Zhongce Rubber Group (ZC Rubber) plans to use 5G technology to promote data network platform innovation and data-driven production process reengineering in an upcoming project for ZC Rubber’s pilot factory, the Future Factory. It will enhance the core competitiveness and corporate value through network collaboration, flexible production, and service extension and create a replicable 5G Smart Factory platform for the tyre industry.
Manufacturing Trends in the Tyre Industry
ZC Rubber’s 5G Smart Factory will respond to the three new manufacturing trends in the tyre industry: mass customisation, small-batch production, and unpredictable supply-chain disruption management. It will drive the business to transform from traditional B2M (Business-to-Manufacturer) to C2M (Customer-to-Manufacturer) and realise smart production and lean management through the Industrial Internet and the Internet of Things. The technology of this project will be promoted and applied to ZC Rubber factories once successfully implemented.
Through AR-aided (Augmented-Reality-Aided) maintenance, our operators can provide visual guidance on equipment maintenance without much relevant knowledge in advance. Even some junior operators can quickly and accurately determine the condition of the equipment and complete the maintenance under the guidance of AR. The goal is to maintain equipment at a lower cost and higher efficiency and strengthen process reliability and standardisation.
Smart Monitoring: Faster decisions and actions via remote control
The smart monitoring system in ZC Rubber’s smart factory features 4K/8K HD video recording and real-time analytics based on 5G and machine vision technology. For example, in equipment troubleshooting, operators can request guidance from remote experts at any time. The expert team can perform playback, screenshots, and on-demand video signals and send guidance combined with images and voice to the site. Experts can also use various gestures, handles, keyboards, etc., to issue instructions to control the robot’s operation. Smart monitoring will benefit the entire production network with faster decisions and actions to improve the operation process and increase productivity through automation.
Indoor Positioning: Improved workflow efficiency and worker safety
The indoor positioning system can display the real-time location of personnel, issue safety warnings, and conduct emergency evacuation. This system will help realise indoor navigation, personnel asset management, behaviour analysis, etc., thereby helping our factory save costs, improve service and management efficiency, and reduce or even avoid accidents.
Predictive Maintenance and Key Performance Forecast
The intelligent early warning system will be established to accurately determine the operating conditions of plant equipment, allowing the equipment lifespan to be optimised to its fullest. Combined with data research, it can also provide a comprehensive assessment of the operation conditions of plant machinery and equipment, which helps the factory discover the hidden dangers in time. This process, in the long run, will significantly improve working conditions and increase safety.
Compared with traditional factories, ZC Rubber’s 5G smart factory is expected to achieve a 50% reduction in the product development cycle, a 15% increase in production efficiency, a 40% reduction in product defect rate, a 30% reduction in loss rate, and a 5% reduction in energy consumption. In addition, the 5G smart factory will also change the original labour-intensive model, and the number of workers will be reduced by about 70% compared with traditional factories.