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Austmine 2019, the biennial conference of Austmine, the leading industry body for the Australian Mining, Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector, was held last week (May 21-23, 2019) in my hometown of Brisbane. I spoke on Augmented Reality (AR) in the sessions on Mineral Processing Plants, and it was a topic of great interest if you can judge by the hits on our LinkedIn posts, the people talking to me after the presentation, and the wide range of AR helmet and AR glasses vendors reaching out to me!

Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality

To begin with, let’s start by looking at how AR is different from VR and MR:

  • Augmented Reality (AR) overlays virtual objects onto a real-world environment.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) immerses users in a fully artificial digital environment.
  • Mixed Reality (MR) doesn’t just overlay virtual objects onto a virtual reality but anchors them to the real-world.

Maybe the best way to understand what AR is is to first take just a moment to watch this video of it in action at one of our customers, Tenaris.

All three technologies (AR, VR, MR) have benefits in intuitive visualisation and information retrieval and help to significantly reduce errors and mistakesSkill-based errors involve not doing what you’re meant to do and forgetting to do something or losing your place midway through a task. Mistakes are decision-making failures. The two main types of mistake are rule-based mistakes and knowledge-based mistakes. They arise when we do the wrong thing, believing it to be right.

Usage Scenarios

We see three main application scenarios for AR today.

  1. In front of a machine
    Immediate access, in real time, to relevant information in the field for operations and maintenance: machine history, variables of process, documents (products, installations, instructions, electrical diagrams, etc).
  2. In front of an electrical cabinet
    Fast diagnosis without lockout or electrical qualifications, through the virtual doors opening the cabinet: device status, variable values (current, power, speed, etc), documents (products, installations, manuals, electric diagrams, etc.).
  3. For an overall view
    Safe and rapid detection of abnormalities (alarm display, significant variables of process) and access to KPIs (display parameters and key information, production progress, performance indicators…).

More usage scenarios will emerge as the technology is deployed. In fact a lot was said at Austmine 2019 about facilitating shift handover, and I think there might be use cases in that scenario that can be explored. Let me know if you have an idea!

Helmet, Glasses or Tablet?

Schneider Electric’s view is that AR Helmets and Glasses are not yet ready for deployment as field devices, supported by an interesting article by Wheeler where he listed “Five Major Problems to Solve for Mass Adoption of AR Headsets

  • Problem Number One: The form factor is inherently uncomfortable and unwieldy.
  • Problem Number Two: The price point is too high for mass adoption.
  • Problem Number Three: Smartphones and tablets are already the ultimate form factor, with few exceptions.
  • Problem Number Four: AR Glasses do not solve any major problem or fulfil any major need with a demonstrable ROI.
  • Problem Number Five: People are now more distrustful of new AR tech and are weary of hype full of overpromising features.

We have seen all of these issues in mining companies at various times, and while Headsets and Glasses do remain highly suitable when used for training, engineering visualisation or similar controlled environments (not in the field), our solution today relies upon the use of a tablet (or smartphone) as the AR device which best overcomes the above issues.

How to Start

At Austmine 2019, Ann Burns from Accenture gave a provocative view that the time for doing small scale pilots and proof of concept projects was over and instead suggested looking at larger scale rollouts for what Accenture calls “DARQ Technologies” (Distributed ledger, Artificial intelligence, extended Reality and Quantum computing).

My Schneider Electric colleague, Jack Krutak, has also written about the pitfalls of POCs in an interesting article you might want to read entitled, “How to Avoid the POC Graveyard.”

But if you want to go ahead and actually play with the technology, go to your iOS or Android app store and look for EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor. Download it and you’ll be able to play around with it a little to see if it’s something you think you’d find useful in your own operation.  Or, if you are interested in discovering Schneider’s AR solution in more detail, please let me know!

The post The Reality of Augmented Reality: a view from Austmine 2019 appeared first on Schneider Electric Blog.

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Two major trends are accelerating the pace of modern industrial transformation: increased pressure to improve productivity and boost ROI and the relatively low cost of IT-driven data acquisition and analysis. A recent LNS Research report survey bears this out by indicating that 45% of industrial organizations surveyed are already engaged in industrial transformation, and another 23% of companies expect to launch programs within one year. The research goes on to identify the top 28% most active organizations as “Industrial Transformation Leaders” and indicates that these leaders are 53% more likely to focus on smart connected products as a channel for growing revenue and market share.

LNS Research identifies two “life lessons” gathered from the survey data. First, the primary focus of an Industrial Transformation program must be the pursuit of business benefit, not testing technology for insight. Second, broad focus and scope are critical for success.

Digitization business benefits multiply across industries
Leading industrial organizations are now pursuing digital transformation (which has come to mean the same as industrial transformation, since the core initiative surrounds the digitization of industrial processes) for five primary reasons:

Correction of operational inefficiencies – Unlike the traditional rip and replace model where a newer, faster, cheaper industrial automation system supersedes an older one, the focus is now on how to extract higher efficiency values from existing installed equipment. The emphasis is on tackling short-term operational inefficiencies before completely rebuilding the process. Adding an IIoT-based system boosted by analytics and machine learning quickly increases the yield of each asset and improves the overall equipment efficiency. These basic operational efficiency initiatives produce impressive short-term returns. Consider the example of Casa Granado, a leading Brazilian cosmetics producer. They implemented an open EcoStruxure architecture that served as a base for integrating batch management and their manufacturing execution system (MES), along with some operations and maintenance tools. This quickly resulted in a 15% improvement in production yield.

Creation of competitive advantage – New software tools that acquire and analyze connected device-generated data improve operational efficiency in areas such as asset performance, energy management, and smart machine performance. These improvements then open the door to new revenue streams and business opportunities, thereby enhancing competitive advantage. For example, China’s Jiangsu Jinwang Packaging Machinery Sci-Tech Co., Ltd, an agrochemical packaging smart machine builder, invested in an EcoStruxure-ready connected machine solution, edge control, and analytics to provide smart production and maintenance services for its customers. As a result, their machine service efficiency improved by 35% while maintenance costs were reduced by over 30%.

Elimination of inefficient processes – Once obvious operational inefficiencies are addressed, digital transformation also can help tackle the more complex process inefficiencies. This is an area where collaboration with external experts provides valuable guidance. An example in the mining industry is that of a data consultant that helped support a copper mining company through the use of remote tools that replicate business processes and plant behaviors. Expert consultants monitor operations remotely and in real-time, filling in knowledge gaps where expertise is lacking so that process efficiencies can improve. In this remote “cockpit” environment (a command center where a consolidated view of key dashboards is monitored), the consultants utilize digitization tools to help to define a more efficient process. Stakeholders project economic benefits totaling $12 million US per year without committing any additional capital expenditure.

Establishment of a stable IT/OT architecture base – The integration of industrial and engineering software allows the emergence of a closed loop digital view that enables increased efficiencies throughout an entire product lifecycle. Working with Schneider Electric partner AVEVA, ADNOC, the national oil company of Abu Dhabi, invested in its Panorama Initiative to connect 100,000 data points from across 16 of its operating companies into a single view. This level of interconnectivity provides an automated method of managing the business by analyzing both current and near-future operational requirements and comparing plans to actual performance.

Creation of new customer value and new business models – Connected products across industries not only bring new value to end customers (like faster deliveries and higher quality products at less cost), but also prove valuable at introducing new business models. Many customers, for example, are not interested in buying machines. They are interested in the output the machines produce. Therefore, new business models, like performance contracting, are being introduced where customers only pay for output (like the number of cubic meters of compressed air utilized over a fixed period of time) or the amount of energy they save as the result of a high efficiency variable speed drive. Digitization tools can now precisely measure these outputs so that both buyers and sellers can trust the contracting arrangement.

Across boardrooms, executives are now involving technology vendors in business discussions. Once the business problem is understood, technologies are introduced to extract data, treat data, and translate data into dashboards and advisors. The current wave of industrial transformation is about connecting and enhancing existing systems to achieve a business benefit. For this reason, connectivity platforms such as EcoStruxure provide an open framework for enabling new ways to solve business-driven challenges across industries.

Schneider Electric has sponsored a series of research by LNS Research aimed at helping you understand and implement digital transformation as a foundation for the ongoing success of your industrial enterprise. You can download a detailed eBook, attend an on-demand webinar, and read a short article here.

Download LNS Webinar “Digital Readiness for Industrial Transformation”

Download LNS eBook “Understanding Industrial Automation Transformation Today”

The post Five Reasons Why Manufacturing Executives are Embracing Industrial Transformation Programs appeared first on Schneider Electric Blog.

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Asset Reliability is my number 1 tip for getting started with Asset Performance Management.

Asset Performance is a hot topic in industrial automation right now. With so much capital invested in plant assets it’s understandable you want to maximize return. And thanks to the IIoT solutions now available there is so much more you can do to manage this.

For example, a fully integrated and comprehensive Enterprise Asset Performance Management solution can boost return on your capital, improving OpEx management and profitability. If you do invest in this type of technology, my top tip is to make Asset Reliability your first priority.

Let me illustrate what I mean by this with some scenarios from everyday life:

  • Your home entertainment system is set up with everything you could ever want – surround sound, a big screen smart TV, and premium streaming service, all connected and synced. But on movie night it always takes half an hour to get it to play.
  • It’s early morning. You rush out of the already late for that important meeting, only to find the car won’t start (again). Someone left the lights on last night…

Is there anything more frustrating?

In a plant, Asset Reliability is about helping to ensure this doesn’t happen. It may sound obvious, but like in our day-to-day lives, what’s the point in investing in all the latest gadgets if they never work you need them?

Similarly, in industry your plant assets are expected to be available for production whenever you need them.

How Asset Reliability can affect your financial performance

Asset Reliability also has a direct impact on your financial performance. Unplanned downtime and maintenance are big cost factors in asset reliability. On average, up to 5% of production is lost every year to unscheduled downtime. At $10K per hour for a plant running 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year downtime costs $1 million annually, and that’s a conservative estimate. Most shareholders will not be happy with that figure – especially considering the amount of capital invested in assets. With the right insights generated from your system, you can prevent up to 80% of unplanned down time (Woll, et. al., 2002).

How to ensure your assets are always available when you need them

EcoStruxure Plant helps you turn the operating data which is probably already in your system anyway into business insights to help you:

  • Reduce unplanned downtime
  • Reduce OpEx
  • Control maintenance costs
  • Increase production output

Ultimately these gains translate into higher profits both in the short term and the long term. Because.

Give your maintenance staff the insights they need to reduce downtime

Advanced maintenance strategies can play a big role in Asset Reliability by minimizing downtime and overall maintenance costs. When unavoidable failures do occur, enhanced diagnostics can help plant staff identify the root cause and implement the right action as soon as possible. A clear, easy to understand display and alarm system can allow maintenance staff to understand what’s wrong and fix it as soon as possible, even with complex modern production assets and systems.

Giving the right staff the right insights, when and where they need them, makes good financial sense.

So if Asset Performance is an area you’re concerned about, we recommend focusing on Asset Reliability first. Because without this, it’s impossible to achieve the levels of profitability your shareholders demand.

Besides, no one wants to be the one who forgot to turn off the lights and cost the company thousands in production loss…

My next post will be on Maintenance Excellence and how to ensure every dollar spent maintaining your assets makes the biggest difference.

Learn more about EcoStruxure Plant Asset Performance Management solutions

The post Asset Reliability is the first step in your Asset Performance Management (APM) Strategy appeared first on Schneider Electric Blog.

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Predictive Analytics is the classic Internet of Things (IoT) application. In the simplest sense, you connect sensors (temperature, vibration etc.) to assets (equipment, buildings, trucks), send the data to the cloud, and then apply predictive analytics to identify and prevent potential failures.

With today’s technology, it is relatively easy to accomplish. You can do so by building your own using a library of components or you can go to a 3rd party vendor like SAP or AVEVA. You even have the choice of whether to run these toolsets on a private cloud, public cloud or hybrid cloud.

Another option is to use digital services from the equipment provider. It goes without saying that although you know your process better than anyone else, the equipment provider knows their equipment better than anyone else as well. We see the debate on which path to choose playing out right now in the mining and metals worlds, particularly around mobile fleets from vendors like Caterpillar. There is no debate about whether predictive analytics is needed, only whether you use the CAT service, do your own development, or go to a 3rd party.

Lately we have seen some pretty compelling evidence that in the “electrical domain” there is significant benefit to going with the equipment provider.  In one case study the user managed to avoid spending 1 million euros due to the potential repairs and replacements of their transformers that were avoided.  And just last week I heard another very compelling story.

It involved one of our customers that had gone down the “private cloud” option.  They were collecting a lot of data but they didn’t know how to analyse it. Schneider Electric came in and set up a cloud-to-cloud connection along with our EcoStruxure Asset Advisor digital service, and almost immediately they discovered several asset health warnings they were unaware of previously.  Not only that, but they were given actionable recommendations along with a complete analysis that gave them greater insight into how to make the necessary changes and modifications.  Bottom line: knowing there is an issue is important, but so is knowing what to do about it.

All these examples are strong arguments for going to the specialist for a solution, even though it’s not the only choice.  You can still run “build your own” or 3rd party solutions where appropriate, but don’t forget the added value you can get from the original equipment supplier.  It just might be the right prediction for your operation.

The post Predictive Analytics in Mining and Metals: Whose Prediction is the Right One? appeared first on Schneider Electric Blog.

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If you are a close watcher of the US steel industry, you can appreciate what a unique time we are in today.  You might call it a simultaneous High and Low Tide.

It wasn’t long ago when we were going through a painful period of contraction thanks to difficult operating conditions, competition with cheap imports, soft demand, and a tightening regulatory environment.  Plant closures and extended shutdowns were not uncommon.

As a result, there was a significant impact on the workforce.  Workers left the industry in large numbers whether by their own choice or not.  Those who were lucky enough found new jobs in other industries while the unlucky ones simply found themselves without any options and at the mercy of their employers.

More recently, the situation has changed and the industry is making a significant rebound.

China cut its steel capacity which has helped boost global prices. The US imposed section 232 tariffs, making it harder for imports to flow into the country and lifting US steel prices even further.  Manufacturers became profitable again – the US steel price index is running nearly 60% higher than China’s price index and 38% higher than the European index. Add to that the low cost of energy in the US, availability of high-grade coke, a large market of steel scrap and efforts at deregulation and it all adds up to making the US an attractive destination for steel investments once again.

The evidence can also be seen in the fact that steel plant construction is once again on the rise, and previously shuttered plants are now being restarted and revamped to expand capacity, accounting for an estimated $12.9 billion in new investment and the creation of 6700 jobs [AISTech.org March 2019].

It’s all great news for an industry that has seen its share of hard times, but it raises one important question.  How are these plants going to operate given that the skilled workforce that used to run everything has moved on to other jobs, other industries, or into retirement?

I recently spoke to a plant manager in the Midwest who said, “We have a lot of jobs available, but we can’t find the people to fill them.”  And he is not alone. With unemployment in the US running at 3.8%, competition for scarce human resources is high.  Then consider that the average age of US steelworkers is over 50 years old and even more vacancies will result as they retire.  And the next generation of potential workers doesn’t exactly see the steel industry as an attractive opportunity.

So what kind of ship could navigate the US steel industry through both high and low tides at the same time?  Let’s just call it the “S.S. Digitalization.”  It offers enormous potential, but the industry needs to really embrace Industry 4.0 and the digital transformation to enjoy all the benefits it can deliver.

As an example, robotics has made good inroads.  The use of industrial robots in steel plants is growing at 55% per year, where they are being used to replace manual labor in repetitive or hazardous tasks. Another example is the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to perform sophisticated process analysis to improve plant performance.

And now there are fully autonomous trolley cranes, not just automated cranes mind you, that can not only help solve the workforce gap, but do so at higher levels of productivity and safety.  From stock storage management to fully automated crane operations, this technology will reduce the need for crane operators and allow plant management to reallocate those valuable human resources to other areas where their skills and experience can be used to fill roles steel producers have had difficulty in filling.

To see a webinar we recently hosted on autonomous cranes, please go here.

To learn more about digitalization, Industry 4.0, and innovative solutions like autonomous cranes, please come visit Schneider in person at AISTech 2019 in Pittsburgh, May 6 – 9, Booth #2153.

https://www.aist.org/conference-expositions/aistech/

The post Navigating the changing tides of the US steel industry appeared first on Schneider Electric Blog.

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How to make your largest industrial investment work harder for you

Why does Asset Performance matter?

If you’re wondering where to start with your digitalization journey, Asset Performance is a key area to address. Why? Because there is so much capital invested in production assets – typically, 70% of new plant capital.

Naturally, you want to see maximum return on that investment – or maximum Return On Capital Employed (ROCE). Your shareholders do too. By the same token, if something happens to these assets it can be a big blow for your financial performance – for example, unplanned down time costs companies up to 5% in production loss each year (ARC Survey of 300 Customers in Discrete, Hybrid and Process Industries).

Clearly a lot depends on the performance of these assets. Let’s take a closer look at how you can use digital technology to improve ROCE.

Improving Asset Performance

So how do you make all that money invested in assets work harder for you, every day?

What’s exciting about the business enabler of Asset Performance is not only that you can reduce the risk involved, but also turn it around to achieve even higher returns. Even better news is that these days there are complete solutions on the market designed specifically to help you do this.

Our customers across mining, water and waste water, and food and beverage, have improved asset performance and reached new levels of efficiency and profitability thanks to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

The right industrial architecture allows you to link all your assets together at the plant floor and also link them to the cloud if needed. Analytics can look for patterns in data and generate insights.  With the right insights generated from your system, you can:

  • Prevent up to 80% of unplanned down time (Woll, et. al., 2002)
  • Reduce maintenance costs by up to 50% (ARC)
  • Save up to 30% of energy costs on average (eg. By using our libraries and analytics tools)

The path to maximizing return on your assets

We recommend breaking your asset performance management plan down into three stages.

  1. Asset reliability –The first step is to use technology to ensure that your assets are always available when you need them. After all, when an asset is down, it’s down. And unplanned downtime costs plants on average 5% of production annually.
  2. Maintenance excellence – Once you’re confident your assets are working reliably, it’s time to start thinking about your maintenance strategy. In simple terms knowing (even predicting) when you need to fix something and you when you don’t, can save a lot on your maintenance budget – up to 50%.
  3. Asset Optimization – This is the holy grail of asset performance management, the sweet spot where asset productivity and profitability are optimized while the asset is running. One of the key benefits of Asset Optimization is cutting energy consumption.

That’s a figure which is hard to ignore and one you don’t want to walk away from. To achieve the numbers you’re hoping for, we advise customers choose a fully integrated and comprehensive Enterprise Asset Performance Management (APM) solution. This will allow you to collect and analyse data, along with identifying actions and optimization steps to support proactive maintenance strategies.

You’ll save money, make more profits and your maintenance staff and shareholders will be happier…well maybe!

Learn more about “Data-driven Asset Performance Management” in this new Frost & Sullivan Whitepaper.

The post Asset Performance… and Economic Return appeared first on Schneider Electric Blog.

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Autonomous haul trucks have been used in mining for well over 10 years now, and at just a single open pit mine owned by Fortesque their fleet has now logged over 15 million miles.  Yes, 15 million!  And autonomous passenger cars, although still in the early stages of development, have racked up some serious miles as well.  Waymo, the Google start-up, announced in October of 2018 that they have cracked the 10-million-mile mark even though they are operating in very limited fashion in just a few select cities.

So why hasn’t this autonomous technology been leveraged in the steel industry yet?  Unlike autonomous cars driving on city streets with unpredictable traffic and pedestrians constantly posing hazards, overhead cranes operate in a controlled environment, with prescribed paths and very few random obstacles to consider when moving coils or slabs from point A to point B.  It ought to be fairly straightforward, no?

There are perhaps a number of reasons for this, including lack of capital, limited downtime to make upgrades, fiscal conservatism in a volatile market, and embedded legacy infrastructure based on DC motors.  But sometimes the simplest reason is also the most likely.  And in this case, it just might be trying to understand what the true benefits really are.  “OK, so I can automate my cranes, but what does it really mean?  What are the benefits?”

There are many, and I would link them all to a second reason why there has been limited movement toward autonomous crane technology, and that would be uncertainty in how to calculate the ROI on the required investment. It’s not just a factor of saved operator costs.  It also involves the economic benefit that could be achieved from reallocating those human resources to other areas to make them more productive; the reduced cost of lost time due to injury and the potential to reduce insurance premiums; the reduction in damaged goods from mishandling and higher yields; the reduction in machine wear and tear due to lower mechanical stress afforded by smoother crane operation and the resulting reduction in maintenance costs as well as extended equipment lifespan. And if taken one step further, what about more accurate inventory control, shipping logistics, and supply chain management?

It all adds up to a more efficient opperation, but how do you put a number on that?  It’s not easy but it’s an exercise worth undertaking because although the ROI calculations on these benefits are not straightforward, they are real nonetheless and worth considering.

We are delivering an informative webinar on April 9th on the technology and benefits behind autonomous cranes, so if you would like to learn more about this innovative new technology please join us by registering here.

The post Autonomous Cranes in the Steel Industry: A Revolution Waiting to Happen appeared first on Schneider Electric Blog.

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Schneider Electric is leading the digital transformation of industrial automation markets. Therefore, delivered through our EcoStruxure architecture, our IoT technologies are ready for smart manufacturing. We can deliver new business opportunities for plants and machine builders. So that,  both profitability and productivity will increase. EcoStruxure delivers innovation at every level of the plant or machine,  from connected products to edge control and to apps, analytics and services. Our connected products include ranges from motor controllers to circuit breakers and sensors.  They enable customers’ assets to provide advanced process data for smarter operations. In other words, they bring intelligence to our customers’ systems.

Challenges

Worldwide demand for energy is expected to double by 2050. Growing concern for the environment is driving the emergence of more stringent energy-efficiency regulations around the globe. Motors account for up to 80% of electricity consumption in the industrial sector, making them a prime target for energy-saving measures. Engineers develop new motors to meet environmental needs. However, arrival of these new motors at industrial sites across Europe has created some new challenges. Most notably, their less-efficient counterparts, which impact the whole process of manufacturing. However, in addition to that not all the companies are ready for innovation. Some of them prefer to stick to old-fashion processes that would bring businesses to the same challenge – non-efficient production.

How we address them

However, with our solution, we ensure the efficiency of the factory through different areas. Firstly, safety of personnel and motors is ensured. Secondly, the connection maintain reliable even in the toughest conditions at all stages of production. Thirdly, user-friendly design provides a high-visibility trip indication. There have been cases where problems accrued due to the fact that the trip was not identified on time. In addition, circuit breaker ensures a secure, long-lasting power connection for customers’ electrical installation. Moreover, it promotes an environmental policy whilst preserving customers’ business efficiency.

What we still need to work on

However, this solves only part of the problem. Engineering companies like Schneider Electric still need to educate consumers regarding the benefits of innovation. It is clear that the main reason why customers stick to older solutions is fear. Fear of new products, fear of new structures, fear of change. On the other hand, without changes there is no development. In today’s changing environment we cannot succeed without adapting and following current trends.

Click here to learn more about TeSys range – the innovative solution that can help protect entire machine application while improving plant efficiency and maintenance.

The post Innovation is both the key and the challenge to efficiency improvement appeared first on Schneider Electric Blog.

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Over the past year I have visited numerous steel plants across the US and Canada and I always return with the same question: why does a region like North America, which is so advanced in many different kinds of technology, still appear to be lagging in the Digital Transformation as it relates to crane automation in the steel industry?

Part of the answer may lie in a story about how one of the most famous rock groups of all time, AC/DC, got their name.  In the very early days before they were known as AC/DC, lead guitarist Angus Young used to have his sister Margaret sew his famous “school boy” outfits that he wore on-stage.  One day he noticed “AC/DC” written on the side of the sewing machine she used and he thought the name perfectly matched their high voltage style of music and, as they say, the rest is history.

Back to the steel industry… When it came to choosing AC or DC for powering their factories, the steel industry in North America essentially made DC their de facto standard for many, many years.  Unfortunately, the legacy infrastructure around DC has been slow to change even though it is at a disadvantage today compared to AC when it comes to a number of things. For example, DC motors and drives are expensive to repair and parts can take a very long time to obtain (if they can even be sourced at all).  DC equipment has more components and therefore is inherently less reliable.  And most importantly, DC equipment is much less compatible with the digital transformation sweeping the industry and cannot benefit fully from digitalization.  In fact, DC technology has fallen off most manufacturers’ R&D programs and will likely never catch up.

Looking now to AC technology, one of the biggest opportunities that digitalization could offer the steel industry is enabling the use of AC variable speed drives. These can be used to significantly improve performance of travelling overhead (bridge) cranes that lift and transport heavy products like slabs and coils.

AC variable speed drives can more smoothly and efficiently move the crane itself along its rails, as well as shift the lifting carriage back and forth and raise or lower materials.  And if integrated as part of an autonomous crane system, crane operations are not only more efficient and safer, but they also increase crane availability up to 99,5% thanks to the reduction in mechanical stress and wear and the resulting reduction in equipment maintenance and repairs.

So today, when upgrades are anticipated, it requires a different approach to the one traditionally taken. It has to be seen as an opportunity to modernize and transform the business, not just to replace old and problematic equipment.  I’m not talking about the future here but what’s happening right now in the market. Europe with Industry 4.0 and Asia with the China 2025 program have already taken major steps forward.  Steps which have enabled autonomous operations with true unmanned automatic cranes that are connected to the ERP of the facility and therefore completely integrated into the supply chain, all with very reasonable ROIs.

If you are interested in learning more, we are offering an informative webinar on April 9th on the technology behind crane modernization and autonomous cranes.  To join us, please register here.

The post AC/DC: Is the Digital Transformation Music to the Ears of the Steel Industry? appeared first on Schneider Electric Blog.

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We live in a constantly changing dynamic environment. Therefore, innovation is a key driver for success. It means more than just research and development. In other words, it refers to changing, creating more effective processes, products and ideas. For almost a century, designers of electrical systems have depended on Schneider Electric for demanding operations. From switching and protection to monitoring and control, customers trust the TeSys innovation legacy.

Innovation is the key

Advanced settings and pre-alarming would make anything easier. EverLink guarantees lasting connection. In other words, we do not need yearly periodic re-tightening any more. This patented creep-compensating technology provides many benefits. For instance, spring-based system ensures a long-lasting power connection. At the same time it is reducing overheating and ensuring the correct torque tightening each time when you install the products.  In addition, circuit breakers can be mounted on a DIN rail in one click without any accessory. Can it be easier?

Century of Digitization

Noways we are trying to digitize everything as much as possible.  We would not leave our house before checking at least one application (App) on our devices.  Digitization has reached Industry. NFC App (near-field communication) with user-friendly interface eases maintenance and helps to make diagnosis and check the fault history. That makes our products one of the most accessible. The fact that the product itself is compact, makes the panel more cost competitive with less columns. Moreover, the same spare drawer can be used for several motors. GV4 divides by 5 the number of references to manage through a wide range of overload settings provided. Did you know that TeSys GV4 can have a toggle or direct rotary handle, or equip a toggled one with a direct, front or side handle? If few years ago customers had to go through catalogue pages to find the right product and accessory, now everything can be done in a few minutes. New Product Selector tool can help you to find the right product, the save time and reduce chance of making mistake.

Easy but safe

TeSys motor controls come with all the isolation, protection and emergency handling you need to comply with international codes, standards and regulations (CE, UL, SA, CCC, EAC). High-contrast covers identify safety-critical devices to prevent inadvertent manual operation. Every TeSys contactor is both mechanically linked and equipped with mirror contacts for safety applications – and wherever auxiliary contact state reliability is critical.

The most flexible system on the market

TeSys motor controls are easy to choose and easy to use. For instance, single configurable control unit can provide a wide range of current settings and control voltages. In addition, TeSys motor controls offer the plug-and-play convenience and flexibility you need to optimize your panel designs. And the wide selection of common TeSys installation accessories help you keep inventories and costs down.

To learn more about the TeSys offer, please visit our website.

The post Simple to use motor circuit breakers as a result of innovation appeared first on Schneider Electric Blog.

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