Eaton Modernizes Its Manufacturing Footprint With Two New Smart Factories

  • A newly built and a legacy Eaton site have embraced Industry 4.0 technology to digitalize operations.
  • Best practices and learnings from the smart factories will help accelerate the implementation of Industry 4.0 technology at other Eaton sites.
  • Three additional regional sites, including one in the United States, are planned to go live as smart factories by the end of 2024.

Intelligent power management company Eaton (NYSE: ETN) announced today its continued commitment to modernizing the company’s manufacturing footprint with smart factories in Juarez, Mexico, and Changzhou, China. As both a new build and legacy site, respectively, these electrical manufacturing sites have embraced Industry 4.0 technology and its benefits to digitalize operations. Juarez and Changzhou will serve as models for other Eaton plants, to help accelerate the implementation of advanced digital technologies.

Known as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 leverages automation of traditional manufacturing practices using digital technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, additive manufacturing, factory simulation and augmented and virtual reality to adapt, predict and optimize factory performance. These technologies improve the efficiency of plants, leading to higher product quality, increased speed-to-market, a reduced environmental footprint and a safer and more productive workforce.

“Now, more than ever, there’s an expectation for manufacturers to optimize production, enhance customer experience, and enable innovation, driving the need for the benefits of Industry 4.0 solutions,” said Craig Sutton, vice president, Industry 4.0 at Eaton. “Our plants in Juarez and Changzhou have worked tirelessly to implement the advanced technologies needed to create smart and connected manufacturing environments that will help meet demand.”

Built with Industry 4.0 in mind

Juarez began operations less than two years ago, built from the ground up with Industry 4.0 in mind. Today, this smart and connected manufacturing site employs more than 500 people and has implemented 10 Industry 4.0 technologies. Connected equipment spans every corner of the facility, including molding, stamping, automated feeder lines, manual and automated assembly, subassembly, and facilities equipment. This connectivity has led to an 18 percent improvement in on-time delivery. Digital work instructions provide updates in real-time based on production and design changes, creating an almost paperless environment.

The site also utilizes Eaton’s Asset Performance Management solution, part of the Brightlayer Industrial suite, to track and analyze energy usage, resulting in increased energy efficiency, reduced energy consumption and early identification of significant energy users to reduce emissions and help meet the plant’s sustainability goals. The site has been certified as LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council – recognized globally as a symbol of sustainability achievement – and recycles or reuses 99.8% of all waste.

Digitalizing a legacy site

Operating for nearly two decades and employing more than 370 people, the Changzhou site has implemented advanced technologies including additive manufacturing, factory simulation, autonomous robots, and augmented reality, among others, to digitalize its operations and realize a 26% increase in overall factory efficiency. A connected learning center provides employees with an immersive learning experience before they enter the factory floor.

Eaton’s Intelligent Energy Management solution (available in APAC only) integrates digital and intelligent solutions at the site to optimize power supply from utilities, Photovoltaic solar panels, and an energy storage battery based on the most economical choice. The solution monitors all electrical power usage at the site in real time and reports any abnormalities, allowing for early identification and detection of energy-saving opportunities. Since 2018, Changzhou has decreased greenhouse gas emissions by 50%.

The company continues to invest in its manufacturing, planning to go live with three additional smart factories by the end of 2024, including locations in Austria, Brazil, and the United States. This further investment in North American manufacturing complements the almost $750 million announced in 2023.

Learn more about Industry 4.0 at Eaton here.

Eaton is an intelligent power management company dedicated to improving the quality of life and protecting the environment for people everywhere. We are guided by our commitment to do business right, to operate sustainably and to help our customers manage power ─ today and well into the future. By capitalizing on the global growth trends of electrification and digitalization, we’re accelerating the planet’s transition to renewable energy, helping to solve the world’s most urgent power management challenges, and doing what’s best for our stakeholders and all of society.

Eaton was founded in 1911 and has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange for more than a century. We reported revenues of $20.8 billion in 2022 and serve customers in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit Follow us on LinkedIn.


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