MANIFEST VEGAS 2024 — Schneider Electric leveraged artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to eliminate maintenance issues at its automated smart factory in Kentucky, Kenneth Engel, SVP of internet giants at the company, said Tuesday morning at the Manifest 2024 conference.
Schneider had put in a mile-long overhead conveyor system above the manufacturing operations to replace trucks that were previously used inside the factory. The new system has 1,700 chain links and hooks that move the products and materials from one place to the next, and is equipped with radio frequency identification technology to help accurately move several thousand SKUs.
“Jams happen because, as you might imagine, the factory has several transfer points where there’s handoffs from one hook to another hook,” Engel said. “So, the biggest problem that we had was to figure out how to stop the chain breaks and be more predictive with that.”
The company used AI and machine learning to determine where to put sensors in an overhead conveyor system, partly by analyzing the system’s digital twin.
The digital automation and energy management specialist used its company-owned Aveva software to notify an employee when there might be a problem or if the chain breaks, Engel noted.
“And it’s working,” he added. “We’ve eliminated the problem completely through the use of AI and machine learning.”
Schneider Electric’s 5,000 square-foot automated Lexington, Kentucky, factory takes in sheets of foil and transforms them into products. More specifically, the site manufactures load centers with circuit breakers and commercial safety switches, Engel said.
Products also move from the smart factory straight to the warehouse and are ordered on a “real time basis.” Schneider used technologies like AI and machine learning to enhance efficiency in its operations. In turn, this example has saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars of labor in addition to time and delivery performance to Schneider’s customers, Engel said.
Correction: The spelling of Aveva, the company-owned software, was corrected.