Orion (NYSE: OEC) is a leading global supplier of carbon black, a solid form of carbon produced as powder or pellets. The material is made to customers’ exacting specifications for tires, coatings, ink, batteries, plastics and numerous other specialty, high-performance applications. Carbon black is used to tint, colorize, provide reinforcement, conduct electricity, increase durability and add UV protection. Orion has innovation centers on three continents and 4 plants worldwide, offering the most diverse variety of production processes in the industry. The company’s corporate lineage goes back more than 60 years to Germany, where it operates the world’s longest-running carbon black plant. Orion is a leading innovator, applying a deep understanding of customers’ needs to deliver sustainable solutions. For more information, please visit orioncarbons.com.
Orion Engineered Carbons has migrated its highly complex simulations of chemical processes to the cloud. Its IT partner AllCloud was tasked with preparing the company’s cloud journey and helped resolve security questions about the protection of intellectual property. The result: up to 20 percent faster calculations and sufficient computing capacity available at the touch of a button to meet the growing need for simulations. Powered by high-performance computing, a digital twin of the production systems delivers insights that go far beyond those of traditional measurement technology. The results of real-time analytics enable Orion to change production parameters during the manufacturing process to fine-tune quality parameters.
The carbon black manufacturer Orion has decided to implement an extensive project involving the migration of many of its IT workloads into the cloud. This marks an instrumental component of the company’s digital transformation program which was initiated three years ago. One that has already gone live is the simulation area, which requires an especially high level of performance and computing power. Simulations of chemical reactions help optimize areas such as production processes and product quality. The cloud is ideal for this project due to the high- performance computing (HPC) requirements, as the company can book computing capacity based on demand.
At the beginning of its digital journey in 2020 Orion started to think about using HPC in the cloud but came up against a few challenges that needed to be resolved. “The biggest challenge was to clarify whether and how we could protect our expertise (IP) if we were to migrate calculations for the operational production environment to the cloud,” notes Arndt-Peter Schinkel, Vice President of Innovation at Orion. The simulations comprise a wealth of specialized knowledge and experience. “The protection of our intellectual property was ensured on-premises, while in the cloud we needed to establish the relevant framework with AWS and providers and set up the corresponding agreements,” explains Ben Scherer, Vice President Global IT at Orion. It took sometime, but the company was able overcome all the hurdles.