Schneider Electric launches its first US smart factory

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The smart factory at the plant in Lexington has been operating for more than 60 years and employs nearly 500 people. It  is already heavily automated, making Load Centers and Safety Switches. The facility will now serve as both a working operation and a showcase for IIoT.

Schneider has used its EcoStruxure technology to modernize and digitize the smart factory with tools such as augmented reality, which empowers operators to gain visibility into operations maintenance, driving a 20 per cent reduction in mean time to repair on critical equipment, and process digitization eliminating paper work by 90 per cent. 

Schneider has launched several Smart Factories around the globe in countries including Mexico, China, France, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. “We understand the value of IIoT and the positive business impact that innovation and digitization can have on our operations – particularly in our global supply chain. As a living example of how our EcoStruxure solutions deliver benefits to our customers, we are gaining those same benefits in our operation and sharing that knowledge,” said Mourad Tamoud, Executive Vice President, Global Supply Chain, Schneider Electric. “With our latest Smart Factory showcase, we are able to demonstrate this value in real-time, show the solutions at work and share the tangible benefits that we ourselves are seeing from our own IIoT investment as we accelerate our Tailored Sustainable Connected 4.0 digital transformation.”

Modernizing a working facility that has been in operation for over half a century presented a challenge. Unlike a greenfield facility, modernizing this legacy brownfield facility needed to be done over time, requiring the Lexington team to strategically balance the need to embrace new, connected technologies with the needs of the business and a set operating budget. The digital evolution took a step-by-step approach, adding new EcoStruxure technologies individually where they would provide the greatest value and connecting them with existing equipment.

As part of the Smart Factory program, Schneider Electric outlines that brownfield implementation for customers who may be facing the same challenges with their existing production facilities. The team is able to offer strategies and talk through the challenges they faced to help customers exploring IIoT connected technologies overcome those same hurdles toward their modernization goals. By sharing their experience in leveraging EcoStruxure solutions, visiting customers can better understand the value of the brownfield modernization and the resulting operational efficiencies. 

The EcoStruxure Resource Advisor and Power Monitoring Expert provides 3.5 per cent energy savings in the factory through sophisticated reporting capabilities and increased transparency, while the ID OsiSense technology eiminated 128 daily fork truck miles and eliminated $500,000 in Work in Progress (WIP) inventory with a 33% first year ROI.

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