Air Liquide inaugurates its digital performance center in Shanghai

French industrial gases maker Air Liquide inaugurated its digital performance center in Shanghai today to remotely control its plants in China.
Air Liquide

Company leaders and customers visit Air Liquide's Digital Performance Center in Shanghai. The company aims to boost efficiency in China following fast profit growth.

French industrial gases maker Air Liquide inaugurated its digital performance center in Shanghai today to remotely control its plants in China, a measure to help boost its efficiency echoing fast profit growth in the country, it said.

The center monitors its plants, and enables operators to remotely turn on or off components such as valves and pumps to adjust production capacity or prevent accidents at real time, said Feng Xiaodong, the center’s manager.

It has been controlling six of its plants upon now, after which the company plans to cover over 20 out of the nearly 90 in total by the end of next year, he added.

It is the company’s second digital control center worldwide following the one in France, a measure to boost its efficiency and reliability in China motivated by fast profit growth in this region, said Chris Clark, vice president for Air Liquide China Large Industries.

Its sales in China last year jumped 7.8 percent from a year ago, bolstered by fast increases in all its sectors ranging from engineering and healthcare, according to its 2016 annual report.

China leads its growth worldwide in high-tech sectors such as electronics, which last year gained 8.6 percent year on year in sales.

The company didn’t unveil the investment on the center, but said it will bolster faster operations in China to address ramping up demand.

Zhang Yuzhong, deputy director-general of the Investment Promotion Agency of Ministry of Commerce, said foreign companies need to speed up upgrading production, “especially to enhance efficiency and automation following the nation’s efforts on industrial reform.”

“Only those who grasp chances such as smart manufacturing will have more profit opportunities nowadays in the fast changing land,” he said.

Air Liquide is one of the world’s largest industrial gas suppliers, reaping 1.8 billion euros (US$2.2 billion) in profit last year. Industrial gases companies are competing to enhance digitization, with German company Linde starting remote operations in Asia in 2014 to strengthening its controls.


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