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Motion Control Resources

Schneider Electric’s MachineStruxure Can Help Machine Builders Enhance Competiveness

Schneider Electric Motion USA

On May 14 and 15, 2010, ARC Advisory Group held its first China Forum - "Winning Strategies and Best practices for Sustainable Manufacturing: Collaborate and Go Green" in Beijing. Mr. Liu Jinbing, OEM solution marketing manager of Schneider Electric China, addressed the discrete industries session on the first day of this forum. He introduced Machine-Struxure, a new solution architecture, and shared the company’s vision for how original equipment manufacturer (OEM) machine builders in China and elsewhere can use the architecture to improve the performance of their machines and their businesses.

MachineStruxure is part of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure solution architecture, which enables intelligent energy management solutions for customers seeking to optimize energy efficiencies across multiple domains of their business.  According to the company, EcoStruxure connects five domains of expertise: Power, Datacenters, Process and Machines, Building Control and Physical Security – within an open and flexible technology architecture that delivers up to 30 percent savings in energy efficiency.  

Mr. Liu Jinbing pointed out that MachineStruxure could help machine builders excel in all areas, from automation concept and design to operation and maintenance, to be able to develop more energy-efficient and cost-effective machines, while maximizing business performance.

Flexible Hardware and Common Software Environment Across All Machine Control Domains
Today’s machines are becoming more intelligent and energy-efficient.  However, different types of machines typically involve different types of control hardware and software, which then must be configured and programmed to meet a variety of different customer applications.  Different types of machines also typically involve different interfaces and communications.  This all increases complexity and costs for OEM machine builders, who need to master an increasing variety of products and solutions to improve their manufacturing technology and machine performance.

Thus, simplifying machine control for OEMs has become a key challenge for automation suppliers.

Schneider Electric designed the MachineStruxure architecture to help ma-chine builders design more energy-efficient and cost-effective machines, while maximizing their own performance.  MachineStruxure combines flexible and readily scalable hardware platforms with embedded intelligence for logic control (M238 and M258 controllers), motion control (LMC Logic Motion Controller); drive control ATV-IMC controller), and HMI control (XBTG*); a common software environment (SoMachine); TVDA (Tested, Validated, Documented Architecture) and Application Function Blocks; plus end-to-end services and support to provide a comprehensive automation solution for OEM machine builders.

Schneider Electric’s SoMachine software, a key element within the Machi-neStruxure architecture, enables machine builders to design, commission, and maintain logic, drive, motion, and HMI controllers in a single environment.  MachineStruxure’s built in templates and libraries help speed overall project design, and includes application modules and function blocks for both generic automation functions and Application Function Blocks for packaging, hoisting, conveying, HVAC, textile, and lifts and escalators.

Meanwhile, MachineStruxures’ TVDA architecture provides OEMs with predefined, ready-to-use architectures with clear BOM (bill of material) list of components, user guide, CAD panel designs and wiring diagrams. The company’s objective here it to simplify and reduce the time required to design and install machines and reduce design risk.

MachineStruxure Helps Schneider Electric Become a Total Automation Solution Provider to OEM Market
Today’s OEMs face many challenges, such as reducing development costs, shortening time to market, and managing order-related adaptations and modifications, while building innovative, safe, easy-to-use, and energy-efficient machines.  To help them meet these challenges, OEMs expect their automation suppliers to be able to provide them with a total solution, not just the automation hardware and software. 

Schneider Electric designed the company’s MachineStruxure architecture to provide machine-builder OEMs a clear value proposition over the entire machine lifecycle with end-to end services, such as co-engineering support in the design phase; lean manufacturing support in the assembly phase; worldwide support in the sales phase; and global customer support in the operational phase.

In consequence, the OEMs could grow their business by innovation in machines and improving performance of machines, grow their profitability by reducing total machine cost and shortening the time to market.

Energy Efficiency Solutions
According to the World Water Council, world energy consumption has risen 45 percent since 1980 and is projected to be 70 percent higher by 2030.  More efficient use of natural resources is both profitable and better for the environment.  Improved energy efficiency is the quickest, least expensive, and cleanest way for companies to reduce energy consumption and achieve greenhouse gas emission to meet Kyoto targets.

As a global specialist in energy management, Schneider Electric has already developed a broad portfolio of proven solutions for improving energy efficiency.  This includes software to enable companies to size motors to optimize application performance and energy efficiency, calculate energy savings, and provide advanced control for HVAC.  Schneider Electric products for improving energy efficiency include high- efficiency motors, drives with regeneration functions, power meters, and mechatronic solutions.  Services include co-engineering consulting for energy efficiency.

ARC believes that the energy-saving advantages inherent in Schneider Electric’s MachineStruxure automation architecture, combined with the company’s other energy efficiency solutions, can help today’s OEMs in China and elsewhere design and build machines that don’t just perform better and more reliably than previously possible, but also with significantly enhanced energy efficiency. 

Conclusion
ARC believes MachineStruxure represents a significant milestone in Schneider Electric’s transformation in the OEM market from a product provider to a solution provider.  It creates significant opportunities for Schneider Electric to grow its OEM machine builder business in China with a unique offering that integrates a flexible solution architecture with an energy efficiency solution.

Chinese OEMs will surely benefit from MachineStruxure concept for its simplicity, flexibility, expandability, and energy efficiency solutions.  However, Schneider Electric and other global automation suppliers still face challenges when it comes to providing measurable solutions for improved energy efficiency; establishing a professional solution team for solution selling; and evaluating the effectiveness of their service delivery mechanisms.

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