Smarter control systems achieve greater uptime

Nov. 24, 2021

The Schneider Electric facility in Lexington, KY, manufactures safety switches and load centers, but this smart factory also serves as a testing ground and flagship success story for the company’s own digital journey. At the 500,000-square-foot facility, its 400 employees produce about 16,500 finished goods and dozens of each type of products per day. With the help of technology and Schneider Electric’s vertically integrated process, humans do not touch those products as raw materials until the component assembly process. A long legacy of control systems and digital products make this factory smart, but its latest update with an open architecture platform for cloud and edge control has reduced system downtime by 5%.

While its newest technologies provided a two-year return on investment, and savings in energy efficiency and production, the digital journey for Schneider Electric actually began much earlier, about a decade ago. Through expansions that added Ethernet infrastructure and equipment connectivity, the Lexington plant laid the foundation long ago to welcome the industrial internet of things (IIoT) revolution and set the groundwork for becoming a smart facility.

All under one roof

“Over the years, we’ve moved from highly manual processes to more automated processes that require smarter control systems,” says Kenneth Labhart, innovation leader for supply chain in North America at Schneider Electric. “We are a discrete manufacturing facility, but we’re very fortunate enough to be heavily vertically integrated here at the facility.”


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