Justifying IT Infrastructure Spend with Edge Computing to Improve Manufacturing Sustainability

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Ahead-of-the-curve manufacturing facilities have recognized that sustainability is increasingly important for driving growth and global competitiveness, leading to benefits ranging from reducing costs and waste to ensuring the long-term viability of the business.

It may not be obvious that IT departments can contribute significantly to an organization’s sustainability goals, but IT managers are certainly catching on. These sustainability-savvy IT managers recognize the importance of investing in IT equipment for edge computing infrastructure that prioritizes manufacturing sustainability and are helping their senior-level leaders see the opportunity, too.

As a leader in IT sustainability, we’ve discovered several ways IT can support sustainability specifically in a manufacturing environment. Part of making an impact is making the most sustainable choices possible when upgrading or choosing new equipment. It may be surprising how much money those sustainable choices can save a company, especially in the long run. So when it’s time to discuss budget, this blog can help decision-makers understand how sustainability can be positive for their bottom line. Don’t forget to check out our new eBook How IT Can Support More Sustainable Manufacturing Operations for more in-depth information.

What Is Sustainability in the Manufacturing Industry?

Sustainability often looks a little different from industry to industry. In manufacturing, sustainability involves production that prioritizes economically-sound processes to reduce unwanted environmental impacts, conserving energy and natural resources. It can help enhance safety, as well. Manufacturing sustainability is no longer just for the small niche of manufacturers who position themselves as “green” and now includes many top businesses who are seeing significant results from their efforts.

Brands That Prioritize Sustainability Offer Major Savings

Often, brands that are focused on sustainability are driven by business value. [1] Align with vendors that are committed to supporting maximum uptime and efficiency to reduce waste for manufacturers, constantly improving products to create the right foundation. For example, Schneider Electric’s Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) are housed in rack structures designed for challenging environments like manufacturing facilities. Power distribution and cooling are built into the ideal position, and physical security, monitoring software, and maintenance services are all available to create the most stable production environment possible for manufacturing sustainability, making it easy for clients to make the switch from wasteful lead-acid batteries to longer-lasting lithium-ion.

Look for brands that have taken the next step to examine the sustainability of their own supply chain. Seek vendors that source suppliers that create products with the lowest possible carbon footprint. Low-carbon parts enable low-carbon products using as little material as possible.

In addition, while edge computing can help sift through the huge amounts of data generated by Industry 4.0, it’s possible that more waste will be generated as more devices proliferate. Vendors that focus on standardization across sites so that waste is kept to a minimum can take advantage of all opportunities to promote manufacturing sustainability.

edge computing for manufacturing site

Product Environmental Profiles

Every product Schneider Electric manufactures comes with a Product Environmental Profile (PEP). This document provides clients with information critical to establishing a manufacturing sustainability baseline and measuring progress toward those goals, including the following:

  • Constituent materials
  • Substance assessment
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution
  • Use
  • End of Life
  • Environmental Impacts

This information is especially helpful for those retrofitting older equipment who want to document the positive sustainability impact of new products. Here’s an example of a PEP.

Energy Star 2.0

Energy Star 2.0 includes more stringent requirements for External Power Supplies (EPSs) and Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) than Version 1.1. By manufacturing UPSs that meet these requirements, Schneider Electric is helping to lead the way in IT manufacturing sustainability, offering clients the most efficient EPSs available. According to Energy Star, the collective savings of using a Version 2.0 qualified product line can be enormous, citing cell phone companies that have saved their customers millions of dollars in energy costs.

Get A Personalized Roadmap to Improving Manufacturing Sustainability

Learn more about manufacturing sustainability and discover how you can get a personalized roadmap to improving sustainability in your facility by reading our eBook, How IT Can Support More Sustainable Manufacturing Operations. Now that you know more about how we can help your manufacturing IT department contribute to sustainability goals, contact Schneider Electric here or call us at 1 (877) 800-4272 to arrange a personalized consultation.

[1] 451 Research, a part of S&P Market Intelligence, special report commissioned by Schneider Electric, Sustainability at the Edge, August, 2022

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