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One of the most important challenges faced by business owners today is the integration of sustainability into core functions. Enterprises are forced to leap forward from the initial adoption of green practices toward redesigning and redeveloping business practices in a more sustainable way. Manufacturing organizations large and small, for example, have to rethink their approaches for attaining zero waste in production, for generating low emissions, for boosting resource efficiency and for improving operational agility and resilience.
We at Schneider Electric work with our base of clients to support such initiatives in multiple ways. One example is the deployment of digital solutions like our asset and systems health services to minimize downtime and make visible energy efficiency opportunities for assets connected to the manufacturing facility’s core electrical distribution systems.
The four pillars of asset and systems health services
As manufacturers deploy strategies to enable more sustainable operations, efficiency, resilience and safety should emerge as important by-products of their sustainability efforts. In the realm of electrical systems asset and systems health services, for example, plant owners benefit in several important ways:
1. Efficiency optimization through instrumentation and analytics
Electrical systems maintenance operations are an important way to make optimization visible to operators. The first steps to digitization ̶ instrumentation and connectivity ̶ are key for gathering and consolidating live performance data. Schneider Electric assists its customers in this step by providing an equipment install base that is either connectable or already connected.
The connectivity also allows for more detailed monitoring and metering. In the case of monitoring, analysis tools review the gathered data and use that data to identify trends and abnormalities in behavior in connected assets and to generate alerts when situations that either threaten uptime or waste energy, are detected. This helps to identify issues before they manifest themselves into unplanned downtime. On the metering side, energy consumption data can be gathered quickly, and adjustments made to reduce consumption and CO2 footprint.
In addition, consulting experts help to guide the consolidation of energy consumption data across multiple facilities, sites, and operations, and provide benchmarks from which to operate and measure. Comparisons between similar sites and the measurement of the effectiveness of CO2 emissions reduction initiatives provide a united, multi-site view. Low-performing sites can be identified, and strategies put into place to optimize asset operational sustainability.
2. Enhanced resilience through digital enabled services
Many enterprises across the globe attribute unanticipated downtime to internal and external power-related issues. Unfortunately, these outages are often self-inflicted. If the potential causes of these outages could be detected earlier, surprises could be avoided and power resilience could be maintained. New cloud-based services offerings now allow remotely connected customers to monitor exactly what’s happening in their power network and, with the help of online experts, identify potential power anomalies that could lead to failures. As a result, issues are detected early enough to make the changes necessary to continue stable facility operations.
3. Improved safety of both workers and the environment
Electrical systems asset and systems health services also help to reduce the risk of overcurrent, electric shock, overvoltage and arc faults. Based on Schneider Electric’s experience across industrial segments we’re able to develop algorithms that analyze live electrical system data as it comes in and identify conditions that are triggering alarms and potential safety hazards and to then recommend critical actions. We make these algorithms available to our customers and pursue an iterative process to continue to enrich the capability of the new algorithm over time. As we continue growing our global experience running instrumented, smart installations, we are also listening to the expectations and the expertise of our customers and addressing additional needs as their businesses and processes evolve.
Another important benefit is the safe removal and disposal of SF6, a greenhouse gas found in some electrical switchgear with a global warming potential (GWP) 22,000 times higher than CO2. In addition to the safe disposal of this gas, Schneider Electric is further reducing the risk of global warming by now manufacturing pure air switchgear, which maintains the same levels of reliability and safety when switching power loads without the need for SF6.
4. Circularity minimizes waste and saves money
Circular economy is today’s alternative to the “take, make and dispose” industrial model. It redefines products and services, minimizes waste, and saves money.
Thanks to retrofit solutions, this “re” concept (reuse, refurbish, recycle, renew, etc.) is applicable to electrical distribution equipment. Switchboards and accessories can be reused and obsolete components can be refurbished, repaired, or recycled, to minimize waste. As such, the lifecycle of operational equipment is prolonged and less money is spent.
A new Schneider Electric white paper explains the circular economy model, shows how governments are promoting it, and explains and calculates the subsequent environmental and economic benefits achieved by retrofitting electrical distribution equipment. Read our new white paper to learn more.
Unique corporate commitment
Schneider Electric’s core business values and product offerings have long been aligned to the concept of reducing CO2 emissions. Schneider Electric earns 70% of its revenue selling sustainable solutions, while 73% of our investments are directed toward developing newer, even more sustainable solutions.
For more information about digitization services
To learn more about how asset and systems health services can help drive more efficient, safer, more resilient, and more sustainable operations, download the new Reuters and Schneider Electric white paper “Services in the Age of the IoT”.