Revolutionizing the role of the engineer with smart technology

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When working with Industrial Automation experts on projects, the last thing a business wants is time and money being wasted at the quotation and implementation stages.

Engineers would rather use their valuable time and expertise innovating to achieve the best possible result for a customer than lose it to frustrating de-bugging and re-working processes that require extensive manual validation and time spent at the customer’s site.

Enter smart design & engineering – using the latest digital technology for cost savings and increased efficiency

A great example of a tool that utilizes the innovation of smart design and engineering is our very own EcoStruxure Architecture Builder.

It allows for a full architecture to be virtually built and simulated prior to a project being quoted, meaning proposals are more accurate and there’s greater confidence that things will work as intended in the real world.

Our latest version 7.0, launching soon, also allows the project team to collaborate from any browser – anywhere, via cloud-based access, with changes updating in real-time. The engineering work done at the proposal stage can also be imported into automation design tools once post-sale execution starts, saving even more time and cost.

Once project implementation begins, the magic of smart design and engineering really comes into play

We see the benefits falling into three areas:

1. Efficient Engineering

Standardization pays real dividends in engineering efficiency, by reducing the need for (and cost of) infrastructure to support customized solutions.

This, in turn:

  • reduces the number of components, simplifying designs
  • reduces the number of spare parts required at the customer site
  • allows elimination, simplification & automation of design processes
  • reduces the amount of automatically generated documentation
  • helps develop trust with suppliers and contractors

The use of standard solutions and software for customization can save up to 30-40% in engineering, commissioning, and hardware costs[1].

2. Enhanced Commissioning

Digital tools and techniques are used to integrate, commission, and get an operation up and running as quickly as possible to deliver quality, revenue-generating output.

Virtual commissioning:

  • enables control software engineering to take place before or in parallel with system design
  • allows designs to be tested and proven virtually before they are built and installed
  • when benchmarked against traditional design approaches, yields significant project efficiencies

Virtual Commissioning of control software results in more than 100% improvement in control software quality[2] and up to 75% reduction in commissioning time[3]versus traditional approaches.

3. Lifecycle Management

Imagine having future-proof designs that operate competitively and effectively for the required life of the plant. With smart engineering and design, this can be a reality!

Smart design & engineering techniques:

  • extend the use of digital design techniques (e.g., Digital Twin) into the operating phase
  • link digital product design to process design to improve manufacturability & connect product changes to process changes   
  • allow real-time digital collaboration with external suppliers during design & production ramp-up to align the design process and address issues quickly

According to research by IHS Markit, customers who employ digital techniques for product design, simulation, and partner collaboration can expect up to 36% reduction in design time.[4]

EcoStruxure Automation Expert boosts Brilliant Planet’s algae-based carbon capture process

Recently, Schneider Electric helped Brilliant Planet, a pioneer in low-cost, algae-based carbon capture, to improve efficiency across the full operational lifecycle by taking advantage of smart design and engineering benefits.

To facilitate the carbon capture process efficiently, a flexible, robust control system is essential

Brilliant Planet selected Platinum Electrical Engineering, a Schneider Electric Alliance Certified Partner, to implement EcoStruxure Automation Expert – the world’s first software-centric universal automation system – alongside AVEVA System Platform and AVEVA Insight, which together provide comprehensive visibility and control of operations.

The EcoStruxure Automation Expert solution is based on the IEC 61499 standard for interoperability, allowing easy integration with third-party equipment and seamless scalability across Brilliant Planet’s global sites.

“To scale at the speed required, we need to be able to modularize our application,” said Adam Taylor, CEO at Brilliant Planet. “The Schneider Electric and Platinum Electrical Engineering solution enables us to copy, paste, and scale at each site. This means we can utilize resources more efficiently while seeing drastic improvements in control.”

With EcoStruxure Automation Experts software-centric smart design and engineering capabilities, processes or techniques can be piloted in one location and then rolled out quickly to others.

“By using EcoStruxure Automation Expert, we can significantly reduce the time spent on integrating and testing control software for each of Brilliant Planet’s sites,” said Stephen Maltby, Managing Director at Platinum Electrical Engineering. “It gives us the tools to be considerably more creative in the way we approach projects, allowing us to work with both green and brown-field projects, in a much more agile manner. The standardized application makes it straightforward to troubleshoot and adapt processes to customer-specific needs and deliver a complete bespoke, yet scalable system.” 

At Schneider Electric we are constantly working to reduce our carbon footprint and help our customers do the same

Companies like Brilliant Planet play a crucial role in the effort to meet the global energy and climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement. We are exceptionally proud of offers like EcoStruxure Automation Expert, that help our customers make it even easier to do so, all while increasing overall efficiency, agility, and cost-effectiveness, and revolutionizing the role of the engineer at the same time.

High-value, smart automation engineering, indeed!

Ready to revolutionize the role of the Industrial Automation Engineer?

Read the Brilliant Planet press release

Dive into our interactive EcoStruxure Automation Expert demo

Find out more about EcoStruxure Architecture Builder v7.0



[2] In terms of fulfilled requirements or its ability to meet functional specifications.

[3] Reinhart, G. & Wünsch, G. Production Engineering – Research and Development, 1(4), 371–379. (p5)

[4] IHS Markit analysis of 300 IIoT case studies from industrial companies

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