Manufacturing News

Midea factories join Global Lighthouse Network

Two more factories of Midea Group Co Ltd, a Chinese home appliances giant, have been included in the Global Lighthouse Network of the World Economic Forum, according to sources with the company on Wednesday.

Along with the two factories in Hefei, capital of Anhui province, and Jingzhou in Hubei province, Midea owns four WEF Lighthouse factories in total, covering smart home appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and microwave ovens.

The Global Lighthouse Network is a community of production sites and value chains which are leaders in the adoption and integration of cutting-edge technologies of the fourth industrial revolution.

The company's factory in Jingzhou used to produce high-end and middle-end products, but its production process, ranging from scheduling, manufacturing, assembly, quality control and distribution, faced a very big challenge in the past, according to Li Zhen, general manager of Midea's Jingzhou factory.

"It was very inefficient in the traditional manufacturing way, and difficult to meet the needs of our consumers in time," he said.

Through the implementation of digital and intelligent transformation measures, the Jingzhou lighthouse factory adopted flexible automation.

Technologies including the internet of things and artificial intelligence with more than 2,000 digital transformation initiatives have increased labor productivity by 52 percent, and reduced production lead time by 25 percent.

The company's washing machine factory in Hefei has also witnessed a similar revolution. "Digitalization has driven the transformation of our entire business process and increased efficiency," said Zhang Zhimin, general manager of the factory.

Targeting domestic high-end product segments and overseas market expansion, the Hefei factory widely deploys artificial intelligence and loT technologies across end-to-end value chains to form a faster response and more efficient supply chain, resulting in lead time reduction by 56 percent.

The company will continue to increase investment in digitalization, IoT, global breakthroughs and technological leadership and invest in new cutting-edge technologies," said Simon Zhang, chief information officer of Midea.

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