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Executive Summary

Benefitting from the IIoT Thanks to Process Drives


  1. Intelligent connected drives offer measurable benefits to the business.
  2. IIoT drives collect data and make real-time decisions that optimize processes.
  3. Businesses decrease energy consumption and associated costs with process drives.
  4. Drives make real-time decisions that minimize costly asset downtime


The industry of tomorrow will be different. More volatile markets, new technology capabilities, and increased pressure on performance will precipitate the change. But with change comes opportunity…the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has unleashed huge potential for industrial customers to be more responsive, connected and efficient. There is a reported $14 trillion of new business growth up for grabs – and a goal of better business performance can help you earn your fair share of that growth. How can you make the most of this potential?


Using modern process drives like Schneider Electric’s Altivar Process variable speed drives (VSDs), plant operators are able to take advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Using the IIoT, these drives collect and analyze data that helps the business optimize processes, manage energy consumption, and minimize costly asset downtime.


In our recent webinar, Richard Jennens discussed the benefits IIoT-connected drives like Altivar bring to plant operations. On this site, you can read a summary of the webinar, download a PDF of it or watch the webinar.

  • Simone Gianotti US EcoStruxure Industry Business Development Manager, Schneider Electric

    Mr. Gianotti’s professional experience started as an application engineer for Motion and Automation, working with customers on the factory floor to help develop and commission the software for machines in the material working, material handling, and packaging segments. Moving into a position as a Trainer brought Simone to acquire international experience traveling to Europe, Asia and eventually to America where he moved in 2009.

    As the next step, Mr. Gianotti’s moved to Product Management and Marketing, first as responsible for the Safety offer and then as Offer Manager for Motion. As Motion Product Manager, Simone has witnessed the development of the first Smart Machines, and joined the Schneider Electric’s Global group in charge to develop that concept for the Machine Builders. The activity as a member of the Smart Machine group brought Simone to explore more and more the IIoT and the Industry 4.0 worlds, leading to the new role within Schneider Electric as Business Development Manager for the Industry Digital Offer for the US.


Explore the latest generation of “smart” Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) and how their advanced capabilities elevate them beyond traditional “shaft turning” to the full realization of the Industrial Internet of Things.

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Intelligent connected drives offer measurable benefits to the business.

The Industrial Internet of Things changes the way that system components interact, turning variable speed drives into information resources that help the business run.

These intelligent connected drives offer measurable benefits to the business, including:

Reduced downtime
of up to 20%

Optimized energy usage
of up to 30%

Enhanced system safety


These next-generation drives—including Schneider Electric’s Altivar Process VSDs—are services-oriented devices. They help businesses decrease costs in three key areas:

1. Process optimization uses program functions within the driver to monitor processes and respond to changing conditions, maximizing the performance and efficiency of the process and assets.


2. Energy management monitors and optimizes the consumption and usage of energy.


3. Asset management integrates predictive maintenance functions and the detection of process abnormalities to reduce downtime and maintenance, as well as protect and prolong the life of physical equipment.

“With this new generation of drives, the drive is no longer just a simple, humble actuator obeying instructions from the plant controller, it starts being an information resource. By doing this, it can make a real difference in how well you can operate your plant.”

Richard Jennens, Senior Product Specialist, Process Drives, Schneider Electric


VSD Guide

Dive deeper into the benefits of the Industrial Internet of Things through variable speed drives with this comprehensive overview. See how industrial stakeholders can achieve lower total cost of ownership, greater efficiency, and improved energy management.

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IIoT drives collect data and make real-time decisions that optimize processes.

A basic VSD follows instructions issued to it by the system to control when and how fast the motor should run. An intelligent VSD goes well beyond basic operations, collecting and analyzing information allowing it to respond to changing process conditions in real time.


IIoT drives use data to make decisions without human intervention, but offer operators dashboards and logs to give them visibility into the system. These drives will also alert operators when human intervention is necessary.

Altivar drives provide process optimizations in several ways, as shown below.

Altivar drives provide process optimization
Real-Time Data Monitors systems with real-time data, including for application control functions, system integration, and analytics. Offers application performance monitoring and optimization.
IIoT Plant Integration Ease of integration saves money, both in time spent programming and configuring systems and in asset investment and maintenance costs.
Multi-Drive Link Architecture Ethernet-based real-time communication between master and up to five slave drivers reduces costs with the advanced management of complete installations inside the drive and service continuity.

This architecture is typically used with master slave systems, speed followers, and load sharing systems like conveyors, as well as with multiplex pumping systems.

Booster Control Provides decentralized application expertise to maintain the desired pressure or flow at the system outlet using a multi-drive architecture. This decreases installation costs, reduces energy consumption, and manages mechanical wear.
Monitor Pump Operation and State Efficiency Analyzes the pump characteristic curves input to monitor flow rates without the expense and difficulty of installing a flow measuring device. Signals operators in an emergency, such as a pipe breakage, so that they can resolve problems quickly.

“Having an intelligent connected drive is like having an application engineer sitting full-time on your process, reviewing what’s going on and making sure it’s running smoothly.”

– Richard Jennens, Senior Product Specialist, Process Drives, Schneider Electric

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Businesses decrease energy consumption and associated costs with process drives.

When plants first began using VSDs to control motors, one of the earliest reasons was to save energy and
costs in operations. IIoT drives take energy management even further by enabling businesses to see what their actual energy consumption is and how their patterns are changing, and to guide them in their response.

Intelligent Altivar drives provide improved energy management in several ways, as shown in the table below.

Altivar drives aid in energy management
Energy Monitoring Smart metering with Altivar process drives provides energy consumption information of greater than 95% accuracy, enabling businesses to monitor energy consumption, detect trend changes, and anticipate maintenance to optimize the operation process and save costs.
Stop & Go Function Increases energy savings up to 60% by moving a drive from standby mode to stop mode when it is not in use. This functionality is best used for drives that don’t need to respond immediately when requested.
Friction Loss Compensation Maintains pressure in a system that has a variable flow rate, such as in a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. This functionality provides accurate pressure control at point of use and additional energy savings at reduced flow rates.

“Energy Management is going beyond just taking advantage of physics to save money. It’s knowing what you’re doing in terms of energy consumption, knowing when patterns are changing, and when necessary, acting in response to them. It’s being able to report on energy use and also creating and implementing additional strategies to further improve energy efficiency.”

Richard Jennens, Senior Product Specialist, Process Drives, Schneider Electric

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Drives make real-time decisions that minimize costly asset downtime.

Asset management is critical to the business, since unplanned downtime can be costly. Today’s process
drives monitor performance, detecting, preventing, and alerting on issues that can help the business minimize costly unplanned downtime.

Altivar drives help the business improve asset management and reduce costly downtime in several ways, as shown in the table below.

Altivar drives improve asset management
Anti-Jam Function Unwanted debris, such as a plastic bag in a waste water lift station, can clog and damage systems. The anti-jam function detects these potential problems and automatically executes forward and reverse pump rotations to clear the clog, alerting operators if it cannot clear it. This results in reduced downtime and manual maintenance.
Pipe System Protection A low rate pipe fill mode eliminates the occurrence of water hammering, which can burst or break pipes when filled too rapidly.
Smarter Maintenance Augmented reality, such as dynamic QR codes, helps operators access the information necessary to troubleshoot and resolve problems quickly, keeping downtime low.
Cybersecurity Achilles Level 2 Ensures the systems and networks are robust and meet both current and emerging cybersecurity standards and government regulations. This reduces costs associated with comparing claims of system robustness and security.

“Minimizing or eliminating that downtime means more production time. It means a more stable operation. It means happier customers. It’s the holy grail of process operations.”

Richard Jennens, Senior Product Specialist, Process Drives, Schneider Electric

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