Digital tech fuels manufacturing growth in Yangtze River Delta
en.hangzhou.com.cn   2024-06-21 14:50   Source: Xinhua

Region a hub for technological innovation and development

HANGZHOU/NANJING — At an electronics workshop in the Yangtze River Delta region, automated machines follow computer programs, with one directing a storage system for materials. Soon, a one-meter-tall robot is ready to deliver the necessary components.

"Several major production lines in our factory have achieved automated workflows throughout the production process, and we will continue to expand them," said Ge Yongming, director of digital and intelligent operation at Suzhou Good-Ark Electronics Co Ltd, in East China's Jiangsu province. As he spoke, several small logistics robots bustled along the production line behind him.

Covering a large range of products, Good-Ark Electronics has more than 100,000 kinds of materials needed for production, most of which are components, such as diodes, that measure a few millimeters in length. The challenge of accurately storing and dispatching thousands of materials during production prompted Good-Ark Electronics to initiate a new round of digital upgrades in 2022.

However, there was no existing automated conveyor system for millimeters-long electronic components. Good-Ark Electronics and its partners had to invent a special, customized digital production line.

Stereoscopic warehouse, collaborative robotic arms, automated roller lines … Customizing automated production lines requires many equipment suppliers, but it's convenient for Good-Ark Electronics because all the required manufacturers can be found in the same industrial park.

"Initially, we had no idea what the final production line would look like. When we came up with an idea, we would share it and go to each other's factory to check the feasibility in front of the equipment, and we ended up refining it for almost two years before it took shape," Ge said.

Today, Good-Ark Electronics operates an automated production system that spans multiple processes, which has increased material retrieval accuracy to 100 percent and reduced retrieval time from 20 minutes to just three minutes.

Good-Ark Electronics is an example of the mutual-benefit cooperation among agglomerated manufacturing enterprises in digitalization transformation, and the Yangtze River Delta (Hangzhou) Manufacturing Digitalization Empowerment Center in Zhejiang province reflects the trend of cross-city technology cooperation in the Yangtze River Delta region.

On a large screen in the center's display area, the digital twin virtual production line, which is identical to the physical production line, shows all production processes so that enterprises can precisely monitor workflows and manage personnel and equipment.

Manufacturing enterprises can access everything needed for digital transformation, from industrial software to transformation plans in this center which links more than 400 digital transformation service providers.

For instance, Shanghai Machine Tool Factory Co Ltd, helped by the center, has improved production efficiency by 97 percent and on-time delivery rate by 98 percent, with the utilization rate of redundant materials increasing from less than 10 percent to 40 percent.

"At present, the empowerment center has promoted nearly 100 digital transformation implementation projects of manufacturing enterprises in the Yangtze River Delta region," said Fu Zheng, director of the center.

For three consecutive years, China has launched smart manufacturing pilot projects, building 421 national-level demonstration factories along with over 10,000 provincial-level digital workshops and smart factories.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence and digital twins have been applied in more than 90 percent of the demonstration plants.5G has been promoted on a large scale in quality inspection, mining production and other fields. The industrial internet now spans all major sectors, with over 200 application examples established.

Author:   Editor: Ye Lijiao