Celebrating first year of pilot project successes by Pacific Digital Operations Center

Group discussion at Shanghai DOC Showcase

We are celebrating the 1-year anniversary of our Digital Operations Center (DOC) in Shanghai, China. The DOC is part of a global network of Digital Centers focused on identifying, developing and piloting new digital capabilities. The Digital Operation Center brings together multi-functional teams from business operations and IT to ideate and validate the value of digital capabilities and advanced manufacturing technologies to improve the safety, reliability, productivity and sustainability of Dow’s operations.

As we head into year two of accelerating digital optimization, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come since the Shanghai DOC launched. The local team implemented over 20 pilot-projects since the launch in January 2020. These projects focused on solutions that could deliver the most value for Dow and our customers, from executing ever-evolving safety standards for our own employees to improving product reliability for customers.


Value Focused Design

The DOC partners with manufacturing teams to understand where there are improvement opportunities and works to deliver technology to address these. Several of these opportunities and accomplishments in this first year included:

  • OPPORTUNITY: Enabling identification of potential leaks in underground piping systems - The legacy listening-based technology monitoring our pipes for leaks was sporadically disrupted by noises in the environment above ground. This delivered a suitable baseline but needed accuracy improvements.
  • OUTCOME: We piloted digital technologies which included an acoustic sensor system to detect potential pipe leaks with non-intrusive, non-disruptive methods. With improved pipe readings, the team can also stay up on pipe maintenance, ultimately avoiding any water waste with leaks.
  • OPPORTUNITY: Operator safety and productivity - Above ground, the drum-filling system used in Dow’s operation sites was labor-intensive for our operators. While drums filled, operators had to monitor material. This operation could be paused to continue doing other work, but ultimately led to overtime to cover the shortage on shifts.
  • OUTCOME: We optimized safety and efficiency while keeping in mind the job priorities of operators by integrating an intelligent video and robotics system. Each machine reads the drum weight and notifies operators when it reaches a threshold, giving 2 hours of operators’ time back to focus on other job priorities. Video streams were connected and displayed in the control room and customized data can now be collected and sent per shift as necessary.
  • OPPORTUNITY: Improving accuracy of product quantity - Prior to integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into our production lines, team members oftentimes loaded products by hand. This leads to potential inaccuracies in shipment quantity for various types of materials. Though these inaccuracies were immediately addressed, we work to get it right the first time and made it a priority to adjust our operations to ensure this.
  • OUTCOME: AI was implemented to help ensure accurate product packing through weighing material, notifying if there are errors and prospecting potential inaccuracies. This also gave time back to our team to focus on other job priorities.

Optimizing our sites by piloting and scaling up digital capabilities is a key area of focus for Dow and is a part of a larger strategy to accelerate digital across the Company. The Shanghai DOC team is an instrumental part of this strategy, helping identify and develop the right capabilities and test them to validate impact and scalability. With their help, we are advancing digital manufacturing and using digital to improve the customer and employee experience. We’ve come a long way since the launch of the DOC in Shanghai, and as we press forward into another year of innovating, we will continue to accelerate digital to prioritize the safety of our workers and the experience of our customers.