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Reaching net-zero carbon emissions and transforming to digital operations have become top priorities for many industrial businesses. We all want to save the planet while leveraging digital transformation to boost efficiency and minimize waste. But the question is, how do we make that happen? From my perspective, on the decarbonization side, integrated software solutions that enable energy management and automation will be the key to long-term sustainability. As for digital transformation, modern technology tools can now ensure we do everything possible to streamline operations, reduce emissions, and meet our net zero goals.
Across industrial workplaces, digital transformation profoundly impacts how people interact with machines. As digitized automation eliminates mundane, repetitive tasks, machine operators focus more on processing data to enable higher efficiency decisions. Proper training and education are required for workers undergoing the transformation to digital operations. Such changes help drive competitiveness, generate cost savings, and lower carbon emissions.
At Nedco Quebec, a division of Rexel and a Schneider Electric Alliance Master Industrial Automation Distributor (IAD), we have prioritized supporting digital transformation efforts. Our team supplies digital automation and electrical infrastructure products and solutions to local small to large system integrators, engineering firms, OEMs, and manufacturing end-users. And we help to raise awareness on how new technologies can facilitate their transformation to digital operations.
Nedco’s experts provide guidance on selecting the right digital technologies to fuel growth and compete in the global economy – helping our clients identify new technologies that can be converted into business value.
Critical areas for applying industrial digital transformation
We’ve found that most manufacturing end users lack the resources to design and integrate new digital technologies on their own. That’s why we partner with companies like Schneider Electric. They provide a comprehensive, integrated suite of energy management and automation solutions and make it their mission to help discrete and process manufacturing sites modernize operations.
When working with teams of systems integrators, engineering firms, and end users, we focus on three main areas of technology development:
1) Power and process convergence
New levels of openness in digital solutions enable the seamless unification of the once-separate power and process automation domains. Connected power and automation systems communicate with each other. They display decision-support information to plant managers and machine operators via comprehensive yet simple-to-interpret dashboards. Technology providers like Schneider Electric offer process and power automation platforms that converge the worlds of power, motor controls, drives, and automation systems into a single environment. This allows operators to make intelligent decisions that lower energy consumption while boosting plant productivity.
Converged power and process benefits accrue through project design and operation phases. Mechanical, electrical, and automation engineers no longer have to wait for systems to be installed before they test their code. They can now collaborate beforehand, working within virtual models. They test scenarios simulating the actual behavior of the converged process and power system before physical implementation.
As digital transformation takes hold across industries, many new opportunities for energy consumption reduction are emerging. In the Montreal area, we have been working with glass manufacturers. They are replacing fossil fuel-driven furnaces with low-emission electric furnaces to transform the core glass furnace melting process.
Our partnership with Schneider Electric helps us understand how much power can safely enter a facility. This allows us to determine how to apply power systems effectively to the right processes while minimizing energy losses. The solutions we jointly offer drive heat transfer and electrification efficiency, which are critical success factors for glass plants.
3) Energy management
As time passes, energy and electricity play a more critical role in manufacturing operations. Buildings, both commercial and industrial, will not just consume power, but they will also produce, store, and share it. The complexities of distributed generation, energy storage, EV charging, and connections to the smart grid will pose a challenge.
To facilitate this, industrial facilities must have smart power systems connected to energy management software. Due to the intermittent nature of renewables and the effects of power conversion, managing power quality will also pose a challenge. We offer solutions that address these issues and facilitate the transition to a clean energy future.
These digitization initiatives must also address cybersecurity concerns, as hackers can remotely manipulate networks, compromise data security, and disrupt operations, posing potential risks to employees and communities. Industry 4.0 technologies play a critical role in cost-effective monitoring and defense against advanced cyber threats.
The critical role of the ecosystem of partners
No company can do it alone when transitioning to the new digital landscape. We have established long-term partnerships with local systems integrators, engineering firms, end users, and technology suppliers like Schneider Electric. Together, we share the priorities of innovation, excellence, and efficiency.
We are proud to have been nominated as a Schneider Electric Alliance Master Industrial Automation Distributor. Attaining such a level of certification validates our industrial automation and electrical infrastructure solution knowledge, experience, and capabilities. It places us in a solid position to enable our partners and their customers to thrive in the future.
For more information
Nedco, a banner of Rexel, is a world leader in the distribution of products, services, and electrical solutions. Nedco is one of the most comprehensive Electrical and Datacom distributors across Canada, with 69 locations nationwide. Nedco offers a wide range of quality products in Lighting, Datacom, Wire & Cable, Power Management, and Electrical supplies.
Schneider Electric Alliance Partner Program
Through the Schneider Electric Alliance Partner Program, we empower companies to develop new capabilities to better support the digital transformation of customers and work in partnership to strengthen business resiliency.