Artificial Intelligence: Applications in continuos process industries

In the current scenario of industry 4.0, there are some important aspects such as systems integration, intelligent manufacturing and robotization that are commonly mentioned. Besides these, one of the strategies used by the industries is Artificial Intelligence (or simply AI).

AI is a new and ever evolving technology that makes it possible to teach machines to perform tasks as if they were human beings. In few words, intelligent machines start to copy human patterns of reasoning.

This learning comes from quickly combined data, which are processed and become a pattern that is interpreted and acquired by machines.

As you can see, the reality of people, and consequently of industries, has changed a lot because of this development of AI.

In this sense, you will see in this article the importance of this technological development for continuous process industries, as well as examples that show just how necessary it is. In addition, we will discuss the benefits and challenges that artificial intelligence provides for everyone involved.


In general, continuous process industries are based on efficient production processes with clear objectives: final products with higher quality, in a shorter period of time.

Considering this, adding artificial intelligence to this type of industry makes sense and becomes essential in the production system of the industries nowadays, which consists of always innovating to have process improvement and search for greater productivity.

Historically, industries have many repetitive and frequent processes. Consequently, these are the first activities that are replaced when introducing artificial intelligence in industries. Thinking about continuous processes, this technology becomes essential because it eliminates errors due to human fatigue and inattention, and introduces a new level of productivity.

However, introducing more and more artificial intelligence into industrial environments will not lead to the result everyone fears: the use of machines over people.

On the contrary, AI can be much better utilized if it is used in a hybrid way together with human creativity, because the efficiency as a whole grows, essentially human abilities can be better used, and the system as a whole develops.

Do you imagine your personal and professional day-to-day life without mobile apps, distances estimative, and social networking?

These are just a few examples of how AI is in our lives, resulting in more convenience and efficiency in various aspects of everyday lives, such as locomotion, communication and sharing of information.


As already mentioned, the industries have a high demand for the skills offered by AI, including the guarantee of higher quality in the final product.

In simple terms, using artificial intelligence in an industry leads to better operational results (costs, time optimization, preventive maintenance) and fewer unscheduled failures during the production process.


1. Data analysis: implementation of sensors in the productive process to determine patterns and subsequent optimization of routine activities;

2. Manufacturing: a system that assists in logistics and production demands;

3. People management: AI can help to define candidate standards for certain vacancies, in addition to other manual work routines;

4. Predictive maintenance: determination of patterns that help planning steps and definition of trends of the whole productive process;

5. Employee Qualification: implementing artificial intelligence in industries now requires more skilled manpower, so there is a need for constant training.


There are already good examples of companies that use artificial intelligence for their productive processes, and it is possible to identify good practices so that adaptation to this new reality happens in a positive way.

Being a company in the energy sector (sugar cane and ethanol), Raízen has a partnership with Space Time Analytics to plan the production capacity of sugarcane crops, for example, up to one year in advance. With this, there is an increase in productivity and a reduction in the operational risk of the business, since the technology employed allows them to improve processes based on consistent and constant data.

In the oil and gas industry, artificial intelligence has been helpful with information and data from sensors and satellites, especially where there is already historical data. From these data, there is the possibility of making predictions about the production of oil that will happen.

Artificial intelligence can also be used in agriculture, because with the use of smart devices, farmers can use natural resources more efficiently. In addition, with data it is possible to understand the best time for several steps: fertilization and harvest, for example.

Also, indicators such as temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind speed and atmospheric pressure are easily controlled and used strategically for agricultural production.

Suzano Papel e Celulose is another example of an industry that is working to adapt to industry 4.0 and to use AI. However, the process is long and the industry is already prepared for it, which is essential. The initial planning foresees a reality adapted to the technologies until 2021.


Artificial intelligence brings great benefits to the industries, especially those of continuous process that already have a culture of maximum use of resources and constant search for quality.

Among the advantages of using this technology, we highlight the following:

1. Predictive maintenance and planning: when performing corrective maintenance, there is a lot of time lost in transportation logistics, buying spare parts and performing the service. With AI, it is possible to prevent failures and not to lose all that time that was previously unavoidable by the inability to predict problems;

2. Automation and learning from data: making it possible to reduce the volume of tasks, requiring human interference to configure the systems;

3. Intelligent products: artificial intelligence is added to existing products, so that they have more quality and confidence towards the final consumers;

4. Accuracy and depth of data: the more artificial intelligence algorithms work, the more assertive they become;

5. Availability: The machines are available 24×7, which makes it easy for continuous processes that need constant monitoring and attention.

With all these benefits, the industries achieve better performance, time optimization and cost control.


But it is not only of benefits and good examples that live the artificial intelligence. As we have already said, AI depends (and much) on data. And for data to be made available to systems, it takes a lot of organization and implementation of other industry 4.0 pillars.

At this moment comes the integration of systems, which is essential for artificial intelligence to be used in the best possible way. On a day-to-day basis, any inaccurate or incorrect data can affect AI learning, so all caution is important at this stage.

Brazilian industries have a certain difficulty in this application, since it is necessary to make the process more digital, and then turn everything into data that are useful for the systems.

Another limitation of artificial intelligence we have today is that it does not look like the movie robots, which do everything at the same time, and even less like humans. The AI ​​that exists currently performs very well some specific functions. However, they do not have the capacity for 2 or more activities at the same time.


In addition to the systems integration already mentioned, it is necessary that the culture of the whole industry is transformed, so that the data are treated as valuable assets, because they are the ones that will guarantee the learning of the machines, as well as the progress of the whole productive process.

It is essential that all industry employees (from the lowest levels of the hierarchy until the highest levels) are trained in this data processing, with frequent meetings, feedback rounds and brainstorming, training and external training when necessary.

The transformation of a common industry into industry 4.0 with the implementation of artificial intelligence is a big step, but if taken with care and maintained on a daily basis, it becomes very beneficial in the short and medium terms.


As we have seen, the use of artificial intelligence as part of industry 4.0 is almost inevitable, and AI’s goal is to enable machines and systems to be integrated and constantly learning.

Therefore, it is not possible to think of artificial intelligence as something for the future. The future has already arrived, and we must begin today to prepare for the changes that will take place.

Organization and planning are essential, and each step must take place in a structured way so that the best results are collected afterwards. If you are already using AI in your industry and have experiences to share, we invite you to leave your comment here!

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