France’s Schneider Electric warms to Thailand 4.0 initiative

Economy February 17, 2018 01:00


SCHNEIDER Electric of France, a leader in digital transformation of energy and other sectors, has embraced the government’s Thailand 4.0 initiative as a key driver of the transformation process.

Luc Remont, executive vice president of Schneider Electric, said in an interview that Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore are among major markets for the firm in Southeast Asia.

Based on its Eco-struxure platform, Schneider focuses on the optimisation and automation of energy systems, industrial and manufacturing sectors, buildings and infrastructure systems.

He said the Eco-struxure platform is designed to connect machines and devices in energy plants, factories, data centres, buildings and infrastructure systems, among others, to boost operational efficiency for cost-saving and higher productivity.

Responsible for the firm’s international business division which covers Asia, excluding China, as well as Africa, Remont said it’s now just the beginning of a global digital transformation journey for most customers.

For example, end-to-end connection of machines and other Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices in the industrial and manufacturing sectors will enable automation and optimisation of entire processes which are a critical goal of the government’s Thailand 4.0 initiative aimed at boosting the country’s international competitiveness.

For the energy sector, he said, many countries have turned to solar, wind and other renewable sources to tackle environmental challenges while decentralising their energy production as evidenced by a rising power generation capacity that uses rooftop solar panels and other systems.

For buildings, the recovery of Thailand’s real estate sector is expected to lead to more investment in the new generation of smart buildings with energy-saving, interactive and mobile control features which can be enabled by the Eco-struxure platform for buildings.

Remont said Thailand has also enjoyed a relatively strong growth of its industrial and manufacturing sector, driven by export demand especially for food and beverages, automobiles, and petrochemicals.

As a result, the country’s demand for automation and optimisation projects is expected to increase due to the wider adoption of more smart factories using Internet-connected machines and devices.

In addition, the demand for smart power grids, building automation, more reliable power system for data centres is projected to rise due to the Thailand 4.0 initiative.

In general, an automation and optimisation project may cost up to $20-30 million with the investment break-even point achieved within a few years’ period due to energy and other savings as well as higher productivity.

On energy consumption, savings are generally up to 50 per cent, while operational efficiency also rises due to less or zero down-time facilitated by predictive analytic in machine and device maintenance.

According to Remont, tourism infrastructure in Thailand is another major market given that there are more than 30 million foreign tourist arrivals in the country per year, so airport and other infrastructure maintenance are necessary .

Numerous hotels and other tourist facilities can also benefit from automation and optimisation to save energy and increase productivity as well as comfort and reliability.

Among Schneider’s major customers in Thailand are Supernap, which has just opened a Bt10-billion state-of-the-art data centre in Chonburi province, and East Water, a major supplier of water for industries on the Eastern Seaboard.