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Opinion piece: Your Road to a Modernised Infrastructure

By Patrick Kazadi, Marketing and Business Development Director (Field Services) Anglophone Africa, ‎Schneider Electric

In a time where organisations are looking for feasible yet cost-effective ways to extend their infrastructure, modernisation has stepped to the fore. Conversely, continuity of services has become paramount; modernising infrastructure should therefore not only extend infrastructure assets but also digitise it through technologies such as IoT.

Knowing when to repair or replace aging assets is a critical part of sound asset management and field services. The key is to partner with an organisation that offers the requisite tools, expertise and modernisation and digitisation methods to evaluate your existing systems, safeguarding your investment while optimising processes and productivity.

Moreover, digitisation brings organisations one step closer to remotely operated assets, a major monitoring and maintenance leap forward. It will enable these organisations to perform the necessary preventative actions before an issue occurs.

The good news is there are already modernisation solutions available that enable organisations to reach the abovementioned goals. As an example, there are retrofit solutions that make it easier for electrical networks to extend the lifespan of existing low-voltage (LV) and medium-voltage (MV) switchgear.

These retrofit solutions will upgrade the switchgear in questions with the latest technology, enabling the electrical network to leverage connected technology which include the following benefits:

• Condition-based monitoring of switchgear through thermal and vacuum pressure sensors; and
• Asset performance management with connected switchgear to a hub.
Retrofit solutions offer savings on both equipment and process shutdown expenditure. A retrofit solution will only replace aging or obsolete components while retaining, for example, the switchgear structure.

This means you will not only avoid the high costs associated with replacing an entire infrastructure but also mitigate unnecessary downtime. Additionally, organisations will benefit from extended warranty period, therefore, gaining the most from their initial investment.

From a sustainability perspective, modernising equipment means you are retaining the viable elements and recycling obsolete equipment, again saving on the resultant costs.

Factors to consider
The planning associated with modernisation infrastructure depends on several factors which include the current conditions of equipment and the future development needs of the infrastructure.

However, the most critical decision factor is maintenance cost – spare parts have an obsolescence cycle. Retrofitted solutions safeguard organisations against potentially running out of parts which will often mean installing a completely new solution.

Also, retrofitted solutions offer more insight which allow for predictive and proactive maintenance – enabling organisations to stay one step ahead of any issues that might arise due to faulty or failing equipment.

The bottom line is retrofitted solutions save on maintenance costs while extending the lifespan of equipment – modernising organisations without overhauling infrastructure completely.

Tried and tested
Most modernisation solutions are based on thousands of retrofit projects. In the case of Schneider Electric, our ECOFIT solution is installed in tandem with qualified field service engineers or our certified partners that utilise tools to ensure the successful completion of modernisation projects.

The benefits of modernisations are significant, and organisations stand to gain the following:

• Enhanced availability and operational reliability thanks to the reduction in equipment failure;
• Improved safety of people and assets;
• Reduced risk;
• Compliance with industry standards and legislation; and
• Improved OPEX as retrofits can be spread over several years.

Your road to a modernised infrastructure need not overly challenging, choose the right retrofit solutions, partner with an established organisation and benefit from an enhanced infrastructure and peace of mind.

About Schneider Electric
Schneider Electric is leading the digital transformation of energy management and automation in homes, buildings, data centres, infrastructure and industries. With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the undisputable leader in power management – medium voltage, low voltage and secure power, and in automation systems. We provide integrated efficiency solutions, combining energy, automation and software. In our global ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest partner, integrator and developer community on our open platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency. We believe that great people and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to innovation, diversity and sustainability ensures that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment.

For more information, go to www.se.com/za/en/.
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