Zhongce Rubber Group (ZC Rubber), a Chinese tyre manufacturer, plans to leverage 5G technology to improve data network platform innovation and data-driven manufacturing process reengineering. Through network collaboration, flexible production, and service expansion, it said that it will improve core competitiveness and company value, as well as develop a replicable 5G Smart Factory platform for 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. The company intends to transform the business 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.
In line with this plan, the company is employing technologies including the AR-aided (Augmented-Reality-Aided) maintenance, which can enable ZC Rubber operators to easily provide visual guidance on equipment maintenance; the smart monitoring system in ZC Rubber’s smart factory, which features 4K/8K HD video recording and real-time analytics based on 5G and machine vision technology; indoor positioning system that can display the real-time location of personnel, issue safety warnings, and conduct the emergency evacuation; and an intelligent early warning system to accurately determine the operating conditions of plant equipment, allowing optimisation of the equipment’s lifespan.
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.
ZC Rubber noted that this 5G Smart Factory project is in progress and has not yet been officially implemented. It will be implemented in its pilot factory, the Future Factory, which is currently under construction. It added that the technology of this project will be promoted and applied to more of its factories at a later time.