Acceleration: The next steps in digitizing the industrial world

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Digital transformation brings sweeping benefits to manufacturing. But seeing that transformation through from start to finish can be tricky.

Certain firms get stuck in what we call “pilot purgatory”. According to LNS Research, 72% of industrial companies are still in the early defining stages, or pilot stage, of industrial transformation. Of this, 13% are stuck in the pilot phase with no real results to show. So, whereas awareness of the need to digitize may be promising, some companies experience frustration as they’re not seeing the value digitization can create for the business or customer.

At Schneider we are trying to remove some of the complexities and help drive the transformation forward in the industrial space – and underpinning everything we do with a focus on cybersecurity. During my Strategy Talk at Innovation Summit Barcelona, we shared our best practices to achieve this – design for easy scaling, perfect the IT/OT convergence, integrate industrial and engineering software, and embrace an open ecosystem of architectures and support.

Get started with cost-effective scaling

We’ve learned how effective this can be through our own experience. We recently transformed our 50-year-old Le Vaudreuil facility in France into a modern smart factory.

In many cases, the transformation consisted of adding sensors, edge boxes, augmented reality capabilities, and mobility technologies to improve the productivity of machinery which had never been connected to the IIoT before. These technologies allow better energy management, predictive maintenance, and augmented operators for training and repair.

As a result, the plant has seen a 5-15% improvement in OEE in just three to four weeks. We also saw a 30% reduction in cost of maintenance on critical equipment, and a 15% decrease in energy consumption through implementing our own power, automation, and software solutions.

Accelerate with domain expertise

Converging the IT and OT space needs domain expertise to drive it – someone who understands the process in the factory.

As well as providing digital solutions, Schneider Electric also provides expertise on both the automation and software sides. People who know the industry and our customers’ processes as well as the technology.

Integrate industrial and engineering software

The next practice is the end-to-end integration of industrial and engineering software, to help bring the digital plant to life. The digital thread, which connects the digital twin with real time data produces a holistic and up-to-date view of an asset which may as well be the complete plant across its lifecycle.

This integration helps connect people, assets, and operations to boost productivity and profitability. And using technology that is built for the future, this model ensures manufacturers get the most out of their industrial operation over its lifetime.

Leverage an ecosystem and open architecture

Solutions are getting more and more complex and no one has all the answers. That is why it’s critical leverage a large community of partners to help resolve problems. With Schneider Electric Exchange, we’re bringing partners together – including technology partners, software developers, and all sorts of customers – so they can share and exchange information, build strong partnerships, and find the best solutions to their challenges.

Digitize with confidence

Finally, we hear from our customers that connecting machinery and entire factories to the IIoT causes huge concerns around cybersecurity. That is why cybersecurity is built in at every level of EcoStruxure, our IoT-activated architecture and platform, so our customers can have the confidence to either start or greatly accelerate their digital transformations.

For more information, and to hear examples of our customers who have already achieved so much success in digitization, please watch my Strategy Talk from Innovation Summit Barcelona or visit us here on our Smart Factories page.


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