The Collaborative Automation Partner Program (CAPP) works with technology partners who provide essential elements to our overall customer solutions. This strong collaboration between Schneider Electric and CAPP Technology Partners, ProSoft Technology and Pepperl+Fuchs, was evident in a project for Total Agroindustria Canavieira S.A., an ethanol producer located in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Ethanol is considered to be a highly viable source of renewable energy and fossil fuel alternative.
Due to this, production rates increased by 400% in the early 2000s. Brazil is considered to be one of the world’s largest and oldest ethanol producers. In 2009, it started to face rapidly growing energy demands while also seeking to add value to its economy. It began to focus on increasing domestic production. Also in 2009, Total Agroindustria Canavieira invested approximately US$145.5 million to build an ethanol plant designed to produced 100,000 cubic meters of hydrated ethanol per year and 20MW of power.
Total Agroindustria Canavieira looked for a reliable production system that would require only a minimum number of operators. In other words, the company wanted to invest most of its money in technology, rather than staff, to make the plant as automated as possible, convinced that this would ensure a higher level of efficiency. The customer also wanted a system that would be scalable to handle future expansions. Finally, they looked for a single vendor that would be able to supply all necessary elements, including low voltage, automation, and control.
The solution deployed by Schneider Electric was based on EcoStruxure Plant (formerly known as PlantStruxure), Schneider Electric’s collaborative, integrated automation architecture for industrial and infrastructure applications, which helps companies like Total Agroindustria Canavieira meet their automation needs with high energy efficiency. This solution was built on ethernet for optimal data availability. The EcoStruxure Plant architecture allowed for easy integration of the third-party modules supplied through the CAPP partnership program. Specifically, Gold Technology Partner ProSoft Technology provided all of the Profibus DP/PA devices that were connected through ethernet gateways, and Silver Technology Partner Pepperl+Fuchs provided the PA/DP segment coupler.
Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Plant solution delivered numerous benefits, including:
- Reduced engineering time and cost: Vijeo Citect’s Speedlink featured allowed tags configured in the PLC to be automatically imported to the SCADA system, greatly reducing configuration time and the margin for error.
- Reduced operational costs: Through EcoStruxure Plant, 35 fewer employees were needed to operate the plant. Operations are now managed from the control room via the SCADA system.
- Reduced maintenance costs: Usually, plants are located away from population centers because of their reliance on agriculture. Schneider Electric’s solution allows staff to remotely monitor and control plant operations via ethernet, saving time when identifying issues that may arise. Additionally, staff do not need to be onsite at all times to address any such issues.
- Increased production: Schneider Electric was able to reduce equipment failure rate and downtime by 15%
- Reduced training and start-up costs: Our in-house training capabilities saved Total Agroindustria Canavieira nearly US$35,000. The solution, which integrated tried and tested components from our Collaborative Automation Partners, helped Total Agroindustria Canavieira achieve its goal of producing more energy for less.