Solutions provided, motivation required

Industrial Energy Management: Schneider Electric wagers that discrete and process manufacturers are serious about energy management, introduces StruxureWare.


Recent company acquisitions and product announcements made by Schneider Electric testify to the automation industry’s increasing focus on industrial energy management. Schneider’s own approach to this emerging market includes offering services that support discrete and process manufacturers negotiating with utilities; supervisory software and systems for managing energy; and increasingly efficient equipment, machines, and devices.

The Schneider push, which includes dubbing itself “the global specialist in energy management,” gives energy-intensive industries a chance to bet on what amounts to a sure thing, the company says.

Andy Gravitt, Schneider Electric senior vice president, industry business, U.S. Courtesy: Schnieder ElectricFirst, “The cost of electricity is only going to go up,” says Andy Gravitt, Schneider Electric senior vice president, industry business, U.S. “About 31% of current energy usage is tied to industry and infrastructure. In manufacturing industries, energy ranges from 5% to 40% of the cost of goods sold.”

Moreover, CMO Aaron Davis points out, while some in the U.S. still dispute whether carbon-based energy constraints and the threat of global warming are real, “it’s a bit like Pascal’s bet on the existence of the Deity. Isn’t the safe bet to assume that they are real, based on what we know today?”

Introduced in October (2011) at an event held in Chicago, StruxureWare is Schneider’s integrated software platform for energy management and process optimization. As has been often pointed out, the initial hurdle in achieving energy cost savings is that, in many industrial settings, electricity is considered a fixed cost and not even monitored, much less controlled, in any meaningful way.

StruxureWare provides “enterprise- wide energy information to help make informed decisions on how to best reduce energy usage and maximize cost savings,” Philippe Delorme, EVP, strategy and innovation, says. StruxureWare is the software platform of EcoStruxure, Schneider’s energy management architecture portfolio connecting five domains: power, data centers, process and machines, building control, and physical security. In coming months, Schneider will introduce StruxureWare for Industry, as well as similar software suites for buildings and the electrical grid.

In March, Schneider announced its intention to acquire Summit Energy Services, a provider of outsourced energy procurement and sustainability services. Summit’s dashboard views are now embedded in StruxureWare. As important, Jeff Drees, president, U.S., Schneider Electric, says, “is how you buy energy. Managing $20 billion of spend, Summit has been able to save its customers $450 million. The utilities are not happy with having a mediator on board. They’re used to working with meters, not customers.”

Schneider’s other recent energy-related acquisitions include an agreement to acquire Telvent for Smart Grid and infrastructure software and services, including in the oil and gas industry; and Lee Technologies for data center efficiency.

Schneider’s MachineStruxure automation solutions are meant to support machine builders that must increase efficiencies, including those related to energy, while participating in a highly competitive, cost-constrained market.

M-Tek, Elgin, Ill., is a maker of modified atmosphere packaging systems used in food industries. The company uses the MachineStruxure solution in its V-60, a packaging system. “It does involve higher input costs into a commodity product, so we have seen longer sales cycles,” says Rick Tkaczyk, EVP, sales and marketing. “But its value-added performance makes the more efficient machine transparently less expensive over time.”

At the end of the day, concludes Davis, “Energy solutions are going to come from global companies working together and driven both by sustainability principles and profit motives.”

- Kevin Parker is content specialist with CFE Media. Reach him at

This is part of the Control Engineering December 2011 Industrial Energy Management supplement.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.