Digital twins are crucial for optimising processes, and GenAI will play a significant role in the future: Sumit Duttagupta, CIO, Haldia Petrochemicals

In an exclusive interview with Express Computer, Sumit Duttagupta, CIO, Haldia Petrochemicals, sheds light on the company’s digital transformation journey and strategic initiatives aimed at maintaining its competitive edge in the petrochemical industry. From leveraging AI and ML to ensuring robust data security measures and adopting emerging technologies like blockchain and IoT, Haldia Petrochemicals is at the forefront of innovation to optimise productivity, enhance customer experience, and drive sustainable growth.

How does Haldia Petrochemicals stay up-to-date with industry trends to maintain its competitive edge?

HPL has always been in the forefront with its new initiatives  for process improvement,  business transformation and sustainability. We have been able to bring the best-in-class technology both in the manufacturing space to maximise  customer satisfaction. Innovation and continuous improvement of People, Process and Technology are the three pillars of our endeavour to stay ahead of competition.

Can you discuss any recent or upcoming digital initiatives at Haldia Petrochemicals aimed at improving efficiency and customer experience?

HPL started its digital transformation with the objective of “Sensor to Boardroom” data visibility. The automation through Smart IIoT based sensors has enhanced our predictive maintenance reducing unplanned downtime. The automation of our manufacturing execution system like Electronic Logbook, Electronic Permits, Online Monitoring, Real Time Process optimisation, Operator Driven Reliability and Laboratory Information System has ensured superior quality products and improved reliability of our assets. The digitisation of all the functions and seamless data ecosystems has ensured near real-time exchange of information with our customers and other external stakeholders. Some of the business-critical digital initiatives like SAP S4 HANA, Ariba, Success Factors, Real Time SAC Dashboards, Electronic Proof of Delivery, Vehicle Tracking have improved the customer experience and collaboration.

How is AI and ML being utilised within the company’s operations? Are there specific examples where these technologies have made a significant impact?

The digital initiatives in the manufacturing space have been to harness the potential of AI & ML. The Real Time Process Optimisation and IIoT based predictive maintenance of assets leverages the AI/ML technologies to ensure that the early alerts are predictive in nature with diagnostics.

How do you see the traction of GenAI in your industry? Are you leveraging its benefits?

GenAI new technology is crucial for the petrochemical industry. The digital twin of assets is a key aspect for process optimisation and GenAI going forward, will play a key role. The essence of perspective analytics is to ensure that the young professionals in the industry can leverage the digital knowledge bank based out of GenAI technology. 

What steps has the company taken towards ensuring robust data security measures for sensitive information processed by their systems?

HPL has invested heavily on state-of-the-art information security and we are the first petrochemical plant in India to get ISO 27001-2022 certification from BSI.

What are some key technological challenges faced by Haldia Petrochemicals that need to be addressed to optimise productivity and drive innovation forward?

HPL takes  a holistic grounds up approach towards digitisation. The automation process followed ISA 95 guidelines and the digital framework has ensured seamless automation from Layer 0 to Layer 4 automation. Change management and people’s perception towards digitisation needs further engagement to get the maximum benefit from digital transformation.

How does Haldia Petrochemicals plan to leverage emerging technologies such as blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) in the future?

HPL is already leveraging blockchain and IIoT technology in various business initiatives and effort is on to integrate and assimilate the same as part of our digital framework.

In light of current market conditions and competition, what is the outlook for Haldia Petrochemicals’ technology investments and growth prospects?

HPL is expanding its footprint in both upstream and downstream with new projects in the pipeline which is expected to significantly increase the company’s EBITDA. HPL management feels that investment in technology is essential  to stay competitive and with mega projects being implemented, digitisation will ensure effective project management. The  emphasis is on new innovative technologies to ensure process optimisation, asset assurance and drive predictive AI/ML based models for better business outcomes. We in HPL feel that digital  vision is “To shift business decisions from reactive to proactive, to predictive, and ideally to automated prescriptive”.

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