Sustainable energy, responsible policies and investments in green innovation: these are some of the early 21st century buzzwords
Schneider Electric is a company that goes beyond talking about change. It is actively working to achieve it. The company has pushed for an active policy to inspire and implement the technologies of tomorrow.
This year, Schneider Electric, a leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, opened its first Innovation Hub in the region of Eastern Europe. The Innovation Hub is a demo space that allows visitors to experience live the company's IoT technology. This impressive facility is located in Schneider's showcase plant in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, that meets the highest internal standard of the Schneider Group for industrial production, automation and effective process management.
In 2019, the production site in Bulgaria received the highest level of industrial certification in the company – Smart Factory. It is one of the biggest and most modern plants in Europe of the company-leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation systems. After it was awarded with the certificate, the enterprise became the first and only Smart Factory of the company across Eastern Europe and the second one in the whole of Europe. This took place at a moment when as Schneider Electric is working to be ready for the digital economy, its Global Supply Chain is transforming its operations under an initiative called Tailored Sustainable Connected (TSC) 4.0 Supply Chain.
The Smart Factory certificate attests to the highest level of technological maturity of Schneider Electric manufacturing. To obtain it the Bulgarian plant has covered many standardizing criteria used to evaluate all factories of the company. More than 65% of the processes in the manufacturing facility in Plovdiv are fully automated, and its team has never stopped implementing new technologies including creation of digital solutions on the spot in case the corporate tools do not offer such solutions. The achievements of the facility have a direct impact on other manufacturing facilities in the dynamically growing industrial area of Plovdiv – as a positive example to be followed in the path towards digital transformation and sustainability of processes. These achievements are also vital for the enhancement of work force qualifications.
The premises of the factory are managed with a BMS (Building Management System) and are equipped with a power management system. These have allowed the enterprise to become the first in Bulgaria with an ISO 50001 power management standard. Maintenance of machines and facilities is carried out based on the software application Augmented Operator Advisor – an app that Schneider Electric offers to its clients in the sector of industry. Using augmented reality the app allows the maintenance staff to see technical information and suggestions for replacement and prophylaxis of parts visualized as an element of a snapshot of the inspected equipment.
All this was achieved thanks to Schneider’s IoT platform EcoStruxure. It makes possible connecting devices in various architectures depending on the scale necessary for the particular site; data management and collection, as well as work with tools for preventive and predictive maintenance. EcoStruxure consists of three main layers – connected devices, edge control and software, applications and services – and allows building of different architectures to the scale required for each site, managing and collecting data, as well as working with preventative and predictive maintenance tools.
Smart Factory sets standardized requirements for factories of Schneider all over the world and is globally applied and audited. This proved crucial in 2020, when the lockdown and social distancing made processes for remote control more important than ever.
In its aim to improve society, the environment, economy and production globally, in the spring of 2020 Schneider Electric opened its Smart Factory to visitors. These include not only partners and customers, but also students, trainees and young engineers.
The Smart Factory and the Innovation Hub are yet another addition to the company's green policies. Last year, Schneider Electric set the ambitious goal to achieve carbon neutrality in its own ecosystem by 2025 and zero emissions by 2030. In February 2020, the company joined the Climate Group's EV100 initiative for accelerated transition to full electric mobility, aiming to replace all company vehicles with electric ones by 2030.
The company's achievements are increasingly recognized by the public. This January, Schneider Electric ranked first in the Industrial Conglomerates category of the Top 100 sustainable corporations in the world list by Corporate Knights Magazine. Carbon Disclosure Project for its part included the company in its annual CDP A-List for ninth year in a row, a golden standard in corporate green transparency. In Bulgaria, in October 2020, Schneider Electric won first place for Green Innovation of the Year on the 10th edition of Bulgaria's Greenest Companies organized by b2b Media.
Innovation Hub (Smart Factory) address: Industrialna St, 4201 Plovdiv
Schneider Electric's purpose is to empower all to make the most of our energy and resources, bridging progress and sustainability for all. The company calls this Life Is On. The company's mission is to be a digital partner for Sustainability and Efficiency. It drives digital transformation by integrating world-leading process and energy technologies, end-point to cloud connecting products, controls, software and services, across the entire lifecycle, enabling integrated company management, for homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure and industries. Schneider Electric is the most local of global companies. It advocates open standards and partnership ecosystems that are passionate about its shared Meaningful Purpose, Inclusive and Empowered values.