Schneider Electric Logo
    Chasseneuil, France
      Customer Objectives:
      • Eliminate inconsistent quality associated with manual inspection
      • Increase efficiency of manufacturing processes using inspection data to optimize production parameters
      • Improve quality control when transitioning to recycled materials
      Key Results:
      • Achieving higher overall product quality using AI-based inspection technology
      • Reduced waste by adjusting machine parameters based on defect data
      • Increased speed of delivery when replicating application blueprints from site to site
      Cognex Solution:

      Leading manufacturers, such as Schneider Electric, are investing in more digitalized production (smart factories) that use connected devices, machinery, and production systems to collect and share data continuously. This data is then used to inform decisions to improve processes and address any issues that may arise. Technology advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, analytics, big data, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) enable Schneider Electric to run plants more autonomously, known as smart manufacturing.

      Using these modern technologies, Schneider Electric’s smart factories learn and adapt in real or near real-time, increasing efficiency, improving quality, and lowering costs. As a strategic machine vision partner to Schneider, Cognex helps Schneider achieve its smart factory goals with machine vision solutions that reliably detect product flaws and capture inspection data, deliver seamless integration into their EcoStruxure IIoT platform, and offer a versatile portfolio that solves a large variety of applications. Cognex also supports Schneider globally through its worldwide service and support.

      Schneider: A Shining Example of Smart Factory Deployment

      Since 2017, Schneider has successfully onboarded nearly 100 smart factories. Schneider Electric’s Smart Factory Program transforms its global supply chain by seamlessly integrating innovative machine vision from Cognex, IT solutions, and data analytics into its manufacturing, logistics, and warehousing operations through EcoStruxure, Schnieder’s IIoT platform (an open IOT architecture designed to optimize operations through the collection and analysis of digital data generated through connected devices). In addition to improved manufacturing efficiency and product quality, with the help of Cognex machine vision solutions, the company has reduced energy costs at individual plants by 10% to 30 % and maintenance costs by 30% to 50%.

      Working with Cognex as a Global Machine Vision Partner

      Cognex has partnered with Schneider Electric for over 20 years and joined Schneider’s Technology Partner Program in 2018. This program brings together independent software developers, system integrators, and tech startups to collaborate on solutions that combine Cognex’s machine vision with  EcoStruxure to optimize production at Schneider’s factories and network of external customers.

      According to Laurent Chantoiseau, GSC Europe Data & Analytics Director at Schneider Electric, “Cognex has been a key partner for Schneider Electric as we have taken our digital transformation journey. Cognex solutions are certified and part of our standards for deployment on our production lines. Our relationship with Cognex is based on a strong partnership.”

      As a result of the success Cognex technologies provided in Schneider Electric’s Smart Factories, they decided to standardize globally on Cognex machine vision and barcode reading technology for several reasons:

      • High accuracy – Cognex vision systems reliably detect product flaws, enabling Schneider to have tighter control of its quality process
      • Fast and easy integration – Cognex solutions support standard communication and networking protocols, enabling quick integration into Schneider’s production systems
      • Connectivity – With easy-to-use set-up wizards, Cognex solutions are fast and easy to install, set up, and deploy
      • Versatility – Flexibility and scalable platforms make it easy to learn and replicate at both a plant level and a global scale

      Schneider has a variety of use cases that range from simple to complex. However, the company values how quickly it can deploy Cognex solutions, which saves time and enables applications to get into production more quickly. Chantoiseau explains, “Cognex edge learning solutions are incredibly easy to set up; generally, in less than 4 hours for a simple use case, we can have an application ready for production.”

      Automated Inspection Opportunities Abound within Scheider's Manufacturing Sites

      Cognex solves dozens of applications across Schneider’s global manufacturing network using a variety of Cognex technology:

      Cognex has been a key partner for Schneider Electric as we have taken our digital transformation journey. Cognex solutions are certified and part of our standards for deployment on our production lines. Our relationship with Cognex is based on a strong partnership.

      ―Laurent Chantoiseau, Data and Analytics Director of GSC Europe
      Schneider Electric

      In Chasseneuil, France, for example, Schneider uses Cognex technology to perform quality inspections on pad and spring components within their Tesys GS modular contactor products. Previously, the company used traditional rule-based machine vision cameras that produced inconsistent quality results, along with a higher than acceptable level of false rejects, which increased Schneider’s non-quality related costs. Cognex edge learning classification tools are now used to identify the presence of contact pads and correct spring assembly, providing quality-enhancing information that helps engineers optimize product design and provides insight to operational teams to adjust production machinery parameters to improve quality.

      Machine vision image showing that all pads on an electrical contactor are present.

      All components correct

      Machine vision image showing that a pad is missing from an assembled electrical contactor.

      Missing pad

      Another application at the Chasseneuil site is cabinet assembly inspection. As cabinets are assembled, they are checked for conformity and overall quality. This multi-part automated inspection process locates the mounting rails and electronic modules within the cabinet. Previously, this process was performed manually by operators. Schneider improved this process with Cognex VisionPro Deep Learning software as it proved to be more accurate, more efficient, and more consistent. Once that step was completed, the part numbers on each module were located and verified against the assembly plan.

      Image of a rack of electrical equipment that shows cabinet rail locations using machine vision

      Locating the rails on an electrical cabinet enclosure

      Machine vision Image that shows locations of individual modules within of a horizontal set of electrical equipment.

      Locating the individual modules

      Machine vision image showing the location of part numbers on the front of various electrical equipment modules.

      Locating the part number on the module

      Machine vision image showing that the part numbers on an electrical module have been read and verified.

      Reading and verifying the part number


      Schneider has adopted recycled material into its packaging process, introducing significant and unpredictable differences in surface appearance, such as color contrast, reflection, and impurities. Cognex VisionPro Deep Learning software and CIC cameras easily inspect parts with considerable variation.

      Cognex Solutions Pay Great Dividends for Schneider

      A critical outcome of smart manufacturing for Schneider is using process and device data to quickly adjust manufacturing parameters to improve product quality and line efficiency. Automating inspections with Cognex vision systems, barcode readers, AI-based technology, and closed-loop feedback systems (where inspection results, such as defect classification data, from the Cognex machine vision solution are fed back into the production process for optimization) allows them to catch defects earlier and adjust manufacturing parameters faster, which has helped to reduce waste and consistently deliver high-quality products in multiple ways:

      Mitigate process drift

      Drift is a common issue in manufacturing, where minor deviations in the production process can lead to out-of-tolerance product attributes (i.e., equipment may need recalibrating, or operators get fatigued as the day wears on). Schneider uses results data from Cognex solutions, such as the In-Sight 2800 and VisionPro Deep Learning software, to help control process drift to keep product quality at desired levels.

      Increased speed of delivery

      Schneider has also increased the speed of delivery through a more efficient production and supply chain process. Either augmenting manual inspection lines or fully automating the inspection process with Cognex machine vision solutions such as the In-Sight 2800, In-Sight D900, or VisionPro Deep Learning software enables Schneider to produce and deliver higher quality products more efficiently and capture and store data for continuous improvement.

      Improved manufacturing efficiency

      Schneider aims to address the fundamental challenge of sustainability while increasing profitability and efficiency. Using Cognex machine vision and AI-based technology, Schneider’s Smart Factories have improved the end-to-end efficiency of manufacturing operations through:

      • Energy efficiency – better visibility, control, and optimization of power consumption and costs
      • Process efficiency – teams manufacture more products using fewer raw materials through better closed-loop measurement, operational tools that support greater throughput, and faster processing
      • Asset performance management – using analytics, the team can optimize how assets are used throughout the factory to improve output and minimize unplanned downtime

      Decreased scrap and raw material consumption

      Cognex machine vision solutions have helped Schneider by reducing scrap and providing digital inspection data to optimize manufacturing and design processes, leading to less raw material consumed and reduced power consumption by machinery.

      Future Plans and Projects

      Even though Schneider and Cognex have worked together for over 20 years, the companies plan to continue the partnership to bring even greater efficiencies to Schneider’s factories and distribution centers. Schneider plans to implement more machine vision-based quality control within manufacturing operations to ensure quality early in the process, reduce false rejects, and improve sustainability metrics.

      Chantoiseau added, “As a partner, we rely on Cognex for our projects. Even though we have succeeded in working on a wide range of improvements with deep learning, we wish to go even further with our inspections to protect our customers. We will always work together to improve our supply chain.”

      Schneider also plans to use Cognex machine vision and AI-based technology to assess production line efficiency and reduce quality risks within their manufacturing process so products are made correctly the first time. The outcomes of these initiatives will reduce Schneider’s impact on the planet regarding waste, material consumption, and expended energy.



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