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RFID Data Helps Power Schneider Electric's Smart Factory

The company is inviting customers and partners to view its IoT solution that employs data from RFID, as well as augmented and virtual reality systems, to monitor the status of production and supplies, capture analytics regarding work-in-progress and boost efficiency.
By Claire Swedberg

Schneider Electric tested the RFID solution on a simulated version of its conveyor system at its Competency Center in Dayton, Ohio. Since that time, the firm has continued to use the same technology, thought it has added racks, tags and readers. It has also begun deploying the technology on the last stages of its assembly lines, where goods are loaded onto pallets; each pallet comes with its own RFID tag.

The system's benefits have improved since the EcoStruxure Advisor tools were taken live, Labhart reports. "We've seen a nearly 6 percent reduction in load center downtime," he says, due to the company's ability to react to notifications and events, such as low supply levels, before they can become critical. With the centralized data, he adds, "We better understand consumption of material in the different systems."

The company is now working a complex modeling of the conveyor system. RFID data from the material movement, coupled with the descriptive analysis of Ecostruxure Advisor solutions, such as Aveva Insight, are enabling the company to predict and validate system performance before modifications are made.

The RFID system has been working effectively for the company for 10 years, Labhart says, and that hasn't changed since it was first launched. "We have had no trouble with the RFID system. It is rock-solid," he states, adding, "We had a large learning curve with the complexity of this kind of system when we started." In fact, the firm deployed the system without shutting off production. "The coordination of logistics in the air, keeping production running, not interrupting the system—it's been an eye-opening experience."

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