This article was originally published in the Spring 2019 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.
Manufacturers worldwide are digitising their operations in order to improve design, engineering, operation and maintenance with the ultimate goal of increasing productivity. Schneider Electric is helping customers begin their digital journeys by providing them with the relevant services to improve their operations.
Through our EcoStruxure suite of solutions, Schneider is giving manufacturers the capabilities to collect data from the plant, machine and the production process. As such, customers can keep track of the product’s journey in the supply chain.
EcoStruxure is our open, interoperable system architecture and platform. It improves machine safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability and connectivity. EcoStruxure leverages advancements in the internet of things (IoT), mobility, sensing, cloud, analytics and cybersecurity to deliver innovation at every level.
Many manufacturers fear that embracing digitisation will translate into huge expenses to replace their operating systems. Schneider is proving that this is not the case as EcoStruxure builds on current systems to provide better automation, visualisation and control of data.
Another factor hindering manufacturers from embracing digitisation is the influx of data they will receive and the lack of knowledge of how to use it. Schneider’s solutions enable manufacturers to make their data smart by interpreting it in a useful way. For example, its augmented reality software, EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor, combines real-life objects with virtual objects to increase operational efficiency, reduce costs and improve proactive maintenance. Through a tablet interface, the tool can superimpose local contextual information and virtual objects onto machines to give operators immediate access to relevant information.
Using EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor, technicians can reduce machine downtime and speed up maintenance by virtually opening electrical cabinet doors to troubleshoot issues, without shutting down operations. The solution also reduces the chance of human error as it locates the relevant equipment and guides operators through the maintenance procedures.
Schneider is also helping original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to track, monitor and fix their machines remotely with its EcoStruxure Machine Advisor. The connected platform enables OEMs to see the virtual location of their machines, with real-time access to documentation and history. The Microsoft Azure-based software allows manufacturers to monitor their machines by collecting and visualising data in real time. With remote access to the engineering software in the cloud, technicians will always have the right version on hand through convenient software-as-a-service. Overall, the Machine Advisor provide Schneider’s clients with a better service to improve their customers’ agility and market responsiveness. This will enable OEMs to generate new service revenue streams and create new business models.
Ali Haj Fraj is the senior vice president of Machine Solutions at Schneider Electric
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