Made in China Leap Forward to China's Intelligent Manufacturing

  From November 19th to 21st, the 2021 China 5G+ Industrial Internet Conference was held at the China Optics Valley Science and Technology Convention and Exhibition Center in Wuhan, Hubei.

Photo by Wu Zhizun (issued by Xinhua News Agency)

  On November 20th, visitors interacted with the simulated robot dog at the "5G+ Industrial Internet Achievement Exhibition".

Photo by Wu Zhizun (issued by Xinhua News Agency)

  On November 19th, visitors experienced a driving intelligent simulator at the "5G+ Industrial Internet Achievement Exhibition".

Photo by Wu Zhizun (issued by Xinhua News Agency)

  With the click of a mouse, the heavy equipment in the workshop is automatically turned on; when you open the mobile app, all kinds of data in the production process are clear at a glance; on the large screen displayed in real time, every corner of the factory can be seen... When the traditional factory encounters digital technology, these The "Factory of the Future" scene that once appeared in science fiction films has become a reality.

Recently, the 2021 China 5G+ Industrial Internet Conference opened in Wuhan, Hubei, and a large number of cutting-edge innovative practices in the field of 5G+ Industrial Internet were unveiled.

  Manufacturing is the lifeline of the country's economy.

In recent years, the new generation of information technology such as 5G and AI (artificial intelligence) has been deeply integrated with the manufacturing industry, and the scope of application has continued to extend to the core links of manufacturing. This has strongly supported the digital, networked, and intelligent transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry, and assisted manufacturing in China. Leap towards China's intelligent manufacturing.

5G empowers full connectivity

  Robotic arms work neatly and uniformly and efficiently, AGV (automatic guided vehicle) is dispatched and delivered in place with zero errors, workers wear AR (augmented reality) equipment for remote maintenance equipment, and 5G CPE (a type of broadband signal or mobile network data that can directly convert broadband signals or mobile network data into WiFi signals) Terminal) Real-time monitoring of robot motor operation dynamics... In the Midea Kitchen and Water Heater Division factory in Beijiao, Shunde, Guangdong, a high-quality 5G network is supporting the high-speed operation of the production line.

  On July 20 this year, this 5G fully-connected smart manufacturing demonstration factory was officially unveiled, stunning the industry.

In the previous year, Midea, China Unicom, and Huawei worked together to plan 19 applications including smart warehousing, smart vehicle management, AI smart monitoring and more than 600 5G connections based on the factory's manufacturing process.

  How important is "5G full connection" for smart manufacturing in factories?

There was a change that impressed Zhao Weidong, director of the Decontamination Branch of the Shunde Plant of Midea's Kitchen Heating Division.

  “AR remote inspection can ensure that we deliver on time during the epidemic prevention and control period.” Zhao Weidong said that during the epidemic prevention and control period, third-party inspections cannot come to the scene in time, and there are obstacles in the communication process between all parties. With the help of 5G, remote Inspection has become a reality. In this way, customers can conduct random inspections after the goods arrive at the port.

"This technology can greatly reduce the resource investment of overseas customers in third-party inspections, and it also reduces the cost of communication between us and overseas distributors."

  Another widely acclaimed digital transformation is 5G fusion positioning technology.

  In the past, the traditional warehousing and logistics system in the park has long faced problems such as the inability of humans, machines and things to track and locate, the unstable industrial WiFi network in mobile scenarios, and the difficulty of parallel maintenance of multiple networks, which increased the cost of personnel searching for goods and affected the efficiency of warehousing and logistics.

  In response to this business pain point, Midea, China Unicom, and Huawei have jointly developed an intelligent storage solution based on 5G+Bluetooth AOA (Angle of Arrival Technology) integrated positioning, and completed the upgrade and delivery.

According to reports, the solution is based on China Unicom's 5G indoor base station and MEC (edge ​​computing technology) private network architecture, deploying a local convergent positioning engine, providing 5G+AOA convergent positioning capabilities, and successfully connecting with Midea's internal system.

  After the application of this technology, the position information of the gripping car in the finished product warehouse of the factory can be accurately transmitted to the storage system, and related to the physical information, the system positioning reaches submeter-level accuracy, and the loading efficiency is increased by 50%.

  "Building a 5G fully connected factory is to leverage the characteristics of 5G's large bandwidth, low latency, and wide connection to create a new model of 5G + industrial Internet intelligent manufacturing, and fundamentally improve production efficiency and benefits." Midea Group IT Director Zhou Xiaoling accepted This newspaper said in an interview.

It is predicted that this 5G fully connected factory can save tens of millions of yuan in costs each year.

AI powers automation

  The machine pinches the two sides of the 8-inch mobile phone and simulates a human hand to repeatedly fold a complete screen inward.

When the screen is unfolded again, the picture is still displayed clearly... In the Xiaomi smart factory in Yizhuang, Beijing, Xiaomi's latest folding screen mobile phone MIX Fold was manufactured in this way.

  From the appearance, the smart factory is no different from the general factory building, but when you open the door, you can find the difference inside: in the factory without lights, the conveyor belt is constantly transporting parts in the air, and one mobile phone is connected one after another. When offline, workers are almost invisible.

Even in the production at night, there is no brightly lit scene, only the equipment status indicator, quality inspection light, etc. continue to flash with dim light, which is full of "science and technology".

  "Don't look at the workers, this factory can produce millions of high-end smartphones a year." Zhou Yi, the director of Xiaomi's smart factory, told reporters that the original intention of building a smart factory was to create a "black light" that could run 24 hours a day. Factory", to realize the full automatic production of production management process, mechanical processing process and packaging storage and transportation process.

  Here, most of the more than 200 processes that a mobile phone has to go through from scratch are completed automatically by smart devices.

Take the Xiaomi MIX Fold mobile phone as an example. More than 1,500 components need to be mounted on the motherboard.

In the past, at least four or five workers were required for the front and back ends of the placement machine, while the main board test link required 10 or 20 workers to operate in an assembly line.

Now, the highly automated SMT (Surface Mount Technology) placement equipment and testing system can completely replace manual operations.

  Consinee's high-end cashmere yarn smart factory located in Jiangbei District, Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province is also a "black light factory".

  Walking into this new five-story factory, which was fully put into operation in June this year, almost no workers were seen.

I saw a brand new machine lined up neatly, and the axle wheels slowly turned, making a slight noise.

The first and second floors are the main production and processing areas. After the cashmere raw materials are poured into the machine from the feeding port on the first floor, they enter the full automatic operation process. Finally, the yarn is made on the second floor, and the winding, doubling, and double-twisting are completed. And other processes.

  "This is the first intelligent, informatized and digitalized factory in the global woolen industry." According to Mou Huangbo, the project leader of Consinee Smart Factory, the newly added 10 woolen lines can produce 1,500 tons of high-end cashmere yarn per year. Nearly 2 times that of ordinary production lines.

  Automation is the secret of a busy factory running in the dark.

Intelligence is the real reason why smart factories operate in an orderly manner and are more efficient.

Behind the "Black Light Factory", the most cutting-edge technologies such as AI, Internet of Things, edge computing, cloud computing, and big data are covered. The integration of these technologies has realized the efficiency improvement of core links such as factory production and logistics.

  Zhou Yi said that the application of AI technology is a higher-level requirement for intelligent manufacturing. As the "most powerful brain" decision-making system for smart factories, it uses big data, analysis engines, dynamic knowledge graphs, and adaptive capabilities to improve dynamic and multi-dimensional information. On the basis of collection, it can make independent judgments, reasoning and forward-looking decisions on complex problems. At the same time, the system also has the ability of self-learning and self-adaptation.

"In other words, mobile phone surface assembly, testing, motherboard processing, pre-assembly, and complete machine testing can be unmanned, all because the machine can make predictions'autonomously'."

  In Consinee, the same is true.

According to Mou Huangbo, workers only need to place an order on the computer of the central control center, and the system can automatically complete the entire process of wool selection, feeding, yarn formation and finished product packaging and quality control.

Not only that, the entire intelligent system also completes the weighing, labeling, and packaging of the finished bobbins, assembling them into boxes, and packing them into storage.

  At present, Xiaomi Beijing Yizhuang Smart Factory has increased the automation rate of more than 200 processes in mobile phone production to 75%, and the cost has been reduced by 20%.

In Consinee, the smart factory will increase production efficiency by 50%, increase inventory turnover by 100%, and shorten delivery cycles by 50%.

Smart manufacturing is the trend

  Whether it is typical scenarios such as factory intelligent tally and global logistics monitoring, or key industries such as mining, power, and steel, the upgrading and transformation of manufacturing by new generation information technologies such as 5G and AI has gone deep into all aspects.

  Midea Group has started its digital transformation in 2012. Through a series of measures including digital products, software and solutions, it has achieved end-to-end transformation and upgrading of the entire value chain, and has achieved remarkable results in improving quality and efficiency, as well as energy conservation and emission reduction.

Zhou Xiaoling introduced several of these links to reporters with examples.

  In the sourcing process, Midea has developed a public cloud system. From factory scheduling to inventory to product quality and other information, upstream and downstream suppliers in the industry chain can receive it in real time, clearly and clearly.

With this system, the synergy efficiency between Midea and its suppliers has increased by 42%, and the complete set rate has increased to 96%.

This means that when the factory needs it, hundreds of materials can be delivered on time, and the factory can start production immediately.

  In the order scheduling process, manual scheduling was used in the past, which was time-consuming and low accuracy, which caused confusion in production and made it impossible to coordinate production and sales.

Now, relying on a set of intelligent systems developed by Midea, based on multi-level processing logic and adding intelligent algorithms, the scheduling efficiency has increased by 70%, and the scheduling accuracy has increased to 90% or even more than 95%, basically without manual labor. Make another adjustment.

  The quality control of production management has also been significantly improved.

In the Shunde factory of Midea microwave ovens, the AI ​​quality inspection system of "5G+AI+cloud technology" is applied, which can complete all the steps of taking 5 photos, uploading to the cloud platform, analyzing and outputting the results within 1.3 seconds of the production cycle.

Before this system is put into use, manual inspection takes 30 seconds. Because it is a regular sampling inspection, batch accidents may be caused if the inspection is missed.

  According to the "Fourteenth Five-Year Plan for Intelligent Manufacturing Development" (draft for comments) issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, intelligent manufacturing is based on the in-depth integration of new generation information technology and advanced manufacturing technology, which runs through all aspects of manufacturing activities such as design, production, management, and service. , With the characteristics of self-perception, self-decision, self-execution, self-adaptation, self-learning, etc., it is an advanced production method aimed at improving the quality, efficiency and core competitiveness of the manufacturing industry.

  As the main direction of building a manufacturing power, the development level of intelligent manufacturing is related to the global status of China's future manufacturing industry. It plays an important role in accelerating the development of a modern industrial system, consolidating and strengthening the foundation of the real economy, building a new development pattern, and building a digital China.

  For the development of the manufacturing industry, digital transformation is no longer a "multiple choice", but a "compulsory course" related to survival and long-term development.

  Zhou Xiaoling said that from the perspective of the external environment, with the development of the times, digital technology can be maturely applied to the manufacturing industry, and many international companies are already at the forefront; from the perspective of Midea’s own development, it can increase production capacity and reduce costs without increasing the area of ​​the factory. , To improve product quality, productivity must be digitized and intelligent.

  "Intelligent manufacturing in an ideal state should be to open up information between people, people and equipment, equipment and equipment, and rely on data to drive all production activities. Midea's digital transformation will continue to innovate product services and business models, and better Land empowers the industry and builds a mutually beneficial and win-win ecology." Zhou Xiaoling said.

  According to Wang Xiang, President of Xiaomi Group, the future direction of Made in China is intelligent manufacturing.

"In order to be a smart factory, we have invested in 110 smart equipment companies in three years. At present, Xiaomi’s ability to build smart manufacturing involves acoustic testing, radio frequency testing, optical testing, AI vision testing, robotic automation, and precision assembly. In other fields, it has realized that 90% of the equipment in the factory is self-developed by Xiaomi or invested by enterprises, which will effectively promote the coordinated development of China’s smart manufacturing."

Optimistic about the new future of the industry

  The latest white paper "Lighthouse Factory Leading the Digital Transformation of Manufacturing Industry" released at the China 5G+ Industrial Internet Conference shows that as of September 2021, 90 factories worldwide have been selected as "Lighthouse Factory", and China has 31 "lighthouse factories". Become the country with the most "lighthouse factories" at present.

  "Lighthouse Factory" is known as "the most advanced factory in the world". It is a model of "digital manufacturing" and "globalization 4.0" jointly selected by the World Economic Forum in Davos and McKinsey & Co., representing today's global manufacturing industry. The highest level of intelligent manufacturing and digitization.

  A study by senior McKinsey experts on China's "lighthouse factory" found that, compared with other countries, Chinese manufacturers are more willing to embrace the end-to-end digital transformation of the entire value chain.

At the same time, the increasing personalized demand of Chinese users, increasingly fierce brand competition, and vigorous development of e-commerce business are also forcing Chinese companies to carry out end-to-end digital transformation.

  On November 4, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and other four departments issued the "Intelligent Manufacturing Pilot Demonstration Action Implementation Plan", proposing to build a batch of smart manufacturing demonstration factories with high technical level and significant demonstration effects by 2025, cultivate a number of smart manufacturing pilot areas, and concise summary A batch of excellent scenarios of intelligent manufacturing with a high level of technology and promotion and application value will drive breakthroughs in a number of key technologies, equipment, software, standards and solutions, promote the pilot application of intelligent manufacturing standards, and explore the formation of intelligent transformation with industry and regional characteristics Upgrade the path and carry out large-scale promotion and application.

  Many places have already taken the lead.

For example, Guangdong Province has issued the "Implementation Plan and Several Policy Measures for Digital Transformation of Manufacturing Industry", proposing to accelerate the construction of a strong manufacturing province, a strong network province, and a strong digital economy. Promote the digital transformation of manufacturing.

Zhejiang Province has initiated the implementation of the Smart Manufacturing Action Plan in 2018. At present, it has identified 12 "future factories" with features such as digital twin applications, smart production, and smart management, 16 fostering companies, and 33 pilot companies.

  Feng Chengda is a worker who has worked in Midea's microwave oven factory in Shunde for 6 years. This factory was selected as the "Lighthouse Factory" in March this year.

He doesn't quite understand what a "lighthouse" is, but in the past few years, he has clearly felt that workers no longer do simple manual labor, and the workshop is becoming more and more intelligent and advanced.

When he first entered the factory, he was mainly engaged in some simple processes, gradually learned the electrical drawings of the equipment system, and competed to become an equipment maintenance technician in the department assembly workshop, achieving a leap in professional levels.

  The personal growth stories of "Feng Chengda" each reflect a new era and a broader picture: China is increasing its efforts in the digital, networked, and intelligent transformation of its manufacturing industry, and it is accelerating its efforts to become a manufacturing power.

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