Eaton Implements Smart Manufacturing Tools for Factory Efficiency, Emissions Reductions

Eaton worker operates automated factory machine

(Credit: Eaton)

by | Feb 14, 2024

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Eaton has reported energy efficiency gains and emissions reductions from modernizing two of its smart factories in Juarez, Mexico, and Changzhou China, where the company has implemented digital automation technologies and other sustainable practices in its manufacturing operations.

The sites use Industry 4.0 technologies, which automate traditional manufacturing through the use of Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, additive manufacturing, factory simulation, and other digital tools. These technologies have been found, by a number of companies, to both improve product quality and reduce the often heavy emissions caused by manufacturing plants.

“Now, more than ever, there’s an expectation for manufacturers to optimize production, enhance customer experience, and enable innovation, driving the need for the benefits of Industry 4.0 solutions,” said Craig Sutton, vice president of Industry 4.0 at Eaton. “Our plants in Juarez and Changzhou have worked tirelessly to implement the advanced technologies needed to create smart and connected manufacturing environments that will help meet demand.”

The company said it plans to bring smart technologies to three more of its factories in Australia, Brazil, and the United States by the end of 2024.

How Facilities Benefit from Smart Technology Implementation

The Juarez facility includes connected equipment for molding, stamping, assembly, and more, reportedly allowing for an 18% improvement in on-time delivery. The facility uses Eaton’s Asset Performance Management solution to keep track of energy usage and identify potential areas for reduced energy consumption. Operations also include digital work instructions to allow for nearly paper-free procedures, and the facility is reportedly able to recycle or reuse 99.8% of all generated waste.

The manufacturing facility in Changzhou, meanwhile, has been able to achieve a 26% increase in factory efficiency through the use of Industry 4.0 technologies, according to the company. Eaton’s Intelligent Energy Management solution is used by the site to optimize power supply from utilities, solar panels, and an energy storage battery, depending on the most cost-effective option at a given time. The factory has been able to reduce its emissions by 50% since 2018, according to Eaton.

Companies are increasingly adopting smart manufacturing technologies as they recognize similar benefits to these facilities. The smart manufacturing industry is expected to grow to $241 billion by 2028 according to MarketsandMarkets, especially as automated systems are found to significantly reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing while saving on energy costs for businesses.

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