Schneider Electric launches first smart factory in the US

Monday, 17 June, 2019

Schneider Electric launches first smart factory in the US

Schneider Electric has launched its first smart factory in the US to demonstrate in real time how its EcoStruxure suite of offerings can help increase operational efficiency and reduce costs for its customers. Embracing cutting-edge technology and the benefits of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to drive process optimisation, the facility has opened its doors to share IIoT knowledge and smart manufacturing technology best practices with customers and partners across industries.

The factory, in Lexington, Kentucky, has been in operation for more than 60 years and employs nearly 500 people. Now the factory is ‘smart’ and integrated, relying on digital tools such as augmented reality, which empowers operators to gain visibility into operations maintenance, driving a 20% reduction in mean time to repair on critical equipment, and process digitisation eliminating paperwork by 90%.

Schneider Electric has launched several smart factories around the globe in countries including Mexico, China, France, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. These are core in its Tailored Sustainable Connected 4.0 supply chain digital transformation where the company is leveraging digitalisation across its supply chain operations to deliver end-to-end integration and visibility to enhance its performance.

“We understand the value of IIoT and the positive business impact that innovation and digitisation can have on our operations — particularly in our global supply chain,” said Mourad Tamoud, Executive Vice President, Global Supply Chain, Schneider Electric. “As a living example of how our EcoStruxure solutions deliver benefits to our customers, we are gaining those same benefits in our operation and sharing that knowledge.”

Modernising a working facility that has been in operation for over half a century presented a challenge. Unlike a greenfield facility, modernising this legacy brownfield facility needed to be done over time, requiring the Lexington team to strategically balance the need to embrace new, connected technologies with the needs of the business and a set operating budget. This successful digitalisation evolution took a step-by-step approach, adding new EcoStruxure technologies individually where they would provide the greatest value and connecting them with existing equipment.

The Lexington factory is a heavily automated operation critical to the company’s supply chain, producing load centres and safety switches. The facility will now serve as both a working operation and a showcase for customers and partners to witness how digital transformation can help them make informed, data-driven decisions to bring about improved profitability, asset management performance, operational efficiency and a smarter productive workforce, while keeping the operations secure, agile and environmentally sustainable.

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