As a first step, today’s push toward digitization has many facility operators considering electrical upgrades and replacing equipment with newer models. Though this approach can ensure the connectivity and access to cloud-based analytics and monitoring that modern industrial operations require, the wholesale replacement has big bottom-line implications that strains CapEx budgets. It also has environmental costs, with old equipment discarded while it still has useful life remaining.

However, another option is a modernization approach that upgrades individual components to today’s digitized standards while keeping the bulk of the equipment in place.

This move can give electrical systems new life at a fraction of replacement costs – and carbon footprint. These upgrades can add connectivity and analytic tools to migrate operations to conditioned-based maintenance to optimize equipment operation and ongoing maintenance budgets.

What digitization brings to electrical operations

For facility owners and managers, the connectivity that comes with digitized electrical systems brings multiple benefits, including:

1. Condition-based maintenance- Manufacturers’ suggested preventive maintenance schedules can be broad estimates that don’t necessarily reflect the specific needs of individual installations.

With digitization, sensors and connectivity provide clear insight into critical operating conditions such as temperature and humidity in near-real time. Cloud-based analytic systems use this data to guide precisely when and where maintenance is required, with the potential for labor savings and reduced downtime in the future. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates this approach can cut bills by 8% to 12% over standard preventive methods and up to 40% compared to reactive, run-to-failure approaches.

2. Access to expertise- With Schneider Electric’s retrofit solutions, your connected equipment also benefits from our engineering expertise. We can work with you to optimize your electrical distribution system’s performance and give you tangible guidelines to prioritize maintenance operations.

3. Improved sustainability- With digitization, you can add years or decades to the life of existing equipment. This doesn’t just reduce your operating costs but your operations’ carbon footprint as well. Repairability and circularity are no longer options- carbon impact is a key criterion when choosing your modernization strategy.

What is modernization?

Electrical distribution equipment is designed to have a very long service life (e.g., 15+ years for circuit breakers). Equipment considered for replacement might still be in good operating condition but lack advanced technologies since its installation.

Digital modernization focuses on adding the digital sensors and monitoring capabilities needed to provide visibility into system operations and fully understand, ensure, and improve overall performance.

With this modernization comes new connectivity capabilities and remote electrical equipment monitoring by local SCADA systems. It also adds the option to incorporate cloud-based analytics from equipment manufacturers to ensure ongoing maintenance is based on actual machine usage and conditions rather than a generalized schedule.

 



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