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Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Micro Data Center R-Series will be available in Europe by June, the company announced Monday. The series is geared at rugged indoor environments and is designed to be resilient and quick to deploy to help manage edge computing infrastructure within industrial and manufacturing environments, according to Schneider Electric.

EcoStruxure is an open, interoperable, IoT-enabled system architecture and platform that incorporates safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability and connectivity components, the company said. EcoStruxure has been deployed in nearly 500,000 sites, according to Schneider Electric.

Micro data centers are becoming increasingly essential to address everything from the convergence of IT and OT to the enabling of IIoT applications as more industrial operators deploy Industry 4.0 technologies to increase productivity, safety and automation, the company said. They aim to make IT on the factory floor more reliable and simpler to deploy. Six new models will be available as part of the launch.

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“As Industry 4.0 and advanced automation technologies continue to drive transformation within industrial environments, IT must be deployed closer to the point of use, enabling increased productivity and efficiency,” said Rob McKernan, senior vice president, secure power division, for Schneider Electric, Europe, in a statement.

The new IP and NEMA-rated EcoStruxure Micro Data Center R-series offerings are designed to help industrial manufacturers and distributors across the region reap the benefits of improved performance and reliability on the factory floor, McKernan said.

Features of the EcoStruxure Micro Data Center systems

EcoStruxure Micro Data Center systems are configurable, pre-packaged, enclosed rack systems that include power, cooling, security and management. Schneider Electric said they can save up to 40% in field engineering costs, get systems to market 20% faster, and reduce maintenance costs by 7%.

Micro data centers take advantage of existing infrastructure and can potentially reduce capital expenses by 48% over a traditional build. The new R-series reinforces these benefits and helps customers alleviate difficulties because they are designed with the following features:

  • The ability to withstand harsh indoor environments and applications with minimum ingress protection ratings of IP54 and NEMA 12. Industrial edge environments can be challenging with high levels of dust, moisture and wide temperature variations.

  • The ability to be managed remotely with Schneider Electric’s portfolio of software and digital services when there’s limited-to-no on-site IT staff. EcoStruxure IT, an open, vendor-agnostic platform, provides the power and flexibility for users to manage critical infrastructure on their own, with a partner, or to allow Schneider Electric’s service engineers to manage the assets for them.

  • The series is equipped with security features, such as access control, intrusion detection and security cameras that allow it to go in unsecured locations.

  • The ability to standardize a company’s design across multiple environments with a single, all-in-one-solution, which can be easier to deploy and maintain than disparate systems.

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What industrial edge computing?

For industrial operators to capture the benefits of increased automation, they cannot rely on cloud technology alone to bring the resiliency and speed demanded by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other Industry 4.0 technologies. Local edge data centers are IT infrastructure enclosures/spaces/facilities distributed geographically to enable endpoints on the network.

When in industrial environments, such as a manufacturing plant or distribution center, this application is referred to as “industrial edge computing.” Analysts have identified the edge as becoming increasingly important.

Industrial digitization brings new levels of visibility and traceability across the supply chain, as well as offering improved production, efficient operations and enabling data-based decision making, the company said.

Schneider Electric is sponsoring a food and beverage industrial edge computing virtual event on Tuesday, May 18, at 4 pm CEST, to help companies in this vertical learn how industrial edge computing can help accelerate business resilience, performance, and efficiency. Schneider Electric said its experts will be joined by those from ProLeit and Stratus Technologies.