March / April 2020 • waterwastewaterasia.com 34 FOCUS Being smart with wastewater management key to responsible business By Kim Jensen, Group Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director, Grundfos Asia Pacific Region T oday, Industry 4.0 is more than just a flashy catchphrase. In fact, technology adoption in the manufacturing industry is non-negotiable. They come in the form of ‘smart factories’, which offer efficiencies across the production process, ranging from cloud-based analytics dashboards to identify problem areas, industrial 3D printing to eliminate waste, and predictive maintenance to reduce downtime. Technology in manufacturing has already demonstrated measurable gains for early adopters, including increased energy efficiency and a better return on capital expenditure. Manufacturers have seen between 10-20% increase in productivity when they invest in a digital assembly line, using sensors, interfaces and basic analytics. However, such intelligence is still slow to fully integrate into the wastewater management process — which is often viewed as a necessary output of production, instead of a priority area for companies to get it right. Water as a resource has always seemed readily available at a reasonable price, as compared to the likes of oil and gas, which might explain the lack of urgency to automate wastewater treatment and management at the same pace as other parts of the manufacturing supply chain. However, today, the confluence of population growth, climate change and industrial pollution is threatening the quantity and quality of water available not only for businesses but for human use. It is, therefore, the responsibility of major producers and manufacturers to place real focus on helping to resolve this water crisis. Water plays a key role in every industry. For instance, millions of gallons of water go into making everyday products — for example, 2,500 litres of water go into making a cotton t-shirt. Digital automation is hence crucial for companies to be part of the solution rather than the problem for four main reasons — tackling pollution amidst the continuing pressure of region’s water crisis, addressing energy consumption in processes, building a positive corporate reputation and saving operational costs. SURVIVING ASIA’S WATER CRISIS Asia’s water supply is currently under enormous pressure. Water demand is forecasted to increase by 55% as more cities in Asia urbanise and populations increase.