Wednesday, 20 November 2019
Improving Productivity in the Connected Enterprise

Improving Productivity in the Connected Enterprise

How the new generation of IIoT-ready controllers connects you to new levels of operational efficiency.

IIoT is driving greater customer expectations for everything from faster delivery and more customization to higher quality. All at lower prices. 

It’s surprising how much help even relatively modest automation upgrades can be in satisfying these demands. For example, making significant improvements in the pace of production usually requires eliminating steps in the manufacturing process. Conventionally, this may demand a wholesale process redesign.

Recent developments in controller technology point to a simpler approach: Just speed up the steps. For example, new IIoT ready controllers such as Schneider Electric’s Ethernet Progammable Automation Controller (ePAC) deliver speedier performance, with scan times up to 5X faster than previous models, plus up to 8X more memory. These aren’t just technical advances. They generate immediate impacts on the factory floor, adding value to products and accelerating time-to-market.

It’s surprising how much help even relatively modest automation upgrades can be in satisfying these demands.  

IIoT is driving greater customer expectations for everything from faster delivery and more customization to higher quality. All at lower prices.

Consider a typical case in a hybrid or discrete manufacturing plant turning out a high-value product. The product requires six manufacturing process steps, with two scans between each step.

But with its significantly faster scan times (6 milliseconds per scan, compared to 30 ms for older controllers), an ePAC can get to each step more rapidly — ultimately producing 969 cycles per shift, versus only 960 using a previous model. Assuming 8-hour shifts, five days a week for 50 weeks a year, the new controller could help produce nine extra products per shift. That’s 2,250 more products per year. And if each finished product were valued at $1,000, the plant could gain $2.25 million in annual production. Thus, simply improving controller scan times can make a real difference to bottom-line productivity.

The Modicon M580 Ethernet-enabled programmable automation controller (ePAC) 
platform from Schneider Electric possesses industry-leading processing and memory, 
as well as stronger embedded cybersecurity. 

In one real-world example, a feed mill in Viet Nam used ePACs to achieve 3X faster feeds production. And by standardizing on one control products family, it has cut cabling costs significantly. Overall, the mill has increased production by 3 percent and reduced costs by 30 percent.

The lesson: for some discrete-industry applications especially, an automation project that adds the right IIoT-ready PACs can greatly speed up your production line.


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