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How Does Industrial Automation Ensure Sustainability?

Automation is closely connected to sustainability today. Automation equipment and solutions consume less energy and can improve processes through resource management systems, manufacturing execution systems (MES), and Business Intelligence. This is a major in-demand quality observed in the Schneider Electric PLC and similar products.

Schneider Electric products are made to increase production capacity without investing in extensions and/or new plants. They also aim to bring operational availability to its maximum. Automation helps avoid unplanned downtime and production failures due to the lack of real-time information for decision-makers.

Why Industrial Automation is Important For Businesses

Industrial automation can be implemented in several functions of the business to ensure sustainability. This includes managing materials and products, assembly, process operations (painting, filling, and surface treatments), and verification operations. The operations that belong in manufacturing mainly concern the movement of materials and the controlling of the machines. 

This function is performed by automated shuttle systems and robots that can move freely in space. Schneider Electric provides companies with various automation and control products, including programmable relays to motion controllers and interface modules.

Industrial Automation and Sustainability

Protecting the planet from degradation through sustainable consumption is one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. More countries are now striving to reduce their power consumption. The companies within these countries are setting targets to achieve net zero emission goals. 

Sustainable practices are also important to many stakeholders. The manufacturing companies will have to transform their industrial system to minimize their environmental impact. For that, they need to revamp their production processes to make them more sustainable.

Manufacturers must strive to find new and innovative ways to achieve resource-conserving and flexible production, which will ultimately contribute to the vision of an autonomous factory. Each stage can be more manageable and environmentally sustainable with automation. 

But manufacturers and factory owners must redesign their workplaces to create more sustainable manufacturing. The industry is experiencing a revolution affecting the entire process, from production to supply chains. It focuses on an ever-increasing trend toward the implementation of efficiency and sustainability. 

Industrial Automation and ESG Objectives

To create a higher and longer-term value for their stakeholders, more manufacturing companies are now focusing on investing in improving their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance. Through automation, companies can tweak processes to support ESG goals. 

One of the best examples is Robbie Vest, a robot “employed” by Helse Vest, a health authority based in Norway. By filtering out the letters, the robot not only helped the company minimize its environmental footprint but also helped them save around $550,000 in postage in 2020.

Conclusion

The adoption of automation technologies is an essential step for companies that want to enable sustainable manufacturing. By implementing industrial automation into their processes, companies can focus on sustainability as part of an environmental strategy. Investments in Industry 4.0 technologies, in addition to offering benefits in terms of productivity, also allow for improving the environmental impact through the choice of raw materials.

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