Chongqing's smart factories drive intelligent manufacturing boost

(Xinhua) 15:59, March 08, 2024

CHONGQING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- In SANY (Chongqing) Industrial Park, situated in Liangjiang New Area of southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, a large excavator rolls off from the smart production line every 17.3 minutes on average, with minimal human presence as robots are handling most tasks.

More than 700 robots are involved in welding and other tasks, enabling the production lines to operate primarily without human intervention, including assessment, according to Deng Jinghui, general manager of SANY Heavy Industry (Chongqing) Co., Ltd. "The extensive use of intelligent equipment allows a workforce of just 300 workers to manage 24 production lines, yielding an annual output of over 5 billion yuan (about 700 million U.S. dollars)."

Unlike traditional factories bustling with thousands of workers alongside buzzing machines, this intelligent factory operates quietly and efficiently 24 hours a day. It is a microcosm of China's rapidly developing intelligent manufacturing.

"Traditional manufacturing has been troubled by a shortage of skilled workers and low production efficiency. Breakthroughs in digital technology, new energy and novel materials have presented opportunities for China's manufacturing to transition toward high-end, smart and green practices," said Zhao Bin, deputy director of Chongqing's municipal commission of economy and informatization, adding that intelligent manufacturing is the primary direction for industry upgrading.

The use of robots and smart equipment has liberated intelligent factories in Chongqing from dependence on laborers to some extent.

On Feb. 5 this year, Chinese vehicle manufacturer Seres Group's super factory started operations in Chongqing's Liangjiang New Area. Walking through the factory, visitors will find themselves amidst a forest of robotic arms, where over 1,000 intelligent devices and 3,000 robots are running seamlessly to execute intricate tasks. Here, a fleet of logistics robots efficiently navigates production lines with minimal human oversight.

According to Seres, the general assembly procedure usually requires many laborers, with the industry's overall automation rate below 30 percent. However, Seres achieves automated assembly of essential components such as the battery pack and dashboard, among others, with a general automation rate exceeding 50 percent.

New technologies have also greatly boosted the efficiency of these smart factories. Changan Auto has established a fully equipped 5G factory in Chongqing's Yubei District, boasting 2,524 sets of equipment across seven workshops, creating a virtual factory in the digital world.

The virtual factory synchronizes the real one, as it can deliver real-time production data involving equipment, personnel and supplies. These data and the advanced scheduling platform enable the factory to increase its production efficiency by more than 30 percent and strike a balance between production and marketing.

Chongqing, China's southwestern industrial powerhouse, had built 144 intelligent factories and 958 digital workshops by the end of 2023, according to Zhao.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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