Schneider Electric says mining industry ripe for digitization via IoT

By Espie Angelica A. de Leon

French energy management firm Schneider Electric is offering its IoT-enabled architecture, EcoStruxure, to mining, metals, and mineral companies for their digital transformation.

EcoStruxure

This was underscored at one of the breakout sessions during the Philippines Innovation Summit on December 5 at Shangri-la at The Fort showcasing the tech firm’s various products and solutions for digitization.

EcoStruxure captures critical information to help solve problems related to process performance, the supply chain, and cybersecurity issues in a faster and more cost-efficient manner.

Data gathering and usage, as well as analyzing and communicating such data which can be translated into actionable insights, are common problems in organizations.

These cause them to miss out on critical information that will lead to greater operational efficiency and security. EcoStruxure’s three layers address this problem.

The first layer, Connected Devices, makes sure that enough accurate data is captured. The middle layer, Edge Control, ensures access to such data by the user. The third layer which is Apps, Analytics, and Services focuses on these data issues at the enterprise level.

“Digital transformation is about capturing more of this data,” said Ahmad Aly, Schneiders process automation business development manager for Asia Pacific during the breakout session on the mining, metals, and minerals industry. “There is a very big financial advantage in adopting digital transformation.”

Investing in smart sensors, for one, will have an aggregate savings of more than 51 billion Euros globally for the industry, he added.

The architecture uses a set of customized apps tailor fit for work processes and components in the industry. Hence, there is an app for fuel management, a separate app for smart crane operation, another one for cement optimization, process control for steel, and others.

“These specialized applications are linked together, they talk to each other in the EcoStruxure platform,” Aly noted.

Aside from providing solutions for operational excellence and a digital supply chain, EcoStruxure, which has applications for other industries, also addresses the issue concerning the millennial workforce.

By 2025, 75 percent of the workforce will be composed of millennials. “They will require different types of technologies to work with. The working habits of these people will also change. So we will have to change our processes to accommodate 75 percent of our workforce,” said Aly.

The mining, metals, and minerals industry continues to move forward, spurred by global trends and other factors, namely a growing global population, urbanization, increase of electric vehicles worldwide, and continued use of coal for high-efficiency and low-emission power plants.

The increasing population, projected to reach the 9 billion mark by 2050, will spur demand for minerals by 25% while urbanization will lead to more construction activities. On the other hand, the increase in electric vehicle use will up the demand for copper, cobalt, lithium, and others.

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