Photo shows a facial mask production line of BYD. (Photo from the official account of BYD of China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo)
In South China’s Guangdong Province, more and more enterprises are hopping on the fast train of smart manufacturing. As of the end of March, over 15,000 industrial enterprises had started digital transformation through industrial internet, while more than 500,000 had embraced cloud services.
Last April, Guangdong-based manufacturer of electronic home appliances Galanz put into use the first phase of its Industry 4.0 base in Shunde District of Foshan, Guangdong Province, which is able to produce 11 million microwaves annually. With an precision of 0.1 millimeter, a microwave rolls off a production line every 6.7 seconds. The production process is digitally controlled by cloud services, and the company’s annual microwave production increased by six million sets last year.
“Digital transformation helped us achieve higher efficiency, better quality and stronger competitiveness,” said Liang Zhaoxian, president of Galanz.
The Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 proposed to promote in-depth integration of digital technology and real economy, so as to upgrade traditional industries, foster new business forms and models, and strengthen new drivers for economic development.
Under the guidance of the outline, Guangdong Province is going all out to make the manufacturing sector more digitalized, networked and intelligent. A batch of local manufacturers are working to become more advanced and innovative.
BYD, a Chinese automaker headquartered in Guangdong’s Shenzhen, decided to manufacture facial masks at the end of January last year, so as to better meet people’s demand amid COVID-19. In less than three months, it became the world’s largest mask producer regarding the capacity of production.
“What guaranteed the transition were the massive digital and automatic production lines we had built,” said Wang Chuanfu, president of BYD Company Limited.
Digital transformation is important for the auto industry, he told the People’s Daily. After BYD’s global design center established a new digital designing process, ideas, modeling and verification can all be adjusted by programs, he said, adding that the process used to take weeks and even months in the past.
“The key to digital transformation is in-depth reform and optimization of each production link, said Zhang Xiaoyi, chief information officer of Midea, the world’s largest producer of major appliances based in Shunde, Guangdong.
With 5G and industrial internet, over 20 types of microwaves produced by the company are sharing one production line, which shortens delivery period by 56 percent, reduces channel inventory by 40 percent, and improves comprehensive efficiency by 28 percent, according to Zhang.
For medium, small and micro enterprises, Guangdong Province has introduced over 370 outstanding industrial internet platforms and relevant service providers to help them with digital transformation. It precisely matches brand owners, processing plants and raw material providers with respective resources, building a new industrial chain for traditional industrial clusters.
Plastic injection moulding is a 30-billion-yuan ($4.62 billion) industry in Jieyang, Guangdong Province. Over 2,500 enterprises in Jieyang are engaged in the business, 85 percent of which are family workshops. By piloting a collective digital transformation program for industrial clusters, Jieyang improved enterprises’ production efficiency by 20 percent to 40 percent.
With similar approaches, Shunde’s small appliance clusters integrated the whole industrial chain, helping 200 small enterprises shorten delivery period by 1/3, increase per capita output by 1/3 and reduce service staff by 1/3.