Schneider Electric, specialist in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has completed the transformation of its Leeds site into a smart factory, complimented by a state-of the art Innovation Hub – the first of its kind in the UK.
The Leeds manufacturing facility is a key site for Schneider Electric in the UK, employing 550 people. It produces low and medium voltage electrical infrastructure products and has grown significantly in recent years due to rising demand from the energy transition.
As part of the multi-million-pound upgrade the site has a new test cell, assembly line and wiring loom machine. It also has extensive digital capabilities incorporating its EcoStruxure software architecture and featuring Facility Expert, Resource Advisor, Machine Advisor, and AVEVA DLM (discrete lean management). Together, these have resulted in a 10% increase in manufacturing output, 15% reduction in energy consumption and improved efficiencies and customer service results.
“Our smart factory transformation is enabling us to enhance our quality and reliability while maximising our efficiency. We will also continuously benefit from all the analytics of the data we collect to continue to move towards the future of manufacturing. All of those new capabilities are helping us daily to drive efficiency, which is particularly important in the context of rising energy costs, while simultaneously improving customer experience.” said Laurent Bergier, General Manager at Schneider Electric’s Leeds plant.
“The manufacturing industry worldwide is facing new challenges due to economic downturn, supply chain disruption the pandemic and climate change threat. Schneider Electric’s innovative solutions are clear indicators of the power of digital to further sustainability and resiliency in a period of adversity.”
Schneider Electric is recognised by the World Economic Forum as a smart manufacturing and smart factories leader and is aiming to transform its factories and distribution centres around the world. The Leeds site is the second location in the UK to achieve smart factory status following the completion of Schneider’s Flint plant in North Wales last year, and the eleventh globally to benefit from its Smart Factory Programme since it was launched in 2017.
From factory to “smart factory”
EcoStruxure is a three-layer service that can be implemented on any platform to improve efficiency and resiliency. The first allows connectivity with sensors on any IoT-enabled product to analyse its health and temperature in real-time or aggregated. The second provides edge control, meaning 360-degree visibility and control over assets locally and remotely. The third element is analytics through the cloud and on-site, allowing leaders to make informed energy decisions.
To achieve smart factory status, the modernisation process at the Leeds site took place in stages over the past nine months. Each stage was carefully planned with pilot phases followed by deployment and before wider implementation. There are also plans to install Microgrid Advisor, Augmented Operator Advisor and Power Monitoring Expert next year.
Leeds Innovation Hub will showcase the latest innovations and technology
The Leeds site also benefits from a new Innovation Hub, showcasing the latest Electricity 4.0 products and solutions. Visitors are able to interact with the latest technologies through hands-on immersive experiences and gain insight on the industries of the future through access to some of the world’s leading experts on buildings, power systems, data centres, grid solutions, and energy management.
It offers the ideal opportunity to explore end-to-end solutions from Schneider Electric’s latest offerings and equipment, including circuit breakers, protection relays, transformers, IoT solutions, integrated software and IoT-enabled EcoStruxure technology – all in one place.
“As industry becomes increasingly digitised and connected, it is essential that businesses have access to and understand the latest insights, innovations and strategies to help them implement the solutions of tomorrow, today,” said David Hall, VP Power Systems at Schneider Electric UK and Ireland. “The Leeds Innovation Hub allows customers to visualise and interact with the latest technology, and we’re delighted to bring our energy management solutions to life.”
During a supervised tour with a Schneider Electric expert, visitors can explore:
EcoStruxure technology: EcoStruxure technology provides product connectivity and edge control onto premises using cloud technologies to provide analytics and digital services. Visitors will see EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor in action, demonstrating how operational and maintenance information can be built-in and made available at the fingertips of personnel wherever and whenever needed.
Innovative products: Housing the full range of Schneider’s MV/LV switchgear, transformers and substation automation, the Hub will provide visitors with an insight into the digital transformation of energy management and automation for electrical networks, buildings, data centres, transport and industry.
Control Room: A control-command area will allow visitors to experience demonstrations personalised to their interests, showing how technologies such as the Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS), preventive maintenance services (Asset Advisor), Aplines and Microgrid advisor work.
Electric Vehicles: There are over 30 electric vehicle charging points on-site to deliver efficient, safe, and fast charging solutions for EVs.
Virtual Reality: The Hub also boasts an immersive training system delivered through VR operator training simulators.
Knowing the importance of creating a high-quality visual experience to showcase smart manufacturing solutions, Schneider Electric partnered with Equinox, the leading international exhibition design and build company, to construct the Leeds-based Innovation Hub.