An edge-to-cloud smart factory success story

Posted on 2 May 2024 by The Manufacturer

In 2022, NTT DATA and Schneider Electric partnered on the development of an advanced edge-to-cloud environment for Schneider’s Lexington Smart Factory, an award-winning US showcase plant recognized by the World Economic Forum for sustainability. The facility leverages the latest in IoT connectivity and predictive analytics to drive energy efficiency.

A leader in the digital transformation of energy management, Schneider Electric engaged NTT DATA to create an end-to-end digital platform capable of advancing the deployment of emerging technologies in the plant, which builds and assembles industrial electrical-system components like load centres and safety switches.

Smart factory use cases in action at Schneider Electric

The objective was to enable use cases for sustaining equipment availability, improving machine performance, and enhancing product quality. One of the first deployments involved integrating industrial cameras with advanced optical capabilities into factory and warehouse automation systems. By adding machine vision, Schneider wanted to identify faults and determine root causes faster, thereby improving operational stability and reducing wear and tear.

Another use case involved improving employee experience. By deploying augmented reality solutions, remote workers tasked with maintaining physical equipment could benefit from enhanced support while working in the field.

Unbroken connectivity for uninterrupted data flow

Key to the project’s success was enabling data to flow quickly from devices at the edge to applications and analytics in the cloud – or, in this case, many clouds, given the multi-cloud reality of today’s enterprise environments. NTT DATA therefore developed a private 5G network for the factory that’s capable of delivering unbroken connectivity. They also improved the management of devices across the factory estate.

The result is a case study in the successful management of operational integrity across a broad range of smart factory environments. With support from NTT DATA, Schneider has been able to:

  • Leverage IoT connectivity, edge analytics and predictive analytics
  • Drive energy efficiency and increased sustainability
  • Overcome equipment performance issues
  • Enhance overall product quality
  • Integrate machine-vision capabilities into automation systems
  • Identify predictive-maintenance causes in near-real time
  • Rapidly accelerate smart factory digitization capabilities at every level

Powering manufacturing’s industrial-to-digital transformation with Dell Technologies

NTT DATA and Dell Technologies, two of the world’s powerhouse technology companies, have teamed up to help manufacturers evolve their data centres to a managed or as-a-service edge-to-cloud environment. They are helping manufacturers modernize cloud environments and improve the speed, quality and security of apps with cloud-native microservices and cloud migration.

As one of the biggest manufacturers in the IT industry, Dell brings expertise in manufacturing processes and smart factory innovation to the partnership. Dell also works with companies like SAP and Siemens to address the specific needs of the industry.

From cloud advisory to modernised cloud architecture

NTT DATA and Dell’s combined proposition encompasses consultancy, modernization and management. Starting with advanced cloud-transformation advisory, we can point the way to optimized factory operations based on proven industry blueprints and best practices.

The modernized cloud architecture that follows can help manufacturers to identify savings from operational overheads and inefficient resource use, and free up budget that can be reallocated to innovation. Autonomous edge devices and AI-powered analytics can identify potential machinery failures before they happen. We can also help reduce risks and penalties through strengthened data compliance, security and governance.

Our joint solution for Managed Private Cloud enables consistent management and operations across multiple clouds, higher performance and lower latency for demanding applications, better data mobility between public and private clouds, and high security and compliance.

As manufacturing continues to evolve, leveraging new technologies will be vital for innovation, sustainability and staying competitive. NTT DATA and Dell are committed to helping manufacturers redefine what’s possible on the factory floor.

Visit our website to discover more about our Cloud Services.

Making the smart factory a reality

Tony Dickie is Vice President Alliances, Cloud Service Division, NTT DATA.

With over two decades’ experience in the IT industry, Tony excels in building, growing and leading successful vendor partnerships to achieve remarkable results for NTT DATA’s clients. Prior to NTT DATA, Tony held senior channel roles at data centre, IT and cybersecurity providers including Nominet, BlueLiv and Digital Realty.

Contact Tony on LinkedIn.

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