LANXESS has launched a project aimed at expanding its range of prepolymers using artificial intelligence (AI). The goal is to offer customers tailor-made polyurethane systems with even shorter lead times, including for entirely new applications with different requirements. The Urethane Systems business unit is using the potential of AI and has brought materials AI company Citrine Informatics on board as a project partner.

In an initial project phase, LANXESS enlarged its database of prepolymer-based formulations. LANXESS data specialists and process experts used the Citrine Platform for artificial intelligence to add further data points to the company’s formulation database. This involved linking existing empirical measurement data with the knowledge of the process experts and a chemistry-aware algorithm to calculate additional measurement values. This meant that only a few real-life measurements were required to verify the figures determined with AI.

In the next step, data and process experts at LANXESS will check how reliably optimal formulations can be predicted with the aid of AI to meet customer-specific requirements for product characteristics. “If the next tests are successful, we will be able to fulfil customer requests even more quickly and effectively. Our existing knowledge of formulations shall be enhanced by AI-assisted formulation design – in other words, systems that are not yet part of our portfolio but for which artificial intelligence will enable us to know instantly whether we can manufacture them and how,” says Markus Eckert, head of the Urethane Systems business unit at LANXESS.

Jörg Hellwig, Head of the LANXESS Digitalization Initiative, the partnership between Citrine and the LANXESS Urethane Systems business unit demonstrates the growing role of digitalization in product development, said, “Most employees who are already using artificial intelligence cannot imagine ever going back to the old methods of working. The use of digital technologies is increasingly becoming standard procedure at LANXESS.”