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Stepping up digitalization in Chemicals & Materials is one of the key drivers for transformation. Not only will it increase the Group’s productivity and improve customer experience, it will also support achieving sustainability goals. In particular, digital solutions for the circular economy of plastics will become more important in achieving the Group’s carbon neutrality journey.

For that reason, in 2017 Borealis decided to implement a Digital Program, which led to the creation of the Borealis Digital Studio in 2018. The Digital Studio is Borealis’ creative and agile enabler for developing smart solutions for customers and employees. It works closely with the IT department and consists of a diverse, cross-functional team of digital professionals, including designers, usability experts, business analysts, software developers, and engineers. Its mission is supporting the Group’s businesses to adapt to a rapidly changing environment and keeping Borealis sustainably profitable by creating digital, innovative solutions that have a positive impact on the Group’s people and business, and the environment. Adding value is key when creating digital solutions, and end-users are always at the heart of the process, as the solutions are built both with and for them, following the agile methodology.

The online portal for polyolefins customers (MyBorealis) supports customer service representatives and sales managers in their daily interactions with customers. It puts easy order management at the customer’s fingertips, along with a complete library of order, product, and complaint documentation. The application works around the clock, providing instant access to up-to-date information, with ordering fully integrated with supply chain and IT processes. A single global portal supports eight languages, allowing organizations in Europe, North America, and South America to use it. By the end of 2021, 18% of the order volume was via the portal, up from 14% at the start of the year.

In 2021, a project to explore the possibilities of using autonomous robots was kicked off. The activities suited to such robots, such as carrying out inspections, are being researched in a proof of concept to assess the feasibility of this kind of solution. Technologies such as virtual reality (for safety training and technical instructions/training), smart glasses (for remote assistance in the field), and 3D technology (for printing machinery parts) are also in the prototype-building or set-up phase.

Interactive Safety Training for the Five Life Saving and Process Safety Rules is an innovative gamified interactive learning solution that helps employees and contractors learn the rules through remote training and tests. The training combines a 3D-modelled plant environment, an engaging story, and motivating gamification elements to simulate scenarios, enabling better knowledge retention and faster learning than traditional methods. Employees learn the Life Saving Rules and Process Safety Rules in a very immersive way and can apply theory to practice without stopping production or risking actual injury. Around 14,000 training modules have already been completed across the entire Borealis workforce.

Projects relating to circular economy solutions (CES) are ongoing to explore collaboration opportunities with start-up companies, to create product and digital solutions for scalable and traceable closed-loop material flows, and to reuse systems (e.g., coffee cups and food trays). These systems use a digital platform built by the Borealis Digital Studio and give the necessary data insights to maximize reuse, accommodate closing the loop, and recycle plastic waste once it can no longer be reused and reaches the end of its life. The systems thereby create new and profitable business solutions.