Schneider Electric and Aveva’s Combined Technology Approach

December 02 09:06 2023

2023 brought closure to one of the more elongated acquisitions in the industrial technology space with the completion of Schneider Electric’s acquisition of Aveva. While few large tech company acquisitions are completed quickly, the Schneider Electric/Aveva union featured a few more twists and turns than is typically seen.

For example, the acquisition can be viewed as beginning in 2018 when Schneider Electric acquired a 60% stake in Aveva via a reverse takeover that enabled Aveva to retain its listing on the London Stock Exchange. The acquisition was completed in early 2023 when Schneider Electric acquired the remaining shares in Aveva for just under $11 billion.

Caspar Herzberg was appointed CEO of Aveva in March 2023, taking over the role from Peter Herweck, who is now the CEO of Schneider Electric. Considering the two companies’ long relationship, plus the fact that Herzberg led Schneider Electric’s business in more 80 countries as president of the company’s operations in the Middle East and Africa, Automation World asked him how he views Aveva’s current and future plans as part of Schneider Electric.

“There’s been no issue with how control of Aveva works since the reverse acquisition in 2018,” he said. “I report to a board and they sign off on the strategy. Aveva is a separate company that reports into Schneider Electric. What has fallen away is Aveva’s reporting into the stock market.” He explained that this move was purposeful to “ensure customers get the agnostic software strategy of an independent software company.”

Cross-vertical approach

With more industrial software companies marketing their products across multiple industry sectors, rather than targeting specific verticals as was common practice in the no-too-distant past, we asked Herzberg about Aveva’s view on this. We were curious to learn how he view this development—both as part of Schneider Electric (which targets multiple discrete and process industry verticals) in addition to Aveva’s own history of acquisitions (such as Wonderware and OSISoft)—in terms of what factors he sees driving this trend.

“Domain expertise continues to be important,” he explained. We (Aveva) are broadly focused, but broad against a clearly defined set of customer segments. Our industry-specific partner ecosystem helps build upon the specific needs of customers and we’re able to customize products specifically for certain domains.”

With this broad industry approach becoming more typical, especially among larger technology companies, we asked Herzberg what differs about Aveva’s approach. “No one has it all the way Aveva does,” he said. “Our vision is to bring all our ecosystem capabilities together and open industry’s access to them via Aveva Connect. This kind of collaboration is an essential part of success because industrial companies now have to grow by reducing the amount of resources used to be sustainable. This is not a choice companies will have‚ it will be forced and will require collaboration with data from different systems.”

Case examples

At the Aveva World 2023 event, Sue Quense, Aveva’s chief commercial officer, pointed to several manufacturers using a combination of Aveva and Schneider Electric technologies to highlight Herzberg’s point about the need for data collaboration.

One of those companies was Henkel, a manufacturer of consumer goods and chemicals. To optimize the company’s production processes to increase energy efficiency and conserve resources, Henkel combined its use of Schneider Electric’s ProLeiT Plant iT control system with Aveva’s System Platform to modernize Henkel’s energy-intensive spray drying process used in detergent production.

Schneider Electric’s ProLeiT Plant iT is a PLC-based process control system with integrated MES functionality. Aveva’s System Platform integrates SCADA and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) applications with enterprise business systems.

“With software solutions from ProLeiT by Schneider Electric and Aveva System Platform, we have been able to increase energy efficiency by 3-5%, which is a significant leap in the right direction in terms of sustainability and energy neutrality,” said Martin Pätzold, head of engineering and maintenance—laundry and home care production, at Henkel.

AquaPolo operates Brazil’s largest wastewater treatment plant. Like Henkel, AquaPolo sought ways to increase its operational efficiencies. In particular, it wanted to save a liter of drinking water for every liter of recycled water it produced.

To create this level of efficiency, AquaPolo had to address a severe shortage of potable water in the local community it served, meet the increasing demand for industrial water use, manage 20 different KPIs (key performance indicators) related to water quality and quantity and reduce production costs.

The technologies used by AquaPolo to achieve this were: Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor; Aveva’s Manufacturing Execution System, Historian and Plant SCADA; Modicon M238 and M340 PLCs for edge control; Schneider Electric Harmony HMI; Foxboro instrumentation; and Schneider Electric ConneXium switches.

Aveva Plant SCADA and Historian control and capture information on 20 qualitative and quantitative parameters, while Foxboro sensors ensure accuracy of the readings around effluent entry into the reverse osmosis/ultra-filtration plant and send the information to the Modicon PLCs, which control the industrial water treatment, pumping stations and reservoir operations. AquaPolo operators monitor the process locally via the Harmony HMI and the Aveva MES supports invoice calculation.

Schneider’s EcoStruxure platform provided us with an increase of up to 15% in the plant’s total operational efficiency,” said Sheila de Oliveira, production manager at Aquapolo.

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