Schneider Electric is optimistic about the prospects for its business in South America over the next five years, as the demand for digitization and investments from industries in energy transition are expected to continue to grow.
“We are seeing a positive cycle in the region in line with digitization. There will be more and more digital demands and the world must be more electric, ”the company’s South American CEO, Rafael Segrera, told reporters at a press conference.
Mobility and remote working involve a lot more business automation, which tends to keep connectivity demand high, he said. At the same time, this will require the training of qualified people on these topics, a critical bottleneck in Latin America.
While the path for a business to be more and more efficient necessarily involves the interconnectivity of assets within its factories, not everyone is ready for it.
“We are not yet at the level [of connectivity within sites] that we need in South America to be more productive and efficient, ”he said in response to a question from BNamericas.
Besides the plants, there is also more to do.
“The second level of the connected factory is the interconnected factories,” he said.
Schneider Electric itself invests in the centralized management of its 200 sites around the world through a smart factory concept.
“Our group of smart factories is working on the possibility of having a control center to visualize the productivity, efficiency, connectivity and all that has to do with the lasting impacts of each of these factories and the actions that we let’s take, ”Segrera said.
On 5G, the executive sees the technology being adopted at varying speeds across the region, as has happened with 4G and 3G. He agrees that this will be a game-changer for manufacturing sectors due to its low latency and high transition capability, but it is not the only technology that can be used to connect objects.
Schneider Electric has worked with partners in the telecommunications industry to connect projects at customer factories using 4G “and even 3G,” the leader said.
FROM WORDS TO ACTION
On sustainability and energy transition, the outlook for the region is just as promising, at least if the long-term goals are maintained.
“When we talk about sustainability we see the commitments of governments and businesses and that will also lead to a high demand for services, products and everything related to it,” he said.
However, the process is expected to be uneven and some sectors will be positively impacted more quickly, while others will have difficulty adapting to new demands, he added.
In addition, the commitments made have yet to be translated into effective actions.
“We hope that these verbal commitments will translate into concrete actions and that these actions will be accelerated,” he said.
According to Schneider Electric’s latest report, CO2 emissions from its top 1,000 suppliers are to be reduced by up to 50% by the end of this decade from current levels. If these targets are not met, it will be virtually impossible to limit the increase in global temperature to the limit of 1.5 ° C set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
It also indicates that buildings consume around 30% of the world’s energy and account for almost 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The company has invested in automation and emissions management platforms for “eco-structures” in Europe and the region, executives said at the press conference.
For industrial sectors such as mining and metals, the company provides platforms and software and hardware solutions for digital twins, preventive maintenance and inventory optimization, they added.
Schneider Electric has also created a new business line, providing advice on energy transition processes, already serving customers in the mining sector in Brazil, Argentina and Chile.