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Manufacturers with many factories have two paths to digital transformation. They can either develop and deploy unique applications for each manufacturing facility—which would produce a variety of use cases and inconsistent results—or they can focus on common, high impact use cases that have value across all their manufacturing facilities.

Harnessing Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technology helps modern manufacturers drive efficiency, increase agility, and outperform their competitors. But the transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Rather, manufacturers need to take stock of current capabilities and lay the foundation—connectivity and a unified IT/OT digital platform—for a wide range of I4.0 use cases. From a strong digital foundation, manufacturers can realize exponential value by developing consistent, repeatable processes that scale across the enterprise and maximize impact.

Eaton is a prime example of a company that implemented scalable, high-impact use cases to transform. With over 200 manufacturing facilities around the globe, Eaton partnered with LTI to leverage PTC’s Factory Insights as a Service standardized IIoT applications, realizing quick wins, and forming a digital foundation on which they can easily add more use cases.

Knowing they needed to approach digital transformation with a strategic vision, Eaton established an Enterprise I4.0 Governance Council to foster engagement and establish buy-in from leadership across all divisions. With the goal of increasing efficiency across the enterprise, the council evaluated various challenges and opportunities for growth. By identifying organization-wide goals for improving operational performance, quality, and speed to market, the council brought the top organization-wide priorities front and center. These included:

  • Reducing equipment downtime and minimizing human errors to decrease production expenses and improve quality and safety.
  • Decreasing tooling costs and lead time to reduce overall costs for complex designs.
  • Shortening changeovers and creating simpler process instructions to reduce training time.
  • Meeting complex customer requirements and improving delivery timing to increase business, gain customers, and drive revenue.

By mapping out their challenges and opportunities for improvement, as well as focusing on deploying consistent applications that could scale across many factories, our client began to set the stage for enterprise-wide growth. “We set out to foster a culture of knowledge sharing. Our goal is to make it easier for our employees and customers to solve problems, identify business value, and measure success,” says Craig Sutton, Vice President, Industry 4.0, Eaton. To find the best path forward for every part of their business, the client committed to a methodical evaluation process.

Founded in 1911, Eaton is an intelligent power management company with energy-efficient products and services that help their customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical power more reliably, efficiently, safely, and sustainably. More than 100 years after creating the first gear-driven truck axle, Eaton stays true to their founding principles, maintaining a spirit of innovation that drives industry forward. Today, they employ more than 90,000 people and serve customers in over 175 countries around the world.

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