The European Commission’s smart manufacturing vision “Manufuture for 2020” and the US FDA PAT/QbD-platform (Process Analytical Technology, Quality by Design) are both helping to increase interest in the concept of intelligent manufacturing. It is a transdisciplinary technology where process chemists, process engineers, chemometricians and many other technologists must work together. In short, the holistic process analysis component will be the bedrock that supports the production of smart materials in smart factories! Indeed, process analytics by spectroscopy can improve understanding of how the process operates, and can be used to determine potential targets for process improvement by removing waste and increasing efficiency (1).
I have no doubt that optical spectroscopy – together with chemometrics – will play an important role in transforming industry from reactive to proactive production. Because spectroscopic techniques can detect morphological (from scatter) and chemical features (from absorption) simultaneously, the complete fundamental functionality of a compound is inherent in every spectrum.