-makers from the production and technology units of companies such as Bayer, Wacker, Clariant and LANXESS to exchange ideas.

Data-based methods of problem-solving have a long tradition in production and technology, dating back to the 1960s. However, with the current accelerated adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI), companies in the chemical industry must deal increasingly with questions regarding the technical, operational, and organizational implementation.

The continuation of the format was again about collaborative learning and pre-competitive discussion. The agenda included four key topics that were of equal importance to all peers:

  • Operationalization and scaling of pilot projects
  • Building internal AI expertise vs. hiring external talent
  • Democratizing data analytics and AI for production staff
  • Production-specific vs. enterprise-wide data integration platforms


In small groups, participants rotated through each station, providing input and sharing experiences and opinions on each topic. Intensive discussions also continued in between sessions and over a joint barbecue.

The open atmosphere allowed both the recognition of similar approaches and the elaboration of different views on how to overcome current and future challenges related to the use and organization of AI in production and technology.

"We are all taking the same journey. Peer comparison allows mutual learning from each other's experiences," summarized Yves Gorat Stommel, Head of Cognitive Solutions at Evonik Digital GmbH.

Nils o. Janus, Global Head of Advanced Analytics Covestro, added: "It is exciting to experience that the participating companies on the one hand set individual priorities for the use of AI, in line with their respective business models, and on the other hand see the same need for change in all non-technological topics."

In a subsequent evaluation, the participants rated the meeting very positively in terms of organization, choice of topics and the opportunity to network.

Not least thanks to the friendly support of Accenture on site, this means: To be continued!