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    Insights on the connected enterprise

Optimizing profitability in the connected enterprise


How the new generation of IIoT-ready controllers connects you with value hidden in plant assets

Everybody is talking about IIoT, industry 4.0, the cloud and big data, leaving many plant managers wondering if these things will result in cost savings or cost sinks. Three additional trends are converging to help ensure that the IIoT and related innovations will deliver as promised.

First is advances in what we will call real-time accounting. Simply put this involves running business algorithms in process controllers, making it possible to see in real-time, the impact connected assets have on profitability.

The second development is in the movement of the locus of control from plant-wide assets to individual units, selected based on their contribution to in plant profitability.And third is the evolution of IIoT-ready controllers, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and programmable automation controllers (PACs) that have been augmented with the bandwidth, connectivity and cybersecurity needed to take maximum, safe utilization of the process data from connected assets and run advanced applications that can truly optimize the entire enterprise.


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. 

Such innovations are already contributing to the following kinds of benefits:

• Increased productivity. Using IIoT-ready advanced PACs, a feed mill in Vietnam, for example, has achieved 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.

• Increased operational visibility. Lacking precise data on asset location, process status, etc., can cost up to 3 percent of yearly revenue - and create a significant margin shortfall for the typical discrete/hybrid manufacturing plant, with substantial bottom-line impact. A PAC automation project with transparent open native networks can bring much-needed operational visibility.

• Cost-efficient energy management: Calculations show it’s possible to reduce annual energy consumption at an average large facility from US$6 million to about US$4.8 million, by making energy usage data more efficient and transparent.

• Speeding time-to-market. Modern controllers implemented within object-oriented programming environments can save millions in project launches, shorten time-to-market by at least 25 percent, and benefit from the extra production that can result in getting production online earlier.

• Cybersecurity protection. Manufacturers now have a 32 percent chance of experiencing a hostile cyber-event or cyberattack in any given year. Using advanced PACs in key roles within comprehensive plant-wide cybersecurity strategies can drastically reduce the likelihood of cyberattacks - critical in a world where the total costs of a data breach average more than US$3.7 million.

Thus the increases in business value that can be derived from this new generation of controllers make upgrading easy to justify, even in times of continuing downward pressure on capital costs. With the right models, companies involved in brownfield or greenfield modernization automation projects may see 100% returns on their controller investment in as little as three months.

For related information, click on any of the links below:

[White paper series] Preparing for the IIoT, exploring the impact..
For information on the powerful M580 ePAC
Turn industrial automation into the profit engine of your business

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