Felipe Rivera
Industry Business/Process Automation Hub Leader Mexico and Central America
Schneider Electric Systems
View from the Top

Changing Consumer for Prosumer

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 13:02

Q: How can innovation be ingrained into the fabric of organizations and what is Schneider Electric’s role in accomplishing this?
A: The mining industry is under constant pressure to be more sustainable and cost-efficient. As the industry is intensive in energy consumption, cutting costs is directly related to energy efficiency. In turn, achieving energy efficiency will impact the national energy production. I perceive that the industry is committed to these goals and to complying with and even exceed related regulations, which leads it to pursue innovation. At Schneider Electric we have all the required mechanisms to help our customers achieve operational benefits in this transformation. This path also demands the integration of the whole mining supply chain. The end-user expects personalized products with more precise delivery times. These demands require the industry to be more competitive in its supply chain, which implies a digital transformation. The aim is to archive an integration of the information in each link of the chain to enable traceability of every product, which results in more efficient sourcing times. This is particularly important as inaccuracies represent expensive downtimes for mining companies.
Q: With innovative technologies, new ways to approach mining abound. What blue oceans is your company finding in the mining industry?
A: Schneider Electric designed the EcoStruxure architecture. Its added value to the industry is a layer of software, apps and digital services. We are software innovation, app development and digital services leaders. We work to guide our clients in their digital transformations. This transformation is not a product but a substantial change in the ways to operate. For example, a company with the goal of reducing its carbon emissions by half must rethink many of its processes deeply. We can contribute to this makeover throughout the whole mining supply chain by integrating digital solutions that allow our customers to make more strategic decisions. Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure is designed to meet the needs that our clients may have in their transformation processes. We strive to increasingly create interconnectable products that foster open communications. We are committed to the opening of protocols and the development of network devices. Our contribution to the industry is our ability to acquire information from all its phases. This technology was available before, but today it has also become more affordable.
Q: Where is the Mexican mining industry in terms of energy diversification and how are you helping it to achieve this goal?
A: The industry’s energy diversification must consider a solid energy strategy. The idea is not to completely change mining activities from fossil to renewable fuels, but to aim for a hybrid transformation for mining activities and its supply chain. This will allow a stretch from mineral exploration to the delivery of the final product. All the stages of the mining cycle are feasible for energy diversification, especially given that most mine operations in Mexico are located in areas with a high solar capacity. Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Grid enables clients to create their own energy grid, turning clients into prosumers, that is, changing from being a consumer to a producer-consumer. Some mine operations generate energy while others consume it.
Q: On the path to a digital transformation, how can you guarantee a cybersafe environment for your clients?
A: Companies need to gather information from their operation and then share it. When entering this phase, the dilemma revolves around how safe it is to share information. Schneider Electric considers cybersecurity one of its technology pillars. We have two world-class development centers in Germany and the US. One promotes the development of new services and the other is focused on implementation. In Mexico, we have been working with many clients in several mine sites to implement process control systems with the highest cybersecurity standards. We are also developing digital twins for our clients. This digital twin can then be shared with experts on a specific mining phase in a safe way, allowing companies to get the most accurate and effective suggestions for their needs.