Production and Delivery Challenges
Dow spent a great deal of time designing an effective manufacturing and supply chain capability to deliver the incredibly large amounts of heat transfer fluid needed for these solar plants, whether in Nevada or Spain. “Each order is massive in its own right,” said Steven Stanley, Ph.D., global business director for Dow Performance Fluids. “We have large manufacturing resources, logistical expertise and the transportation capabilities here at Dow. There are few companies globally that have the capability to do specialized jobs of this size.”
The manufacturing challenges for Dow to fulfill these orders centered on creating a supply design to enable the production of large batches of Dowtherm A. To further complicate the process, huge amounts of raw materials are needed to enable manufacture. Dow decided to use local suppliers of raw materials to shorten the manufacturing process. Use of local supply had never been done before.
All these tons of Dowtherm A need to be delivered over the road in a short, two-to-four-week period. This is a challenge given how much fluid is needed. In addition, Dowtherm A is heated and delivered at about 104°F (40°C). To achieve these results, Dow invented a completely new supply chain procedure.
To do this, Dow:
- Established supply capability for finished fluids.
- Optimized fluid heating within the supply chain to meet customer delivery requirements.
- Developed the capability to deliver heated Dowtherm A on a continuous basis during the delivery period.