About road construction, sustainability analytics and smelting

Since the whole idea of this blog was to start a newsletter at some point (hence the name innoletter), I want to get into the habit of reading different business newsletters and publications in the constant hope to find interesting insights about innovations and new technologies. So ride along and enjoy the first post about which articles I enjoyed most during the last week or so.

Technology-driven revolution of the road construction industry

The McKinsey article identifies four technologies which are said to revolutionize the functionality, construction and maintenance of roads.

  1. Possibility of significantly narrower roads due to the use of autonomous vehicles and thereby increased driving precision
  2. Automation of construction processes like lidar-assisted initial surveying or machine-controlled excavation would drastically increase the productivity of today’s manual labor, thereby increasing margins
  3. Road digitalization includes the design and construction of roads to be able to communicate with vehicles (e.g. via sensors), potentially leading to decreased safety margins and higher lane capacities
  4. Innovative materials in the asphalt mix make roads up to 60 percent more durable, thereby equipping roads for future increased usage

Despite significant benefits of these technologies, stakeholders in the industry need to prepare for upcoming changes. Recommendations on how cooperation between construction companies and governments could be designed as well as more details on the technologies can be found in the original article.

McKinsey announces the acquistion of two sustainability-related businesses

On 4th of March 2021 McKinsey announced the addition of Vivid Economics and Planetrics to their company portfolio. Whereas Vivid Economics offers a broad range of sustainability and economics capabilities, Planetrics is focused on climate analytics. I personally found those news really interesting since it validates the increasing importance of sustainability-related technologies. Seeing that a world’s leading consultancy acquires these companies to expand their client offering definitely indicates a change in the way strategy consultancies might work and advice in the future as the demand for holistic company strategies and financing-relevant sustainability criteria grows. Here the full announcement.

AI-assisted end-to-end optimization of smelters

I really love innovations which are hidden from the daily news because the industries or specific technologies are not mainstream enough. Thus, I enjoyed this article on AI potentials in smelting value chains. Basically, it identifies three main areas of opportunities.

  1. Process optimization in the raw-materials preparation phase through analysis of aggregated feed and assay data, more efficient feed composition and recycling as well as intelligent control mechanisms to reduce energy usage
  2. Increased efficiency in the actual extractive metallurgy (smelting) process through a reduction of information loss across shifts, leveraging real-time optimization of operations and lowering process variability by combining analytics-based methodologies and pyrometallurgical expertise
  3. Implementation of advanced technologies in the phase of metal refining helps to cope with inconsistencies in metal quality, inefficient use of energy and equipment downtime by leveraging analytics of failure modes and effects on machinery as well as predictive models

I can recommend to see the original article for many more details and case examples from North America and China.

I hope that this little summary brought some value to you and I am looking forward to diving into more detailed innovation topics soon. I hope to see you in two weeks. Bye!

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