Schneider enabling real-time profitability control

By Keith Larson

Aug 07, 2018

As the pace of business continues to accelerate in lockstep with seemingly exponential digital innovation, Schneider Electric is uniquely positioned to safely drive measurable operational profitability improvement on behalf of its process industry customers. Such was the message delivered by Gary Freburger, president of the company’s Process Automation business, in his kick-off address to attendees of this week’s Foxboro User Group conference in San Antonio.

Indeed, the company’s EcoStruxure Plant portfolio encompasses everything from instrumentation to edge devices (such as controllers) to a broad range of applications, analytics and services. “But the real measure of these technologies is how well we turn them into something meaningful for you,” Freburger said.

Central to the Schneider value proposition is the disciplined conversion of variables that once could only be managed into real-time control domains. “For example, asset performance management is an important function, but this traditional term entails a reactive approach,” Freburger said. Instead, the company proposes that its customers do asset performance control.

“It’s a new approach to asset performance and represents a shift to real-time control across your entire value chain.” These other value-chain parameters include efficiency, reliability, safety, security and—ultimately—profitability. “We have an unprecedented portfolio. But even more importantly we can close the loop on all of this,” Freburger said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about how can we help you drive profitability and better return on investment.”

Lifecycle integration

Another key differentiator of the Schneider offering is the integration of its EcoStruxure Plant platform with the plant design software tools of Schneider-controller sister company AVEVA. This integration allows the company to holistically address both capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) implications of design decisions early on and throughout a plant’s full lifecycle. “It’s a TOTALEX view,” Freburger said.

“Our customers are asking us to understand the full value of their automation investments, not just at the project phase but throughout an asset’s lifecycle,” Freburger said. Other key demands include ensuring the security of the entire system and facility, the support of system performance support, empowering the workforce to drive value, measurably improving operational profitability while ensuring safety, and showing the value of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and digitalization.

“Our vision is that your industrial automation investment will become the profit engine of your business,” Freburger said. “Digitalization activates and empowers you to drive business value, and the EcoStruxure Foxboro DCS will continue to evolve as our next-gen solution for real-time efficiency, reliability, safety and profitability control.”