The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has brought enormous operating pressure to companies, and it has also highlighted the value of digital transformation. Digitization not only enables remote operation and maintenance, improves business resilience while improving efficiency, but also promotes sustainable development.
In this process, software is playing an increasingly important role. “In the huge uncertainty brought about by the new crown epidemic, only digital transformation is a certain trend. Software runs through the whole process of data collection, transmission and value generation, and has become the basic ability for enterprises to achieve digital transformation. ” said Ren Jing, vice president of Schneider Electric and head of the marketing department in China. During the pandemic alone, Schneider Electric’s on-site hardware assets managed through software connectivity increased by 50% globally.
For software as a “brain” to allow the system to think actively, it must be based on a deep understanding of OT technology, and the integration of the two can really play a role. In this regard, Schneider Electric, a century-old giant, is once again standing at the forefront of history. Based on technical expertise in energy management and automation, Schneider Electric is gradually transforming from a hardware provider to a digital transformation that integrates software and hardware, combining its increasingly powerful software capabilities and a rapidly expanding, comprehensive global software partnership matrix facilitator.
Software is becoming a tool for digital transformation
In 2020, Schneider Electric used digital twin technology to realize the physical delivery and digital delivery of the new digital factory for Hubei Sanning Chemical, which is also the first step for Sanning Chemical to fully build a digital factory system.
Digital twin is the mutual mapping and interaction between the physical world and its development laws and the software-defined virtual world. During the course of this project, the importance of software became apparent. Through interconnected hardware equipment and software solutions, Schneider Electric continues to collect all engineering data during the construction period, providing a unified digital platform for all project parties, so that design institutes, construction parties, and owners located in various places can carry out design drawings at the same time Review and revise, and simulate and visualize the entire project progress in real time, thereby greatly improving the engineering efficiency of the project.
During the operation and maintenance period, both the maintenance and production departments can use the digital twin technology to accurately and quickly query the engineering data, so that the future modification, expansion and maintenance of the factory have the engineering data basis, and provide an accurate data basis for the overall operation and maintenance of the factory. , thereby improving the decision-making efficiency of managers.
Digital twin technology not only greatly improves factory efficiency, but also empowers people. Software also contributes: Affected by the epidemic, Sanning Chemical in Hubei was unable to resume work and production in the first quarter of 2020. Schneider Electric provided The operator simulation training system OTS provides training for employees in a virtual environment to familiarize them with equipment and processes, helping Sanning complete personnel training on time, so that real operations can be carried out quickly once work resumes.
Obviously, if there is no deep understanding of the “physical world”, it cannot be accurately mapped in the digital world, and digital twins cannot be realized. Jing Ren said, “Although the physical world is full of contingency, the laws of physics reflected in the digital world based on real data and advanced algorithms are deterministic and can provide us with a priori insight, which is also where the certainty of digitalization lies. .”
Schneider Electric closely integrates software solutions covering the whole life cycle with OT technology, and uses advanced IT technology to realize digital empowerment for the industry. “Through the digital twin to cover the entire life cycle of assets and realize human-machine interconnection and full empowerment, Schneider Electric helps to achieve efficient collaboration between people and physical assets and digital assets, and ultimately promotes users to make smarter decisions in the stages of design, construction, and operation. decision.
Attack on Titan: “Soft and Hard” Drives Digital Transformation
Schneider Electric, which started with hardware, has increasingly shown the characteristics of “soft and hard combination” in recent years. The company that manufactured France’s first train, the first steam engine ship, and all the steel parts on the Eiffel Tower, after undergoing four major transformations, has accumulated a “hard foundation” to promote digital transformation in the fields of energy management and automation: It ranks at the forefront of the world in the fields of medium voltage, low voltage and key power supplies, and the field of industrial automation can be called the “originator” of the industry.
In Ren Jing’s view, the most critical layout of Schneider Electric’s digital transformation is to start from the digitization of the underlying equipment and hardware products, gradually realize the interconnection of the underlying hardware, and gradually open up the OT and IT.
For more than ten years, Schneider Electric has been determined to innovate, investing 5% of its annual global operating income into software and hardware research and development. As early as 2006, Schneider Electric released the first-generation EcoStruxure energy efficiency management platform. After years of optimization and upgrading, in 2017, Schneider Electric launched the EcoStruxure digital architecture and platform based on the Internet of Things, including software, hardware and digital service capabilities. As the infrastructure for digital transformation.
Today, EcoStruxure has been deployed in more than 500,000 sites around the world, with 650,000 service providers and partners, driving 3,000 applications and more than 2 million device assets to achieve interconnection.
On the basis of innovation, in-depth cooperation with the world’s leading software partners in various professional fields is also a “big move” for Schneider Electric to continue to strengthen its digital advantages. Corresponding to its digital transformation experts in the fields of energy management and automation, Schneider Electric’s global software cooperation matrix is also based on the strengths of these two fields.
In the field of industrial automation, through in-depth cooperation with AVEVA, a global leading brand of industrial software, Schneider Electric has built a software matrix covering the entire life cycle of the industrial field. In 2020, AVEVA acquired OSIsoft, a real-time industrial data acquisition software, to further open a real-time seamless path for massive industrial data to rich applications of AVEVA and EcoStruxure, helping customers to deeply explore the value of data assets and manage them efficiently.
In the field of energy management, Schneider Electric works closely with the leading CAD brand IGE+XAO in the electrical industry, eTAP, the leading software platform for power system modeling and simulation, and RIB Software, the world’s leading BIM solution provider, to provide energy management solutions for various industries. Provide comprehensive solutions.
Whether it is endogenous R&D innovation or through cooperative innovation, Schneider Electric continues to “join vertical and horizontal” in its advantageous fields, and finally creates a “technology kingdom” that is closely integrated with software-driven IT and OT, and has the ability to integrate software and hardware for digitalization. “.
Three major supports behind “soft” power
As the trend of IT empowering OT becomes more and more obvious, software strength is becoming one of the core competitive advantages of digital leaders. In Ren Jing’s view, the reason why Schneider Electric can continue to empower customers digitally is due to its close integration of OT and IT, covering the entire life cycle, and local innovation.
First, digital transformation can only be better driven by the deep integration of IT and OT technical expertise. Based on years of expertise in energy management and industrial automation, Schneider Electric has accumulated rich OT technology and experience in home buildings, industry, infrastructure, data centers and other fields. At the same time, Schneider Electric has also joined hands with software partners in various professional fields to build a corresponding software matrix, which deeply integrates software and hardware products in terms of logical layout and technical application to truly meet customer needs.
For example, eTAP, a leading global power and electrical system analysis engineering solutions company, specializes in the design, simulation, monitoring, control, optimization and automation of power systems. At present, the world’s top ten multinational engineering consulting (design) companies are all eTAP users, and 80% of them use eTAP as the power design standard. In China, the Electric Power Research Institute, the Electric Power Economic Research Institute, the Electric Power Design Institute, and design institutes in petrochemical, metallurgical, construction and other industries all use eTAP as the main power system design solution provider.
Combined with Schneider Electric’s industry expertise, eTAP can provide enterprise-level digital solutions integrating software, hardware and consulting services for key industries such as power grids, new energy, petroleum and petrochemicals, metallurgy, transportation, data centers, manufacturing, and smart buildings. .
Second, full life cycle management covering all stages of design, construction, and operation is an inevitable requirement for digital transformation. Studies have shown that rework caused by design errors in the design stage accounts for 5-20% of the total capital expenditure, and software can implement product improvements during the design stage. In the construction phase, according to statistics, there are 90% construction overruns, 30% rework/waste, etc. There is huge room for improvement, and the software can ensure construction efficiency and compliance by connecting scattered information, and provide uninterrupted cost and progress. accurate report. During the operational phase of the business, software adds value to operations in the physical world by enabling customers to make more efficient decisions by visualizing energy usage and process efficiency in real time.
Schneider Electric and its software partners have built digital capabilities across the entire lifecycle. In the field of energy management, the electrical installation design software IGE+XAO joins forces with eTAP, a leading software platform for power system modeling and simulation, to digitize the design and engineering simulation stages, RIB Software covers the construction stage, and EcoStruxure infrastructure and platform provide digital operation and Maintenance, combined to achieve full life cycle management in the field of energy management.
In the field of automation, AVEVA’s rich and complete engineering and industrial software portfolio covers the entire process from design, engineering simulation to manufacturing operations management and optimization, accelerating the creation of digital twin models and investment project delivery, saving customers an average of 30% in the design-build stage. % of related costs. The AVEVA integrated operation center, combined with Schneider Electric’s interconnection products, provides enterprises with complete monitoring, control and management of edge devices, realizing production and operation visibility and efficient, flexible, and responsive automated operations.
Taking Yunzhibao Group’s new smart factory in Yancheng, Jiangsu as an example, Schneider Electric has provided the largest candy production base in China with a complete solution from consultation to implementation, increasing its production and operation efficiency by 10% and increasing its stability. It is increased by 15%, and the direct production cost is reduced by 5%.
Finally, considering the wide variety of digital scenarios, Schneider Electric’s strong innovation capabilities are the key to its ability to develop industrial applications that meet customer needs. Schneider Electric believes that digitalization needs to be closely integrated with application scenarios, so it has been committed to localized innovation for industry needs. According to Ren Jing, based on the needs of local customers, Schneider Electric China established a digital service team in 2013. By listening to Chinese customers’ digital demands, sorting out customers’ pain points, and combining Schneider Electric’s long-term accumulation of algorithm capabilities and industry knowledge , through local software and hardware innovation to make data generate value.
Since 2014, Schneider Electric has launched flexibly combined digital industry applications such as Clairvoyant Asset Consultant, Cloud Energy Efficiency Building Consultant, Electricity Consultant, Machine Consultant, and Frequency Conversion Consultant, aiming at the characteristics of different industries and the differentiated needs of customers. Matching customer problems to form targeted end-to-end solutions that elevate operational efficiency, sustainability, asset performance and employee productivity to new heights, helping customers and partners accelerate digital transformation.
As the global digital transformation process accelerates, software-driven IT and OT integration capabilities are being written into Schneider Electric’s DNA. “It is foreseeable that this capability is increasingly becoming the key to digital transformation.” Ren Jing said, “On the basis of the global software matrix and China’s innovation capabilities, Schneider Electric looks forward to working with partners to strengthen the The digital advantage will continue to empower the digital transformation of the industry and promote the efficient and sustainable development of China.”